Reading Canceled, and You Can Help

The Wall and Response exposition and reading at the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) that I last mentioned to you on this website was being hotly debated for a few weeks... directly leading up to the date of our reading. It was not fun. One of the Palestinian activists on the mural I wrote a poem for is Leila Khaled.

Someone on the organizational committee at the SFPL decided that a photo of the mural could not be displayed at the library because Khaled is in the mural.

Then, as far as I understood, the mural could indeed be displayed with her in it but, because one of the crowd characters depicted in the mural is holding a sign that says "Zionism = Racism," the exposition could definitely not take place.

Here is the post describing the situation on the Clarion Alley Mural Project blog.

Here is the official library statement on the matter. Never mind. That link no longer functions. But, I will keep it here because it is still informative. It should be possible to research on's Wayback Machine.

UPDATE: A few things have happened since that time. First we sent letters to the library and to other places. Then we got organized. Now we're notifying people. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) created a page and a one click email petition that you can access here.

AROC created specific language to address the problem:

The San Francisco Public Library refuses to allow an art exhibit to include Palestinian solidarity message, furthers Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism. We call on our public institutions to challenge racism, not reinforce it. We demand our public institutions stand on the right side of history and reject all forms of racism, including anti-Palestinian racism. #ZionismIsRacism #SFPLcensorsPalestine

Below are graphics to circulate on social media channels if you so choose.

It is not the goal of this effort to boycott this or any public library, but rather to bring awareness to the issue of censorship. Libraries are essential for communities. Community voices need to be represented, not censored.

If you wish to spread this word as well, as an individual or an organization, here are a few images to use: