Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA) has elected four new officers for its board of directors. For the 2012-2013 year Dan Renfrow will serve as chair of the board, with Bridget Meeds as vice chair, Kathleen Gemmell as secretary, and David Guaspari as treasurer. “Ithaca City of Asylum provides sanctuary for writers who are persecuted because of their writing and activism. While our focus is supporting writers, our work is fundamentally a social justice project.” said Renfrow, the new chair of ICOA’s board and a professor of sociology at Wells College. “As a sociologist, I believe this is important work.”
ICOA is a local organization that provides sanctuary to writers whose works are suppressed, whole lives are threatened, whose cultures are vanishing, or whose languages are endangered. Part of its purpose is to serve as a bridge to the community, assisting writers in residence and their families in meeting the challenges of a new environment while encouraging their creative output. ICOA welcomed its first writer in 2001 and is about to introduce a fifth writer to the Ithaca community.
Part of an international network of cities of refuge, ICOA is one of only four cities of asylum in the United States. ICOA is a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a non-profit organization affiliated with Cornell University, and works in partnership with Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Wells College.