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Art and Activism in the City

Jul 14 2017

Image: I work in an office so there aren't any exciting photos of me...but here's some of the titles we've been publishing!
 

By Juliana Chang
BA in Linguistics, 2019
Marketing and Events Intern at Heyday

Out West Student Blog

Student Blog

Thats it; I'm moving here after college!!

I sent this text to my friend as I stopped in front of the fourth bookstore I've seen in Berkeley that day. This was before I went home and googled the ridiculous Bay Area housing prices, but at that moment, standing in front of a window display full of poetry and political books, less than twenty minutes after I left the Berkeley Poetry Slam to walk home, I felt like I had found my kind of city.

This summer I'm interning at Heyday, a non-profit publishing house based in Berkeley that specializes in books on California. Given California’s extensive and complex history, this means books can range from nonfiction recountings of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to a field guide to edible plants in the Bay Area to a collection of Native American folktales.

Heyday operates on the belief that art and literature can make a difference. As a non-profit publishing house, Heyday believes in this cause deeply enough that it will continue to make books it believes are important and necessary for the world, even if those books are not necessarily the most profitable or lucrative. It's impossible to talk about Heyday's work without talking about the city it lives in, and it's been amazing over the past few weeks to see the ways that art and activism continue to intertwine in Berkeley and my workplace.

Heyday operates on the belief that art and literature can make a difference. As a non-profit publishing house, Heyday believes in this cause deeply enough that it will continue to make books it believes are important and necessary for the world, even if those books are not necessarily the most profitable or lucrative.

While Heyday has always been involved with fairly politicized causes like environmentalism, Native American advocacy, and more (check out some of these titles: De-Bug: From the Underside of Silicon Valley; Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internship Experience; Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California), it was only recently that the organization has begun branding itself as a politically active publishing house, which makes me all the prouder to work here. One of the books I'm currently working on helping publicize is Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, a children's book that introduces young readers to the the history of Japanese internship and the subsequent Korematsu v. United States Supreme Court case.

Since the organization is small, I've had the chance to try my hand at various aspects of publishing, from mocking up online ads to sending blurb solicitation emails to Bob Woodward (!!) to creating and sending out monthly newsletters.

One of the projects I've been working on this past week is mailing a copy of Heyday's first ever instant book, Our Dishonest President, to every member of the California State Senate, California State Assembly, Governor Jerry Brown, and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. Our Dishonest President comprises of six editorials written by the Los Angeles Times denouncing President Trump's policies and action, which Heyday has compiled into a paper and digital book for purchase.

As someone who often wonders about the place of art in a world with arguably more urgent and pressing needs, it's wonderful to be able to point at Heyday and say, “This is what art can do.”

Read more at the Out West Student Blog »