Portland, OR. Write Around Portland virtually hosted its annual event Raise Your Pen, on October 8th. The event was emceed by Slam Poet and Write Around Portland board member Marisol Tawadros and personal work was shared by five Write Around Portland writers. Through the event, Write Around Portland was able to raise over $45,000 which is earmarked for the nonprofit’s work in the community. The night was spent writing and acknowledging the importance and the power of writing.

During the pandemic, Write Around Portland has transitioned all of its workshops, programming, and operations to be done remotely. Among the services that the organization offers is a bi-weekly online writing workshop and a bi-monthly BIPOC online writing workshop specifically for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The organization is also partnering with agencies to offer mail-based and remote writing workshops for people who are experiencing isolation and barriers to accessing services.

From Elizebett Eslinger, the Executive Director of Write Around Portland:

“Writing is essential. With a public health crisis and systemic racial inequities especially exposed, the need for writing and connection takes on a new fullness. At Write Around Portland, we are amplifying the stories and voices we need to hear, caring for our community, and continuing our work to build a more respectful and just world through the power of writing. 

We continue our racial equity and anti-racist work, including expanding our own learning; challenging and working to dismantle inequitable structures within our organization and the broader sector; and sharing ways our Write Around community can get involved with the Movement for Black Lives, engage in anti-racist learning and work, and support BIPOC-led organizations.”

Write Around Portland has taken this time to implement remote adaptations for a safe community in the organization. The changes of this year have given the space to encourage the staff to take more time off while they work on contingency plans for returning to in-person when it is safe and responsible to do so.

From Write Around Portland:

We hold free writing workshops for adults and youth in hospitals, schools, treatment centers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, low-income housing residences and other social service agencies. To ensure everyone has access to writing in community, we provide journals, pens, bus tickets, childcare and snacks for participants in these workshops.