This statement was originally published on pen.org on 29 October 2020.
Amid the ongoing pandemics of public health, racial justice, and threats to democracy unfolding in our country, the need for action, awareness, community and unity, gratitude and empathy, and liberation have never been stronger. In times of upheaval and uncertainty, many of us turn to writers and artists to help us make sense of the past and the road ahead, and at PEN America, we have found a renewed sense of urgency around our central mission – to protect the freedom to write.
On the precipice of one of the most consequential elections in the history of our democracy, we asked writers Natalie Diaz, Jean Guerrero, Laila Lalami, and Alice Wong to provide their insights and reflections in this collection of essays. We hope their words – on activism, voting, the fraught history of voting rights and voter suppression for underrepresented and marginalized communities, and more – will help provide some respite, context, or clarity in this moment.
These essays are made possible with the support of Pop Culture Collaborative’s Becoming America Fund.
Natalie Diaz, “A Practice of Momentum”
“If I might make a gift of words in this moment, it is to remind myself that I will not be alone on the other side of this vote – we will be together in that place.”
Jean Guerrero, “Your Mestizaje is a Superpower”
“Multiculturalism is not a threat to civilization. The only thing it threatens is extremism.”
Laila Lalami, “Why Vote?”
“The ballot is the only means we have to evaluate the public servants whose salaries we all pay, whether we choose to vote or not.”
Alice Wong, “The Political is Personal”
“Voting should be effortless and expanded, not a Darwinian gauntlet. No one should have to risk their health and wait in line for hours to ensure their vote is counted.”
Source: MEDIA FEED