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Ambassadors, Advocates, and Librarians

What I took from my 5 Days at ALA Chicago Conference
by Lydia Golitz, GWP Summer Intern

Thanks to the incredible Dede Cummings, I was able attend the American Library Association’s annual conference from June 22 to June 27. This summer, it was held in Chicago, where I live and intern remotely for GWP. I was sent to do many things, among them: to learn how to be in conversation with libraries and educators, to spread the word about one of GWP’s upcoming release, Salamander Sky, and explore all the fun things ALA has to offer. I had a blast, all while gathering information and inspiration left and right.

Of all the incredible people I encountered at ALA, two really, genuinely, impacted me. One was Gene Luen Yang, and the other was Hillary Clinton. They were both featured speakers who really encapsulated what I feel is so important about what—and how!—we read.

Gene Luen Yang is an accomplished graphic novelist whose works center around the Asian-American experience. All of his work, especially his most accomplished pieces: American Born Chinese, and The New Superman, have inspired conversations about diversity in literature. In a moment of illumination, Yang spoke about what it means to be an “ambassador” and what it means to be an “advocate.” Ambassadors are people (authors, characters, readers) who relay other’s experiences in an empathetic way, and advocacy is sharing stories that speak to experiences representative of your own. In this way, Yang said, ambassadors teach you how to love others, and advocates teach you how to love yourself. And literature should do just that—create an empathy for others, while empowering the reader to be true to themselves in a noble way. His talk highlighted the importance of representation, and that anyone, from any background, race, or gender, is capable of doing anything, including being both an ambassador and an advocate. And one essential way in inspiring that inclusion is being able to see characters just like them in the stories they read.

. . . it is clear that “access equals opportunity,” books are of the UTMOST importance in every community.

Hillary Clinton spoke to the importance of representation as well, taking it a step farther in talking about how these books reach people everyday. Because it is clear that “access equals opportunity,” books are of the UTMOST importance in every community. With the help of free, instructional libraries, books can be endlessly accessed and open everyone to limitless opportunity through knowledge and empowerment. She also spoke to the importance of how we read. In the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” it is more important than ever to be a critical reader. Clinton emphasized that libraries and books are the things that encourage and teach that critical reading and media literacy, and are therefore indispensable right now, and for our future.

Just from my short 6 weeks here at GWP, I can tell that all of these commitments are also central to what GWP strives to do. As people who write, read, and love books, we hold so much power in our world and in our own local communities to change perceptions and start important conversations through literature, poetry, and art. Interested in libraries, outreach, or changing the world? Start conversations with your local branch, your local bookstore, your local educators, readers, and writers. If you’re looking for just a good place to start reading, check out GWP’s own authors, who are all so committed to changing the world for the better, through advocacy for the environment.

Weneeddiversebooks.org and reading-without-walls.com are also good resources to help us expose ourselves to literature we might not even think about looking for. Though it can be a hefty challenge to read outside of the box, I believe it is one of the most important ones we have the privilege to participate in. Happy reading!

 

 

—Lydia Golitz,
GWP Summer Editorial Intern
Bennington College

Commune Tour & Ireland Writing/Reading Trip with GWP

Environmental Writing and Adventure Trips with GWP!Green Writers Press runs travel programs for writers and readers, with a focus on incorporating a sense of place into your writing.
Next trip is IRELAND with Dede Cummings and Megan Buchanan . . . and possibly Tim Weed! Travel with GWP authors and editors to the Emerald Isle in late September to hike in the bogs and up Croagh Patrick, along the Dingle Peninsula, and the Cliffs of Mohr . . .

I R E L A N D

Dede will lead a trip to Ireland in the late summer of 2017. Tentative dates are September 25-October 2nd.

Join us for a fabulous tour of  the legendary West Coast of Ireland, where we will visit the Dingle Peninsula (site of the film Ryan’s Daughter!), and the lively town of Galway, along with the musical village of Doolin, Jesse Lendenye’s Salmon Poetry workshop, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Croagh Patrick, and more!

 

 

V E R M O N T   C O M M U N E   T O U R

In the summer of 2017, Dede and GWP author Peter Gould will co-lead a Tour of Vermont Communes—stay tuned for details.

Contact Dede Cummings for more information and to reserve spots. dede@greenwriterspress.com for info or 802-380-1121

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2 0 1 7   S U M M E R   I N T E R N S

CAMERON HOPE is originally from Australia but currently studying Philosophy at the University of Leiden, Netherlands. He is interested in the relationship between perception and value. He studies full time, and is an amateur beekeeper and sometime poet who likes to connect with people and learn from stories that can change how we see and value the world. Cameron will be moving to Brattleboro, Vermont this summer! 

….. two more to come! …..

C L I M A T E   M A R C H


What an amazing trip to the Climate March with this awesome group of Vermont activists (look who else is in photo!) who bussed to Montpelier today for the 100th Day of the Trump debacle-presidency! We were fortunate to embark on a positive action of solidarity and joined with millions of protesters around the world, a day after the EPA announced that its website devoted to climate science will be removed from the public after 20 years.

BEST SLOGANS/SIGNS: “There is no Planet B,” “Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Pruitt has got to go!” “Resistance is here to stay, welcome to your 100th day.” “The oceans are rising and so are we!” I just heard from my 350 VT friends that over 200,000 people took the streets in Washington DC for climate, jobs, and justice!

Don’t stop now: write to the Department of the Interior and tell them to preserve our national monuments (Dept. of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240), join your local activist groups and May 1st is a March for Justicia Migrante in Burlington, VT (and other locations)—”Milk With Dignity!” Migrant Justice leader Enrique “Kike” Balcazar was one of the featured speakers, talking about climate refugees and immigrant rights, my friend, Shela Linton, delivered a powerful speech on the statehouse today, too, and of course Bernie Sanders was there with climate change facts at his fingertips! Thanks to the Putney Huddle group, especially Laura Lynette Chapman for organizing!

O N W A R D !

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