An open letter to the board of Acadiana Open Channel,
I’m writing to request clarification on your public statement regarding Drag Queen Story Time. There are numerous points made in that official statement which all spring from a single, incorrect premise: members of the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity are putting on an event at the Public Library and, therefore, the event must be protected as free speech.
After some reflection you may agree that your original assessment missed a vital nuance. There is a distinct and critical difference between having an event at the library and having an event by the library. We never hear about the former, even though it occurs daily and includes many diverse subsets of the population. These groups borrow a room at the library for their own events which are in no way endorsed or condoned by the library. However, the latter is the official program that is created, promoted, and delivered by a government agency.
The individual freedoms afforded by the Bill of Rights are intended to protect the people from the government; not the other way around. As representatives of the local government, the Lafayette Public Library does not get to claim free speech rights. Since all of the other points in your statement are balanced upon a misconception of the core issue, I hope that you will consider revising and resubmitting an updated statement to the press.
As of this writing, the Lafayette City/Parish council has taken no position on the very divisive issue that was created by the board they appointed. If you have not yet participated in our online petition asking for them to weigh in, be sure to do so now.