January 14, 2015

ABA calls for support of #JeSuisCharlie


je_suis_charlie_fist_and_pencilIn the week since the killings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the phrase “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) has become a rallying cry for free speech. CNN Money reported that #JeSuisCharlie became one of Twitter’s most popular hashtags within days, appearing in 6,500 tweets per minute at its peak on Thursday and reaching 5 million tweets on Friday.

Now, Judith Rosen reports for Publishers Weekly, the American Booksellers Association is asking bookstores to use the phrase to support Charlie Hebdo and its staff. Last week, the ABA—along with the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union—signed on to a letter from the National Coalition Against Censorship condemning the attacks.

In a statement posted on Monday, the bookseller group says that many stores have asked them (and the American Booksellers for Free Expression) how they can lend their support. To that end, ABA president Oren Teicher sent an email to members urging them to, “First, post via their social media accounts a picture of store staff holding the sign that can be downloaded here, which displays the words ‘Je suis Charlie.’ When the image is posted, include the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.”

The ABA is also investigating the possibility of obtaining copies of Charlie Hebdo’s next issue (of which the magazine is planning to print 1 million copies) for its member stores to carry. The email from Teicher also promised a follow-up message in the near future with details on how booksellers can donate money to a fund set up on the behalf of the families of the people killed in the attack.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.