Women Writers, Censorship and War

In my head, I have been writing for days a small piece on women writers, censorship and war. I have been thinking about what it means that many of us--myself included--can live through war untouched by war. I think about Molly Ivins’ death and her call to us to raise hell against this war. I think about Tillie Olsen’s death, too, and her peace work. And Valerie Trueblood’s peace work. And what I means to be able to say that one worked for peace.

In the mean time, I want to draw your attention to two things worthy of commemoration and celebration. First, the incisive and powerful Laila Lalami (of MoorishGirl and Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits) had an Op-Ed on censorship in the Times on Saturday.

Progress comes in such babysteps, doesn’t it? There was a time when it would have been nearly impossible to imagine a Morrocan-American woman being a respected writer, sufficiently authoritative to speak out against censorship. And yet, here we are, still speaking against censorship.

And worse. Journalists killed all the time all over the world.

But we must celebrate the lives of those who work for justice. If you’re in the San Francisco area, you might want to join others in celebrating Tillie Olsen. Another of her grand-daughters asked me to spread the word about a memorial service:

Tillie Lerner Olsen
Author, Feminist, Activist
January 14, 1912 - January 1, 2007

Join family, friends, and readers for a Memorial Celebration of Tillie Olsen's Life

Saturday, February 17, 2007

First Congregational Church of Oakland

2501 Harrison Street (corner of 25th and Harrison)
Oakland, CA

1:00 celebration followed by reception.

Parking on site. The church is 8 blocks from the 19th Street BART Station.