If you're looking to take action in response to the presidential election, now's your chance to come together and raise your voice with some of your favorite authors. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15), hundreds of writers around the world are banding together to speak out in support of democracy and free expression. The protest is put together by Writers Resist, a national network of writers "driven to #WriteOurDemocracy by defending the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democratic society." The movement was founded by poet and VIDA co-founder Erin Belieu in response to the presidential election and her increasing concern "over public cynicism and how disdain for truthfulness seems to have eroded democratic ideals."
The flagship #LouderTogether event (co-hosted with PEN America) will take place in New York City, on the steps of the New York Public Library on Sunday, January 15 at 2PM. An enormous array of respected authors will be reading writings on the ideals of democracy and free expression, including Alexander Chee, Jeffrey Eugenides, Angela Flournoy, A.m. Homes, Mary Karr, Colum McCann, Rick Moody, Francine Prose, Jess Row, Art Spiegelman, Meg Wolitzer, Jacqueline Woodson, and many, many others. Additionally, former poet laureates Rita Dove and Robert Pinsky will be reading "inaugural" poems. At the end of the rally, participants and audience members will walk to Trump Tower to deliver PEN America's pledge to defend the First Amendment (which you can sign here) to the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump.
But even if you're not in New York, there are plenty of ways to participate in these important protests. Writers Resist events are happening all over the country and even around the globe, so check to see the details on your local event. Many of these events are looking for volunteers. If your local community doesn't have an event already planned, reach out and become an organizer of your own event. Additionally, if you're not able to make it out, you can watch a Facebook Live livestream of the New York event.
You can also participate in the movement by donating to PEN America or your local event organizer, signing PEN America's Free Expression Pledge, and signing up for updates from Writers Resist.
As the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump draws closer, it's important that we stand together and protest to protect our rights. Freedom of expression allows us to be open and critical of our government without fear of punishment or imprisonment. It is what allows writers the ability to do their best and most important work, and what allows us as a society the ability to make informed decisions.
Images: PEN America; Writers Resist (2)