Acadiana Open Channel Is Weighing In On Drag Queen Story Time
Since our first story about a program that is scheduled for Saturday, October 6 at the Lafayette library in downtown Lafayette there has been plenty of discussion about the topic.
Some agree, some disagree, some agree in part to the story time segment by drag queens.
Another group weighing in on this issue is Lafayette's Acadiana Open Channel.
Director Ed Bowie issued the following statement to the meeting today from their Board of Directors:
"AOC's mission from the beginning has been to provide a platform for all voices in our community, especially those that go unheard due to lack of commercial viability, existing community support, or popularity. The Lafayette Public Library has announced an upcoming program that would feature local UL students dressed in drag and reading a library approved story or two to an audience of all ages, but aimed primarily at children. To say that there has been a public blowout is an understatement. The people in opposition to our Library’s programming are doing exactly what the First Amendment allows for. They are truly exercising their rights in the most direct manner possible. In their zeal to stop an event about which they seem to be largely uneducated they are happily asking their government to shut down those things they disagree with. In other words they’re asking for censorship. They’re saying that the other side doesn’t have the same privilege of free speech that they themselves are using. It sets a very dangerous precedent to refuse this particular group the opportunity to engage with a willing audience based upon flawed reasoning that the venue is public and therefore shouldn’t host any programs deemed unworthy by a chorus of opposition. If the argument was about eminent public harm that would be different. The argument is only that they disagree with the library’s choice of programming. It is wonderful that we have citizens who aspire to certain moral standards--those citizens help us to focus our moral center. However, to allow one group to set the moral standard for a deliberately pluralistic society seems at the very least to be contrary to the Constitution which sits at the center of our republic. Try asking the library to remove copies of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn or Fahrenheit 451. This just isn’t done in the America we all love and support. Ignoring or inhibiting unfamiliar voices leads to the perpetuation of ignorance, intolerance, distrust and hostility. Silencing voices doesn’t maintain an open society or even create unity--if anything, denying anyone their voice divides us and harms the American ideals that we have held since our inception. Understanding, tolerance, and trust are built by listening to, not silencing each other.At least allow those of us who want to learn to have that opportunity. Events like this one are not compulsory; no one is forced to attend or even strongly encouraged to attend. People are free to attend or not. As a community we can’t allow anyone to censor voices they disagree with or oppose. We believe that providing space for new ideas not only honors the first amendment of the constitution and the core values of the United States as a nation of new ideas, but also, that it is the best way to grow as a public and as a community. Public space is the best space for free speech."
Last night members of the community came out to make comments about the scheduled program. Click here to see it.
On today's show, our "Winging It Wednesday" panelists also weighed in on the discussion.
Lafayette's Mayor President Joel Robideaux issued a statement about the event yesterday.
Two of the men who are part of the fraternity who are scheduled to take part in the reading spoke to KPEL yesterday.