One of the most imaginative books in creative literature is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. It’s a story where readers learn the significance of 451 °F–the temperature at which book paper catches on fire and burns. It’s a story about forced silence and social control.
As an organization that is head-over-heels in love with language–as aggressive students of words, ideas and thoughts–Youth Speaks understands how stories have been systematically erased and hidden from textbooks and reading rooms around the world. It’s what we’re seeing happen right now in Florida classrooms and it’s appalling.
The careful curation of history to spell out what’s comfortable for the ruling class isn’t new. Colonial powers across the world have practiced cultural censorship to control people’s imaginations, abbreviate our notions of freedom and to disarm collective dissent for as long as dissent has existed.
BOOKS BANNED IN FLORIDA
BOOKS BANNED IN DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
BOOKS BANNED ACROSS THE COUNTRY
“Intersectionality and activism,” which would have had students analyze connections to Chicana and Asian American feminist thought, didn’t make it in Florida’s Black and African Studies curriculum. Neither did works by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality” and has been a vital voice in the movement to uplift the importance of critical race theory in public education.
White supremacist erasure of Black and Africana Studies in Florida is an undeniable example of continued violence enacted on our cultural, spiritual and intellectual identities — another political erasure of multi-racial, women-led, Chicana, Asian American, Oceana and solidarity movements — that not only propel us backwards socially, but simultaneously omits the narratives, unanimity, and historical experiences of the working class and communities of color from the fabric of this country.
Moments like this — where history, activism, expression, dissent, and art collide under the threat of erasure — are a rally cry to those of us who know the importance of inclusive storytelling and the role of the artist in the revolution.
We are reminded as a literary community of artists and activists that the work is never done. United we stand, divided we fall. It is up to us to keep the flames of the narrative torch burning bright and moving forward. Not for ourselves, but for the next generation of stories and storytellers who pose a threat to the systems and authorities that benefit from ignorance.
Mush Lee & Bijou McDaniel
Executive Director & Communications Director
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to