Austin writers and poets have mixed views on President-elect Donald Trump’s effect on the writing and journalism community.

At an event called Writers Resist, local writers and poets came together to express their thoughts. The event was sponsored by PEN America, an organization that defends freedom of expression for writers. It included representatives from organization such as Black Lives Matter Austin, Austin Justice Coalition and the Austin chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Alyssa Harad, a writer and organizer of the event, said Trump’s actions toward the journalism community are concerning. 

“He’s throwing people out of the White House and denigrating journalists and threatening them,” Harad said.  

Harad said the real danger of Trump’s presidency is that people would feel isolated.

“I think that oppressive governments — and that is what we’re currently [seeing] — work by spreading dread, fear and panic,” Harad said. “[But] even when you can’t find people to join in with, you can always find a book. There are always going to be voices on the shelves of your local library that can speak to you in your current moment across time.” 

Author Kristin Casey said she believes Trump’s presidency will motivate journalists and writers to voice their opinions.

“We’ve been complacent,” Casey said. “But journalists will hopefully lead the charge, inspiring the rest of us and [as a result] writers will write.”

Emily Rankin, an actor, director and writer, read her own piece titled “Power,” saying the people will continue to love each other, even if Trump triggers fear.

“People will always continue to love, no matter how much hatred you’re spreading,” Rankin said. “I will do everything I can to show you for what you are. Promise me you’ll do the same.”

Isadora Serrano, a senior at Reagan High School, said she felt personally victimized by Trump’s rhetoric against women and immigrants. 

“For the first time in my life, who I am has become a political discussion in a man’s head,” Serrano said. “I feel stripped of everything I am. I am scared of being all these things, a woman, Latina and a daughter of immigrants.” 

Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo, whose district encompasses campus and surrounding areas, was also at the event.

“I was very interested in the writers here today to offer their artistic expressions,” Tovo said. “I think Austin will continue to stand strong on its values.” 

Shannon Baley, who is an American Studies professor at St. Edwards University and a volunteer at the event, asked people what words came to their minds when they thought of democracy. 

Some of the words were “freedom,” “speech,” “vagina” and “ain’t Trump.” 

Baley said the answers were mostly positive.

“I think people still have faith and hope for democracy,” Baley said. “We deal with words and ideas. This was meant to create an atmosphere of thinking about what are the words and ideas we can hold onto and be positive about.”

English senior Schandra Madha, who works at Malvern Books, writes fiction, poetry and plays and also attended the event.

Madha said she is happy that writers can speak their minds in these safe spaces. 

“We need [safe spaces] more than ever because book stores are places of learning,” Madha said. “It’s so great to speak our minds here. This is free speech, free press and freedom.”