Jews of Beverly, a Facebook group for Jewish neighbors; Bookie’s – Chicago bookstore, and 19th Ward Mutual Aid, a not-for-profit organization chartered to support charitable and educational needs in the 19th Ward, have started a fundraising campaign to purchase copies of “Maus” two-book sets for all local schools in the 19th Ward.
Author Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about Holocaust survivors “Maus” became the topic of widespread outcry in January when a school board in Tennessee voted to ban it from its 8th grade curriculum.
“We hope that this will be the beginning of a campaign to deliver books to our schools’ libraries that honor, promote, and celebrate the diversity that makes this ward strong,” said Tim Noonan, director of 19th Ward Mutual Aid.
Noonan said that the American Library Association, citing “a dramatic uptick in book challenges and outright removal of books from libraries,” has condemned “acts of censorship and intimidation.”
“There has been an uptick in hate crime in our country and city,” Noonan said, citing recent incidents of vandalism at a synagogue and affiliated school as well as Jewish businesses in West Rogers Park, and statistics from the Hate Crime Dashboard of Chicago that shows 2021 was the city’s worst year for hate crimes.
“It’s important that all children learn about the Holocaust and disturbing episodes in our shared history,” Noonan said. “Antidotes to hatred, prejudice, and indifference are education and information.”
Donations toward the purchase of “Maus” for local schools can be made via PayPal and Venmo at the 19th Ward Mutual Aid website, 19aid.com/donate. Learn more on Facebook at 19th Ward Mutual Aid.