NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has selected 15 exceptional high school students to participate in its 2023 Students Advocates for Speech (SAS) program, representing 11 states. These remarkable students, who come from California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, are poised to impact their schools, districts, and communities significantly.
NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program (YFEP) administers SAS, which helps students create school clubs to explore diverse ideas and free speech. High school students ages 14-18 receive free tools and advocacy training to help them fight school censorship and amplify their voices in civic life. Currently, 21 SAS student leaders participate, with clubs reaching over 10,000 students in states where educational censorship is prevalent.
“We strive to uphold the fundamental principles of free expression, a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of democracy,” said Christine Emeran, YFEP Director. “SAS enables future leaders to advocate for a world where everyone can speak freely. ,We are looking forward to building on past successes and equipping our students with the necessary tools to defend their freedom of speech and the rights of those with differing opinions.”
SAS students have been creating waves nationwide with their unwavering activism and NCAC efforts to put students in the spotlight. Notably, 17-year-old Julia Garnett, a dynamic SAS leader hailing from Hendersonville, Tennessee, was recently acknowledged by First Lady Jill Biden at a White House celebration of International Day of the Girl. Garnett’s relentless efforts to combat book bans and promote educational freedom in public, school, and county public libraries have captured public attention and media coverage. Another SAS leader, Da’Taeveyon Daniels, a 16-year-old from Texas, served as the Youth Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week in 2023 and led several national discussions on book challenges with other SAS leaders and luminaries such as Lavar Burton. Daniels also made appearances in multiple media interviews and authored op-eds.
The National Coalition Against Censorship is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to upholding the democratic principles of intellectual freedom and free expression , and to ensure those principles remain rooted in future generations. To learn more about Student Advocates for Speech, please visit ncac.org/sas.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
Since its inception in 1974, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy. Representing 59 national education, publishing, and arts organizations, NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level. It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced.