Cottonwood school board member seemingly desperate to censor LGBTQ+ literature

In a move seemingly aligned with the agenda of an anti-LGBTQ+ religious extremist group rising in the area, Mingus Union High School District Board Member Misty Cox is attempting to remove books from school libraries for no given reason other than that they pertain to queer topics. 

The books:

The books talk frankly about LGBTQ+ identity and explore topics such as coming out, body positivity, and how to act with kindness within queer communities. They were recommended by the Yavapai County Library Network.

The principal and superintendent received a request from Cox to ban the books, with Cox citing nebulous "concerns" about the titles but no specific content. The principal and superintendent read the books and found them to be of excellent educational value.

Upon finding that the district lacked a formal process to challenge books, administrators have suggested one, requiring that people who want to ban books actually read them. 

Under the policy, someone seeking to ban a book would have to explain—citing page numbers—what was offensive about the material. The principal and superintendent would then evaluate the request. If a book is found to be illicit with no educational value, they can remove it. If it has adult themes but excellent educational content, it can require parental consent to check out.

This is a common-sense proposal that would reduce frivolous and discriminatory ban requests. But it needs tremendous public support to overcome divisions on the board over LGBTQ+ issues. 

Concerned constituents can reach out to board members in support of the superintendent’s review policy and speak at the next board meeting 1/11/24 6PM in the Mingus High School Library (1801 E Fir St, Cottonwood 86326).


Casa Grande school board hears prayers, cries for attention from church group

Casa Grande Unified High School District recently rejected demands from members of a local church to insert an official prayer before governing board meetings. The same church members returned last meeting to harp on the issue during public comments, insisting that their voices should come before all others in the district.

CGUHSD Board President Chuck Wright said previously that the board understands the illegal nature of adding a prayer to a public meeting, and showed no interest in discussing the matter further. Constituents can thank Wright for his professionalism in the matter here

Young peoples' medical rights

Adolescents have unique concerns regarding their right to privacy in healthcare settings. The pandemic, culture wars around vaccines, and recent changes in abortion law have made confidentiality and consent issues particularly critical. The international human rights community recognizes confidentiality in health matters as a component of a youth’s fundamental right to privacy.

It is important for minors to be able to access confidential care for a variety of reasons, not all related to reproductive or sexual health. 

Save the Date: Secular Summit 1/6

At the end of each year, secular supporters from around the state convene to organize for the coming year and set Secular AZ’s policy priorities. You are invited! Save the date for the annual Secular Summit, to be held in hybrid format 1/6 from 12-4pm at Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix in Mesa.

Our focus this year will be on keeping church and state separate everywhere in Arizona... especially rural Arizona! Watch this email series for RSVP details.


Upcoming School Board Meetings

Volunteer to monitor meetings here.

Cancer fundraiser for school board member

Member Ann Elizabeth Ordway—a reliable voice of reason at Deer Valley Unified School District—has shared that she has cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy treatment. A constituent in her district has put together a fundraiser to help her with treatment, and if you’re so moved, show this tireless public servant of 14 years your appreciation

Volunteers needed to collect signatures for abortion amendment

Arizona for Abortion Access has launched the petition gathering effort to put abortion on the ballot in 2024. The “Arizona Abortion Access Act” would enshrine the fundamental right to abortion in Arizona’s constitution for generations to come. The amendment is critical to ensure abortion access in the state.

The campaign must collect 383,923 valid signatures from Arizona voters by July 3, 2024 in order to qualify on the ballot. Sign up to be a volunteer here.


Secular AZ
PO Box 47756  | Phoenix, Arizona 85068
6023804810 |

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