In the wake of Donald J. Trump's surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, PEN America has released a statement doubling down on its mission to protect free speech. The statement comes as the country waits to inaugurate a leader who has shown disdain for the free press and threatened to open up the nation's libel laws.
"This morning opens a new chapter in American history," PEN executive director Suzanne Nossel—who previously worked with Secretary Clinton in the U.S. State Department—wrote on November 9. "PEN America stands ready to play our essential role of defending free expression, elevating marginalized voices, and fostering dialogue across boundaries here at home and around the world."
"We have our work cut out for us," she added.
The organization has also published a number of responses from writers in its ranks, including authors Alexander Chee, Claire Messud, and Walter Mosley.
"The depth of our society’s misogyny shocks, although perhaps it shouldn’t," writes Messud. "Americans have chosen the least qualified candidate—and the most openly sexist—in history over the most qualified one."
"I am reminded of the phrase, 'the older we are, the more we live in the past,'" writes Mosley. "This election should have been a wake-up call from the beginning but instead the parties, pundits, and aged political leaders thought that things were primarily the same and that they could control the outcomes as they had done in past."
PEN also issued a statement following President-Elect Trump's refusal to allow a press pool to travel with him to Washington for meetings with President Obama.
"Trump's decision to exclude reporters from his campaign plane en route to essential discussions on the nation's transition is a warning sign when it comes to the transparency we can expect from the incoming Administration," Nossel said in a statement. "We urge President-Elect Trump to ensure that the press has the access necessary to play its key role at a pivotal time of change for this country."
This article has been updated with new information.