Grace Munene, Why I Support PEN

PEN Canada’s end-of-year campaign launched Tuesday, November 28 and runs until December 31.
To understand PEN Canada’s impact, we’re sharing testimonials from the PEN community. They are writers in exile, writers in peril, and emerging writers. They are teachers, novelists, journalists, activists, bloggers and poets. Grace Munene writes: 

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My name is Grace Munene, a lyrical and pictorial activist who goes by the stage name Grammo Suspect – Rainbow Ambassador Kenya. 

I write, record and perform music, and use rap and spoken word poetry to fight for LGBTQIA rights. 

I currently reside in Canada, an exile who has fled harassment, discrimination, humiliation, persecution and censorship back in Kenya, my homeland, due to my sexuality and my art. 

Absconding from the crisis and reaching safety is, for people like us, just one step. After that, comes the larger challenge of assimilating to our new home. Most exiled artists start out in the cold, without food and access to other basic needs. Fortunately, my partner, Timeka Suspect – also my manager, producer and director – and I were able to obtain emergency assistance from PEN Canada. That assistance helped us start the long process of building new lives here in Canada, and we are grateful to PEN, and every person and foundation that enables it to help writers and artists like us. 

We therefore encourage everyone out there, who is willing and able, to continue your support of PEN. Its work is crucial.

Grace Munene

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