New York – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is now accepting applications for Student Advocates for Speech (SAS), a project for high school students, for the 2023 – 2024 school year. NCAC assists SAS student leaders in creating school clubs where they can learn about the importance of free speech and advocate for their rights and the rights of others who are facing censorship. Students receive advocacy training and mentorship from free speech experts, educators, and best-selling authors. The deadline to apply is May 5, 2023.
Now in its second year, SAS, an advocacy project of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program, (YFEP), will expand to new schools across the country. Participants organize events to support Banned Book Week, the National Day of Writing and Student Press Freedom Day. They also have an opportunity to engage in public speaking at national events and to publish opeds in local and national press.
“This program will empower the next generation of leaders to advocate for free expression as both a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy,” said Christine Emeran, YFEP director. “We look forward to building on past successes and providing our next round of students with the tools needed to fight for their free speech rights, as well as the rights of those they disagree with, and to promote the essential principles of free expression.”
Currently, 11 SAS students from 10 high schools in eight states have created clubs that serve more than 8,000 students, including educational censorship hotspots like Texas, Florida, and Missouri. Participants have attended virtual advocacy training, led national conversations with banned book authors, reporters, and journalists, and worked with media to amplify their voices through interviews and op-eds.
We encourage applications from students 14-18 years old, who support free speech principles, are willing to work to recruit a diverse group of students, and have leadership and advocacy skills. They can apply at ncac.org/sas, where more project information is available.
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.