Great news! Bastard out of Carolina and Angels in America will be taught in Fremont to all those who wish to learn, notwithstanding the Fremont Unified School District’s decision to ban the books from its English curriculum.

Thanks to the efforts of Rev. Jeremy Nickel of the Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the class will begin tonight and continue throughout the school year. It will be taught by Teri Hu, the teacher who had proposed teaching the books in the first place. NCAC is thrilled to promote this great grassroots effort against censorship.


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Educating to End Censorship in the Fremont Schools

Congregation Will Teach Censored Books to Community

Fremont CA., October 24, 2012 –– Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP) are thrilled to announce that, starting tonight, Mission Peak UU will begin hosting a common read for the city of Fremont of two books banned by the Fremont School Board. The eight part series will be led by Teri Hu, the Washington High School English teacher whose attempts to include the widely praised modern literary classics in the Senior A.P. curriculum have been censored for the fourth year. The class will meet monthly, with the first meeting at 7 PM tonight, Wednesday, October 24 at Mission Peak UU, 2950 Washington Blvd in Fremont.

Despite statements in support of the books by Mission Peak UU, KRRP and others, in 2012 the Fremont School Board moved once again to censor the Advanced Placement English curriculum at WashingtonHigh School. The works in question, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Tony Kushner’sAngels in America, are highly acclaimed works by lauded and respected authors. Both works are taught frequently in college preparatory courses— Angels in America has appeared on the national AP exam in the past.

“When I read about this issue last summer, I was shocked that this could be happening in Fremont. I have since learned that Fremont’s School Board is the only school in the entire United States to have banned Angels in America. Bastard Out of Carolina has only been banned one other time. As a community that cherishes the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and the inherent worth and dignity of all people, I knew our congregation had to find a way to support Teri Hu, and work against this terrible and antiquated decision,” said Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel.

The class seeks to educate the community about the true value of these two transformative twentieth century works whose value goes beyond their use in an exam; these are literary texts that inform readers about the human experience and broaden their horizons. The first meeting will be an orientation to the books, the class and the controversy. Books will be available for purchase at the class and available to students of the Fremont school system for free.

“Often with book challenges, a book is quietly removed and the discussion ends there. In this case, Mission Peak UU has taken the initiative to open an educational, productive dialogue about what these texts have to offer,” said Acacia O’Connor, Coordinator of Kids’ Right to Read. “Restricting their use in the classroom denies students the right to explore these important texts in a safe and supportive educational environment.”

“I truly believe that once Fremont residents have a chance to read these books and engage with them in a thought-provoking, structured setting, they will immediately understand the power and educational value of these books,” said Teri Hu. “And my hope is that by introducing these books to the larger community we can make sure the Board understands that Fremont parents want their kids to read these books, and that the classroom is exactly the kind of
place where they should be encountering the complicated ideas and emotions they generate.”

So come see for yourself on Wednesday, October 24 at 7 PM!