Poets and activists have organized a vigil and reading protesting President Donald J. Trump's proposed budget cuts to, or elimination of, the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).
The event—which is privately organized by New Directions Publishing co-director of publicity Brittany Dennison with poets Christopher Soto, Erin Belieu, and Kyle Dacuyan—will be held at 6:00 p.m. EST on March 15. "This is a time to make our own voices heard," the group said in a statement.
One of the participants, poet Sam Sax, said the NEA is an invaluable institution, since it supports writers, like himself, who might not otherwise have the money or time to focus on their work. Sax added that the NEA grant he won allowed him to "finish two books of poems and set out on a writing adventure that’s brought me to New York City." He added: "This grant has also given me the confidence to start my first novel and be braver in my writing in general."
Readers at the event include Sax, Rachel Zucker, Yesenia Montilla, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Amber Atiya, Aeliana Nicole, Ser Serpas, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Che Gossett, and J.P. Howard.
"Winning an NEA [grant] in 2013 was hugely important to me," Zucker said in a statement. "I'm sickened by the idea that it may cease to exist. That others will not have the chance of this opportunity and that it will be part of a general diminishment and end of arts funding."