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Protecting Free Speech: Two Groups Promote Independent Voices

Arts and Advocacy | June 2017 Newsletter

The First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech, is at the heart of our democracy. But it’s at risk. 

So far this year, lawmakers in more than 18 states have introduced legislation to curb mass protests. At the same time, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—all of which help America’s lesser-known voices be heard—faced the threat of elimination. “Attacks on these federal agencies have a chilling effect on freedom of expression,” says Kerry McCarthy, The Trust program director overseeing the arts.

Now we’re funding two City literary nonprofits to amplify alternative voices in this age of “alternative facts.” Our grant of $150,000 to PEN America will provide training and outlets to aspiring and professional writers marginalized by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status. 

Also, we’re giving the Asian American Writers’ Workshop $70,000 to publish works by Muslim, Arab, and South Asian writers. In response to growing violence against these communities, the group also will offer workshops on digital security and writers’ rights. 

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