Novelist Wally Lamb will be among 10 poets and writers reading from their works in a celebration honoring free speech freedom fighter Avery Doninger Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007 at the Litchfield Inn’s Bistro East Ballroom. Also, other special guests might show up at the last moment.
The event begins at 1 p.m. and includes live music by four high school bands. Hors d’oeuvres, cheese and fruit will be served and there will be a cash bar.
Doninger, a senior at Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, has civil rights actions pending in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City and U.S. District Court in New Haven. She and her mother, Lauren Doninger, sued Principal Karissa Niehoff and Superintendent Paula Schwartz after they removed Avery from the ballot for Class of 2008 secretary.
Avery Doninger was among a group of four students who lobbied the community for support of an annual battle of the bands sponsored by the Student Council. Schwartz became very upset after taxpayers called her and she cancelled the event known as Jamfest. Doninger subsequently referred to administrators in a live journal blog as central office douchebags, and Schwartz’s son found the posting a couple weeks later. While Avery Doninger was banned from school office, another student who called Schwartz a dirty whore was given an award and lauded for citizenship.
School officials suppressed the write-in vote in which Doninger was elected by a plurality. Schwartz refused to accept Doninger’s apology for her choice of words. During an assembly, Niehoff banned free-speech and Team Avery t-shirts and seized at least one shirt.
The Doningers are seeking—among other remedies—an apology for civil rights violations, recognition of the write-in victory and sharing of the secretary position with the administration-backed candidate.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz denied a motion for a preliminary injunction and his ruling is being appealed to the Second Circuit.
Joining Lamb on the Oct. 14 program are poets and writers Ravi Shankar, Amy Ma, Franz Douskey, Rand Cooper, Jon Andersen, Ron Winter, Margot Schilpp, Oscar De Los Santos and Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio. Short bios follow. Bands set to perform include My Day As A Bear, Adrenaline, Young Vick, Accolade and The Positive Downside.
Suggested donation is $25 or more for adults; $10 or more for students. Checks can be made out to:
Atty. Jon L. Schoenhorn IOLTA Account
with “Avery Doninger appeal” written on the reference line.
Jon L. Schoenhorn & Associates, LLC
108 Oak Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1514
Among those helping to subsidize expenses for the Oct 14 event are: Marilyn Nelson, the former Connecticut Poet Laureate; Howard Zinn, author of books including “A People’s History of the United States” and “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress;” poet and poetry slam coach Elizabeth Thomas; Ray Baysden, a corporate executive in Virginia; poet and writer Susanne Davis; and Raj Patel, owner of The Business Center in Litchfield.