Michael Chabon and 18 of America's most prominent authors, including John Grisham, Rick Moody, Nora Roberts, Stephen King and Amy Tan have banded together to raise money for the First Amendment Project (FAP) through eBay Giving Works, the dedicated program for charity listings, starting on September 1st and running through September 25th, 2005. The authors will list for bid the chance to name a character in their upcoming books, and donate the proceeds to the FAP, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition. After 12 years of assisting activists, journalists and artists, FAP is struggling financially and in serious danger of closing. Michael Chabon, a member of FAP's Advisory Board, turned to his colleagues in the literary world and enlisted them to rally to FAP's defense.
The authors participating in the FAP charity auction on eBay at www.ebay.com/fap include: Dorothy Allison, Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Sean Greer, John Grisham, Stephen King, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, ZZ Packer, Chuck Palahniuk, Nora Roberts, Lemony Snicket, Peter Straub, Amy Tan, Ayelet Waldman, Brad Meltzer and Chris Offutt.
The idea of holding a group charity auction came from Neil Gaiman, who recently sold the name of a cruise liner in his upcoming novel, Anansi Boys, for 3.5k on eBay. The proceeds from it were donated to another First Amendment defender, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. "It just made sense to apply this on a grander scale," says Chabon. "If one of us could raise that much for a non profit on his own, what could a dozen or more authors pull in for the First Amendment Project?"
"First Amendment Project is the only nonprofit organization in the country devoted to providing free legal services with respect to free speech and free press issues" says David Greene Executive Director and Staff Counsel for FAP. "The authors who are helping us with this charity auction understand how fundamental First Amendment rights are and how without organizations like FAP being vigilant in preserving them, our nation's democratic and creative cultures will suffer."
Last year, FAP was involved in a case before the California Supreme Court that raised important issues for poets, writers and all of those dedicated to the craft of the written word. Julius, a student new to his high school, gave a poem he wrote to some of his classmates to read. The page on which the poem appeared was labeled "Dark Poetry." Julius testified that he used that label so that a reader would understand that his writings were fictional. The issue was whether the distribution of the poem to some of his classmates constituted a "criminal threat" under California Penal Code §422. The juvenile court and the Court of Appeal ruled that it did, interpreting the poem as demonstrating a serious and real intention to commit a crime. However, on July 22nd, 2004 , the Cal. Supreme Court reversed Julius' conviction, relying heavily on a friend of the court brief. Co-authored by FAP (with the ACLU of Northern California) on behalf of Michael Chabon, JM Coetzee, Peter Straub, Harlan Ellison and others, the brief urged the court to consider the historic and important role violent imagery plays in poetry and literature, and to consider how the nature of poetry makes it an unlikely vehicle for the delivery of a threat.
Conducting the charity auction is Auction Cause, a premier online auction management agency specializing in high impact and high value eBay listings for nonprofits and their corporate partners.
Karen Joy Fowler
Andrew Sean Greer
First Amendment Project needs your support so that we can continue to offer free legal and educational services to activist, journalists and artists who rights to freedom of speech and the press, to petition the government, and of information. Please consider a donation today.
There are several ways to support FAP:
- Make an online donation right now by clicking here.
- Set up a recurring monthly donation. Even a small donation each month goes along way to helping us continue our programs.
- Auction an item on Ebay for FAP's benefit. Because FAP is a registered charity with Ebay, you can designate FAP as the beneficiary of the proceeds of your auction.
--The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
First Amendment Project is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.
FAP provides advice, educational materials, and legal representation to its core constituency of activists, journalists, and artists in service of these fundamental liberties.
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