Ban Bigotry, Not Books


Reece Daugherty, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, April 19th, 2023, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church here in Salida called for a gathering called the “Rosary Rally” across the street from the Salida Regional Library.  The rally served as an attempt to stop the “perversion” of children due to the presence of LGBTQ+ books in libraries. Some argue against book banning because it is against the First Amendment of the American Constitution, which protects the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, freedom of the press, and freedom to petition. This movement to ban books has spread nationwide, with major religious groups pushing for bans. Many organizations, like the America Needs Fatima Organization, are fronts for Catholic-based anti-LGBTQ campaigns. They’re well-funded, and they use their 19 million dollars in donor money to advocate against the right to safe abortions and against the LGBTQ+ community. The St. Joseph’s Catholic Church released a flier listing thirteen books they deemed inappropriate, but ironically since the flier circulated, four of the thirteen were checked out of the Salida Regional Library. 

When members of the community came to take a stand with the Salida Regional Library against the book ban, the “Rosary Rally” didn’t show. Instead, there were many people who had gathered as a pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protest. At 12:45, there were already many people making signs and providing drinks, snacks, books, flags, and pins to people standing against the discrimination of LGBTQ+ community members. People of all ages attended, shining their bright colors and positivity outside of the library. 

The Salida Regional Library made a powerful statement regarding the pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protest: “Salida Regional Library extends its thankfulness to the Salida community and your rallying to support us and our mission, committed to providing equal access to information,  materials, programming, and technology, enhancing the pursuit of our patrons’ personal growth, while balancing fiscal needs. We are lucky that our community is so supportive and shares in the belief that the choice is up to the individual, people have the right to make their own choices and no one group should determine what is acceptable and what is not. As a public library, it is our duty to do our best to ensure freedom of information for all and serve the entire community.”

High school junior Nika Peterson, who attended the protest stated, “I think banning books is ridiculous because if you disagree with something a book is saying, just don’t read it. It’s not gonna hurt you just by sitting there. Parents who try to shield their children from things always seem to backfire. No matter what you do or how hard you try to shield them or hide things from them it will never work because if a kid wants to know something they will find out. It’s better to allow them to find out than make it seem like taboo to learn and read things.”

A Salida High School sophomore, Marcus Gallegos, has this to say to worried parents, “Even though in their mindset these books are corrupting their kids, it’s actually the parents that are corrupting them from keeping their children away from the truth of what’s going on in the world.”

While the Rosary Rally initially worried supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, the resounding support uplifted the whole community.  In all, the counter-protest turned into a celebration of love for all, spreading positivity and constructive activism in support of the LGBTQ+ community, our local library, and Salida as a whole.