The Race Is Over; The Work Begins: A Letter From Suzanne Nossel
We are back from the brink, and a new day dawns. This election is called, and disinformation and alternative facts did not win.
Four years ago, when we learned Donald Trump would become president, PEN America rose to the challenge. Having documented his attacks on free speech and the press during his campaign, together we knew that every aspect of our mission to celebrate and defend free expression hung in jeopardy. We saw that battles for free speech that we had fought around the world would now need to be waged here at home. We transformed our organization to meet this test, and you stood by us every step of the way. We feel a sense of profound pride knowing that together we did our part to ensure truth, facts, science, reasoned dialogue, and compassion would prevail.
But the challenges besetting our public discourse did not start with Trump. We know they won’t end here. This election again makes plain that we confront a crisis of trust and truth that runs deep, impairing pandemic response, bedeviling our politics, and setting us against our neighbors.
Our information ecosystem is broken, thwarting our democracy. It must be fixed, and it can be fixed.
Together we have mounted a formidable defense of free expression in response to unprecedented threats. Your ideas, opinions, activism, energy, and support have sustained us through dark moments, keeping hope alive. In the months ahead, PEN America will step up our groundbreaking work to:
- Restore faith in a credible free press—and secure a vibrant future for local journalism.
- Elevate bracing literary voices and works as catalysts for empathy and inspiration.
- Inoculate the public against disinformation.
- Dismantle racism and other barriers of exclusion that silence essential voices.
- Foster open discourse on campus so all viewpoints can be heard.
- Counter online harassment.
- Press digital giants to uphold free speech and open discourse while preventing the weaponization of their platforms.
- Defend truth-tellers, be they writers, dissidents, scientists, or engaged citizens.
We face a window of opportunity to dig deep into the work of rectifying flaws and fault lines laid bare. We have an opportunity to make real the unfulfilled promise of our founding documents, to realize a vision of free speech as a right that belongs to each of us, equally. Together as PEN America, we are poised to contribute. We have the expertise, track record, and credibility to play a decisive role in pulling our country back from the brink, bringing about a new and brighter future.
Please give what you can, add your name to the growing ranks of our Membership, and join us in this next, crucial battle for the future of free speech.
CEO, PEN America