There is no institution more essential to our democracy than a free and vibrant press. The Constitution protects the right to free speech, and as we have seen throughout American history, the robust exchange of ideas is essential for the health of our republic. It is therefore with great alarm that the American Society of Magazine Editors takes note of the disturbing efforts by legislators and other public figures in several states to ban the teaching of the 1619 Project, a series of feature stories published by an ASME member organization, The New York Times Magazine.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of the 1619 Project, is an acclaimed journalist and a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award as well as a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. To study, debate, analyze and critique her work, and all work of equivalent scope and ambition, is part of what being a student is about; to suppress such work is a grave offense against the principle of free thought. 

ASME writes today in support of the proposition that no federal, state or local government body should attempt to ban magazine articles or other forms of journalism from classrooms. In numerous states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi and Texas, legislators have attempted, or continue to attempt, to ban educators from assigning material from the 1619 Project to their students. ASME urges state legislators and other officials to reconsider any efforts to suppress ideas and materials with which they disagree. Legislation that attempts to censor school curricula violates principles of free thought and free expression and is at its core un-American. 

About ASME

The American Society of Magazine Editors is the principal organization for the editorial leaders of magazines and websites published in the United States. Founded in 1963, ASME strives to safeguard the First Amendment, support the development of journalism and defend the editorial integrity of print and digital publications. ASME sponsors the National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media in association with the Columbia Journalism School, conducts training programs for reporters and editors and publishes the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.