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December 30, 2011
Writing & Reading thru the Color Lines
Support VONA in 2012

When a book goes out into the world, it’s in the middle of its life, not the beginning and certainly not the end. Before publication came inspiration, reflection, awareness, connection and community. While writing may seem like a solitary act, thousands of fingerprints cover a book. Teachers, friends, writing groups, family, mentors; agents have touched it, contributed to the journey.


For writers-of-color, even in the midst of a crowd, the process may be alone. They often find themselves in isolation, finding those around them may not be able to address the qualities of their writing, can’t have the important conversations about the work and what its life has been and will be.


The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) has been, for thirteen years, nurturing over 1,000 developing writers of color, escorting many on part of their journey toward publication. Our faculty and staff dedicate time and energy into creating the environment and community where the writer of color can engage with other writers, with their mentors and with writing.


We are proud of our writers who have gone on to publish books-- more than forty. We are behind those who are still discovering their voices and their craft. We are grateful to our core faculty: Chris Abani, Faith Adiele, Junot Diaz, Ruth Forman, M. Evelina Galang, Suheir Hammad, David Mura, Willie Perdomo, Elmaz Abinader and to over 25 other distinguished faculty members who transition in and out bringing their dedication and energy to this project.


We have provided this important opportunity to as many potential writers as possible, since our humble beginnings.  Costs of producing our workshop have skyrocketed, requests for scholarship assistance have increased and the contributions have dwindled. Our core support staff have moved on and we find ourselves at a crossroads.


The financial health of VONA reflects much of the rest of the country. Without new and strong contributions, the workshops are threatened and our ability to keep the teaching alive, the conversation going, the community engaged will be extremely difficult.


So my question to you is: what books do you want to see there? What authors would you like to have included?  Imagine the works of writers of color not on the shelf.


When you give to VONA, you help us grow the legacy of our writers and the universes they impact through their writing, teaching, advocacy and citizenry. Keep the workshops going by contributing anything from the price of a single book ($25) to a more significant amount that will allow us to develop strong and healthy and know we have a future.


What books would you like to read?


Please contribute to VONA by either sending your tax-deductible gift to:


VONA/Community Initiatives

345 Pine Street, Suite 700

San Francisco, CA 94104


Or via our online portal at Community Initiatives


Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Happy New Year!


Diem Jones

Executive Director
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Tel: (510) 578-8662 (VONA)

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Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation
354 Pine Street, Suite 700
c/o Community Inititiatives
San Francisco, CA 94104

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