Sunday, November 24, 2019

PEN Expands Its Free Speech Fight Across America

Image result for free speech images

Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s and 1980s I felt assured of a few things being around forever -- my parents, baseball, newspapers, television, and movies.  Well I’ve learned people die (Dad’s gone three years).  I also learned leaders don’t remain on top forever, as newspapers gave way to cable television and now online media.  Baseball went from the national pastime to the third-or fourth-most popular sport.  Network TV is done and streaming TV from companies is now the rage.  Movies in theaters are under siege and draw far fewer crowds than they used to.  So where am I going with this depressing visit down memory lane?

Free speech.

Yes, your constitutional right to free speech, that thing you take for granted, needs your help if it’s to be protected.  Just as you saw how dominant forces have come and gone, some out of fashion completely and others diminished greatly, don’t think for a minute it can’t happen to something like free speech.

Thankfully there are some amazing groups that call attention to the full protection of our First Amendment.  The ACLU, PEN America, and American Booksellers for Free Expression are the ones that immediately come to mind. They need your money, time, support, and awareness. They are part of dozens of major groups that make up The National Coalition Against Censorship (

Free speech is under attack everywhere – in schools, at libraries, on campuses, on social media, and in the funding decisions made by governments.  Censorship, book bans, hate speech, nudity and pornography, political dissent, data exploitation…we must be aware of the issues confronting our 2020 world of information – whether online, in print, at work, school, home, or the public street corner.

To help support free speech, celebrate literature, and defend press freedom, PEN America just announced it will launch six regional chapters across the US to support its NY headquarters and offices in DC and LA.  Austin, Birmingham, Dallas, Detroit, Tulsa, and the Piedmont region of NC are the six new locations.

PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel recently said PEN’s move will help “push back against the breakdown of civil discourse, the marginalization of vital voices, and encroachments on press freedom.”

For nearly – a century, PEN has worked to defend and promote authors, playwrights, poets, and those in the literary community championing for writers’ freedoms, rights, and free expression.

It seems slow of PEN to open these offices, but it’s never too late to further free speech. 

What will you do to help?

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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