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United Against Hate: A Day of Solidarity

United Against Hate: A Day of Solidarity

Presented by PEN America and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

PEN America and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, alongside members of the global literary community, are holding a virtual day of solidarity to call out hate in all its heinous forms. We stand in support of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities that have been targeted by rising hate and racism in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual day of solidarity will feature a daylong schedule of free activities including workshops, poetry readings, and a teach-in to celebrate and engage a wide range of Asian and Asian American voices.

Join us, and add your name to our statement of solidarity from 100+ writers and activists here.



Anti-Asian Racism and COVID-19: A Teach-In

12:00pm-1:30pm EDT
Click here to register via Zoom.

Anti-Asian racism in the United States did not begin with the COVID-19 pandemic, and neither did the Asian American community’s response. This teach-in will situate the alarming rise in hate against a longer historical context and feature discussion of how Asian Americans have turned to literature, poetry, and activism to push back on this scourge and fight for equality, inclusion, and justice.

Academic experts from Smith College, Pitzer College, and the University of Colorado, Boulder will present their respective research on these topics and participate in a constructive conversation of how to learn from the past to confront the urgent present.


Jennifer HoThe daughter of a refugee father from China and an immigrant mother from Jamaica, Jennifer Ho is a professor in the department of Ethnic Studies and the director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Ho is the author of three books, including Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2015). Ho serves as the president of the Association of Asian American Studies, and is active in community engagement around issues of race and intersectionality, leading workshops on anti-racism and how to talk about race in our current political climate.

Floyd CheungFloyd Cheung is a professor of English language and literature and American studies and the founding chair of the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Certificate Program. His scholarship focuses on the interpretation and recovery of early Asian American texts, and he has published several articles about and edited multiple volumes by forgotten and lesser-known authors. As vice president of the Office for Equity and Inclusion, Cheung leads Smith College’s initiatives to improve equity and inclusion for all students, staff and faculty. He is committed to developing within the community a growth mindset, and addressing the emotional dimensions of equity and inclusion. Born in Hong Kong, Cheung grew up in Las Vegas. He is also a published poet.

Pawan DhingraPawan Dhingra is a professor of American studies at Amherst College. He is an award-winning author and teacher and former curator at the Smithsonian Institution. He has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and elsewhere. His new book is Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough.

Kathleen YepKathleen Yep is a professor of Asian American studies at Pitzer College (of the Claremont Colleges). She is fascinated by how people with limited resources create empowerment and change. With a focus on feminist pedagogies, community-based learning, and public health, her writing has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, and she has received funding to teach participatory action research with immigrant and refugee elders. She is the author of Outside the Paint: When Basketball Ruled at the Chinese Playground (Temple University Press) and co-author of Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island with Dr. Laurence Yep (Harper Collins). Raised in Northern California, Professor Yep received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley.


Clarisse Shariyf RosazClarisse Rosaz Shariyf is the director of literary programs and associate director, World Voices Festival at PEN America. She has a decade of experience in curating public arts and educational programs. She was formerly at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, where she oversaw audience development, public engagement strategies, and cultural community partnerships. She holds an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago and an MA in English civilization from the University of the French West Indies.


photo of stacked books

AAWW Lit Lunch

2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
Instagram Live

Every other Wednesday, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop hosts conversations on Instagram Live featuring authors, journalists, and organizers. Join us next week at 2pm EDT for a conversation between creative writer and cultural organizer Huiying B. Chan and organizers from CAAAV, a pan-Asian community-based organization that works to build the power of low-income Asian immigrants and refugees in New York City.


Huiying B. ChanHuiying B. Chan is a creative writer, cultural organizer, and facilitator born and raised in Lenapehoking (New York City). Their body of work explores race, diaspora, intergenerational and ancestral resilience, and love. Chan is a former Open City Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and has received fellowships from VONA/Voices, Poetry Incubator, and Kundiman. They are working on their first poetry collection.


Counter-speech: Speaking Out to Fight Hate

3:30pm-4:45pm EDT
Click here to register via Zoom.

Free expression advocates often promote counter-speech as a response to hate, arguing that the best answer to speech that is heinous, degrades, or offends is “more speech.” But what forms can counter-speech take, and how can it be most effective? Can free speech be an asset in the fight against hate, or do power and privilege tend to impede important voices from being heard?

This webinar will feature a dynamic exchange around these issues as panelists reflect on the rise in hate crimes and racist incidents against numerous groups related to COVID-19, and the possibilities for confronting and combatting societal vitriol and injustice by speaking out against it. Panelists will discuss the legal context surrounding hateful speech, the power of storytelling as a means to fight prejudice, and the ways that journalism can be harnessed by activists pushing for social change.


Nadine StrossenNew York Law School professor Nadine Strossen, the immediate past president of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991–2008), is a leading expert and frequent speaker/media commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties, who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. Her acclaimed 2018 book, HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, was selected by Washington University as its 2019 “Common Read.”

Ishmael BeahIshmael Beah is the Sierra Leonean and American author of Little Family: A Novel and the memoir A Long Way Gone, which was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and has been published in more than 40 languages. A UNICEF ambassador and advocate for children affected by war, and a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their children.

Helen ZiaHelen Zia is an activist, award-winning author and former journalist. In 2000, her first book, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, was a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. She also authored the story of Wen Ho Lee in My Country Versus Me, and her latest book is Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution. Zia is a former executive editor of Ms. Magazine and a founding board co-chair of the Women’s Media Center. She has been active in many nonprofit organizations, including Equality Now, AAJA, and KQED. The daughter of immigrants from China, Zia has been outspoken on issues ranging from human rights and peace to women’s rights and countering hate violence and homophobia.


Jonathan FriedmanJonathan Friedman is the program director for campus free speech at PEN America, where he oversees PEN America’s advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. He served as lead author on PEN America’s 2019 report, Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America, and on the production of its digital Campus Free Speech Guide. Friedman holds a Ph.D. in international education from New York University, and he has previously received awards for his teaching, research, and leadership.


photo of microphone

Poetry in Protest: A Solidarity Reading

5:00pm-6:30pm EDT
Facebook Live

Join us for a powerful celebration of Asian American voices featuring over a dozen poets and spoken word artists. Performers will include George Abraham, Kazim Ali, Regie Cabico, Marilyn Chin, Staceyann Chin, Tarfia Faizullah, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Jenny Xie, Monica Youn, and many more.


Jafreen UddinJafreen Uddin is the executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991.

About the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW)

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans, and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. At a time when migrants, women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBTQ people are specifically targeted, we offer a new countercultural public space in which to imagine a more just future.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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