The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights, is proud to welcome Gene Luen Yang to its Board of Directors. A celebrated cartoonist and teacher, Yang served as the fifth National Ambassador For Young People's Literature, where he launched the Reading Without Walls challenge. His graphic novels include American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, which have earned prestigious national honors including the ALA's Printz Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Eisner Award, two National Book Award nominations, and recognition as a Macarthur Fellow. In addition to his cartooning work, Yang writes comics for other artists, including the series Secret Coders, and franchises Avatar: The Last Airbender, Superman, and New Super-Man. He is also an accomplished teacher of creative writing in Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Despite a dedication to encouraging cultural understanding in his creative work, Yang's books are also frequent targets of censorship.
"I’m so excited to be joining the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund," Gene Yang says. "Like many people, I’ve found it more and more difficult to wrap my head around issues of free speech because of recent news events. However, I still believe that, to borrow a phrase from poet Liu Xiaobo, free expression is the mother of truth. The CBLDF has been at the forefront of these issues for many years now, which makes our work more important than ever. "
CBLDF President Larry Marder says, " Gene is an irresistible creative dynamo. His entire body of work is about the challenges of human conflict and how people resolve them in order to live with each other. The CBLDF's First Amendment mission and educational outreach programs will greatly benefit from his thoughtful, inclusive approach to problem solving."
Yang's addition to the CBLDF Board of Directors bolsters the organization’s efforts to protect First Amendment rights of readers, creators, librarians, retailers, publishers, and educators who face the threat of censorship. He joins creators Reginald Hudlin, the iconic writer, producer and director behind films including Marshall, Django Unchained and the Black Panther animated series; three-time Newbery honoree Jennifer L. Holm; celebrated comics authors and executives Paul Levitz and Larry Marder; Bone creator Jeff Smith; as well as industry leaders Jeff Abraham, president of Penguin Random House Publisher Services; Ted Adams, CEO of IDW Media Holdings, legendary IP litigator Dale Cendali, a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP; ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp; Sequential Tart founder Katherine Keller; DCBS Service co-owner Christina Merkler, and Chris Powell, VP Retailer Services at Diamond Comics Distributors, in serving on the Fund’s Board in direct oversight of its activities protecting the freedom to read.