Miami-Dade church hosts distribution event for books banned in schools

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami’s literary community is banding together to distribute free copies of books banned by Gov. Ron DeSantis from Florida schools.

A protest in Coral Gables drew large crowds on Tuesday night.

Amanda Gorman’s poem on a President Joe Biden’s Inauguration stage two and a half years ago was turned into a book called “The Hill We Climb” and it ended up in schools across the country.

But at Bob Graham Education Center, a K-8 school in Miami-Dade County, a parent complained about so-called hate messages, and so the books were moved away from elementary school students.

“Freedom is an open book,” said novelist Edwidge Danticat.

A packed house of people all ages Tuesday night inside of the Coral Gables Congregational Church and its sanctuary for banned books, where attendees were given Gorman’s book, and several others that have been recently restricted.

“I generally agree that parents should take a more active role in their children’s education but that’s not what’s happening right now, it’s just a linear thing where one parent gets to decide what everybody else gets to read or not read,” said poet Richard Blanco.

Blanco is a poet himself, who also shared his prized work on stage during President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013.

“The poem is like my own inauguration poem,” he said. “It’s a celebration of the beauties and ideas of America, and the American dream. It’s respectful.”

Among the other books restricted were “Love To Langston” and “The ABC’s of Black History.”

Those books were read aloud to the crowd of children and adults.

“How repugnant is it that this book would be removed from elementary schools kids and placed only in the junior high side of the library,” said Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.