NYC Literary Action Coalition Archive

Banned Books Week Campaign, September 2019 

In 2019, PEN America’s advocacy focused on the most extensive book ban in America, which is happening in the prison system. More than 2.2 million individuals are affected, too often given substantially restricted access to books, legal materials, or even dictionaries. 

#FreeAseyev Demonstration, November 15, 2019 

On Empty Chair Day, a day of action PEN centers throughout the world to show solidarity with persecuted writers, we rallied for Stanislov Aseyev. He is a Ukrainian journalist who had been jailed by the authorities for reporting on the war in the occupied territories of Crimea. This occurred across the street from the Russian Consulate in New York City. 

Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Publisher’s Roundtable, November 19, 2019 

A collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), which is seeking to expand its portfolio to include the literary community in New York City. To provide a forum for publishers – a key community for the activism network – to raise concerns about operating as publishers in New York City and to explore avenues of collaboration with MOME to raise the visibility of the literary community in ways similar to its work with the film and music industries. 

Literary Roundtable with Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), April 17, 2020 

As a follow up to January’s meeting with MOME, in this meeting we discussed the Coalition’s concerns with MOME commissioner. We asked MOME to commit to short-, mid-, and long-term collaboration and support of the Coalition’s work, as well as keeping sustained communication with the Coalition’s manager. 

COVID-19 Support Open Letter, April 22, 2020 

The Coalition released an Open Letter to the New York City Council calling on it to ensure that a portion of any future COVID-19 relief funds it receives from the state or federal government are given to literary organizations which, in most budget years, receive less money than other art forms and organizations. 

Petition on COVID-19 relief funding, May 21, 2020 

Members of the Literary Action Coalition called on Mayor DeBlasio’s office to ensure writers, translators, and the literary arts organizations who support them are provided meaningful support via grants, programs, and incentives in the FY2021 budget.

AAPI United Against Hate Day of Solidarity, May 27, 2020

In response to the rising incidents of harassment and hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the wake of the pandemic, PEN America partnered with Coalition partner Asian American Writers Workshop to stage a day of solidarity.

Emergency Coalition Check-in: Racial Justice in 2020, June 3, 2020 

Coalition members gathered to discuss and process the national protests in response to the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

Petition: Tweet-a-thon Toolkit + Mobilization, June 26, 2020 

The Coalition organized a tweet-a-thon to support and amplify the petition on COVID-19 Relief funding for the literary arts. 

Article on LitHub: “Mayor de Blasio: Stand up for Writers,” June 26, 2020 

The piece argued that entities most likely to withstand the COVID-19 lockdown do not represent the inclusivity and diversity of New York City’s literary community, while the non-profits and small businesses that serve Black, Latinx, Asian and LGBTQIA writers are among the city’s most financially endangered. We called on the mayor to recognize the importance of the literary arts in the coming budget cycle. 

Literary Organizations in time of COVID Roundtable, September 2, 2020

The roundtable conversation focused on the questions: How are literary organizations and groups surviving COVID-19? How has the pandemic changed the literary landscape throughout the country? What can literary organizations and groups learn from each other at this pivotal moment? 

Meeting with Mayor’s Office + Lucy Sexton, September 3, 2020

The purpose of this call was to gauge how other networks are advocating for the arts sector, what place writers have in these spaces, and how the Coalition can connect to other art advocacy organizations. 

NYC Literary Community in the time of COVID-19 Survey, September 15, 2020 

With support from the Literary Action Coalition, the Coalition manager created a survey to collect information about the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on individual writers and the literary organizations that support them. 

Publishers + Activists Roundtable, October 15, 2020 

Publishing professionals Chris Jackson at Oneworld, Patrice Caldwell at People of Color in Publishing, and Zakia Henderson-Brown at The New Press discussed how the rise in national protests for racial justice affects the publishing industry. Additionally, activists Raquel Willis, Jamel Mims, and Nialah Edari discussed their experiences at the forefront of the racial justice movement. 

Activism in the Biden-Harris Administration, January 20, 2021 

In collaboration with Coalition member Ars Poetica, the Coalition organized a live Instagram conversation on Inauguration Day. How might this new presidency affect local community organizing efforts? What can activists do to prepare for 2021? What is it like to be a young activist today?  

Summer 2021 COVID 19 Guidelines Training, July 13, 2021

How are Literary Organizations Navigating New York City’s Reopening? On creating new dynamic partnerships in the time of the pandemic, and how to engage and mobilize community in the current moment, featuring Morgan Deane. 

How to Write a Public Social Justice Statement, November 18, 2021 

How can organizations and groups write an effective and compelling social justice statement that is representative of their values without being performative? Facilitated by Jamila Brown, a digital communications expert, opinion writer, NYU adjunct professor, and social entrepreneur. 

Writing Racial Justice Poetry Workshop, February 8, 2022

Writing about racial injustice can be ethically and creatively challenging. How does a poet use their craft to challenge white supremacy in a way that is not performative or detrimental to people’s lived experiences? How can poetry be used in support of communities and racial justice movements? Led by award-winning poet, journalist, and educator Marwa Helal. 

Protest Rights Instagram Live Series 

APA Heritage Month: Community and Resistance 

Mayoral Candidate Interviews, Spring 2021 

In a series of virtual roundtable conversations with the NYC Literary Action Coalition, Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, and Maya Wiley all expressed clear, unequivocal support for helping the city’s literary community recover as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rap Music on Trial Sign On Letter, January 19, 2022

The Coalition came together to support the “Rap Music on Trial” legislation, which aimed to combat the criminalization of rap music lyrics in court. 

A Citywide Poetic Celebration of Earth Day, April 22, 2022

New Yorkers across the city had the opportunity to chat with poets about their biggest inspirations from the natural world, their fears about the climate crisis, and their dreams for a more environmentally conscious New York City. 

June Jordan Event, June 2022

In collaboration with Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturdays series and PEN America, the NYC Literary Action Coalition hosted a panel discussion dedicated to the life and work of June Jordan (1936–2002) on Saturday, June 4 from 6 to 7:30 PM at the Brooklyn Museum. Moderated by Alejandro Heredia, poets Anaïs Duplan, Marwa Helal, Kyle Carrero Lopez, and Crystal Valentine celebrated the resounding legacy of the poet and activist through readings of Jordan’s work alongside original poems. 

Arts and Social Change in The Bronx, May 2022

In partnership with PEN America and Bronx Council on the Arts, the NYC Literary Action presented a panel discussion with Bronx-based artists sharing how they have leveraged their own creative voices to address structural inequities and inspire social change.