Friday, October 16, 2015

Blog Action Day: #RaiseYourVoice

Today is Blog Action Day and more than 1,000 bloggers around the world are speaking out about this year's theme: Raise Your Voice! According to the Blog Action Day website:
We all have the power to create the world we want to see when we raise our voices online. However, for many of our fellow bloggers, citizen journalists and writers, each post they share comes at great personal risk.

2015 has seen unprecedented attacks on those who publish their ideas online. This Blog Action Day we celebrate those heroes who raise their voice when faced with censorship, threats, and violence.

We will raise our voices to defend their right to raise theirs.

Banned books

Since this is a book blog, I'm joining in the conversation from a literary standpoint. Throughout history, authors have been threatened and censored for telling their stories, whether they write fiction or nonfiction. Many would-be authors have been silenced by threats and fears.

A couple weeks ago was Banned Books Week, an annual event dedicated to celebrating the freedom to read. But it also celebrates the freedom to write. The freedom to speak out, to speak your mind, to share your thoughts no matter if others agree or disagree. Most books are challenged or banned because authors share their religious or political or moral or societal ideas, or renounce those of others, whether they are writing a memoir or a work of fiction. But authors continue to raise their voices, and readers continue to read their stories and speak out about their freedom to do so.

Speaking out for women

Many authors in recent years have spoken out against the oppression of women around the world through their books. An excellent example is a book I read in book club several years ago: Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The authors of this book traveled the world to see first-hand how women in developing countries are being oppressed and abused. The stories they share are brutal and horrifying. But they are stories that need to be told. They are stories that the women themselves cannot tell for fear of violence and death. Kristof and WuDunn are raising their voices for women through their books and their actions around the world.

Another example is Malala Yousafzai, who shared her story in the memoir I Am Malala after being shot in the face by the Taliban. Despite threats and violence, Malala speaks out for education and the rights of girls and women. She raises her voice to make the world see what is happening in her homeland. She shows teenagers that they too have a voice to impart change in the world.

In an article titled What's So Scary about Smart Girls? from 2014, Kristof mentions the attack on Malala, and explains, "Why are fanatics so terrified of girls’ education? Because there’s no force more powerful to transform a society. The greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles, but girls reading books."

We cannot stop speaking out for women and girls who are oppressed, abused and denied an education around the world. The authors who take up these topics in their books and articles are making a positive difference in the lives of these women and in their communities and economies. Each person needs to continue to raise their voice to obliterate oppression and violence from our world.

For more articles and blogs on the #RaiseYourVoice theme, please check out the Blog Action Day website.

2 comments:

  1. Great post! They are doing a readalong of I am Malala for Nonfiction November so I think that will be my choice since it fits our Travel the World in Books challenge too.

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  2. I've never heard about blog action day, but I like your spin on the theme. Those look like some great books to check out! Thanks for sharing them.

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