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LitHop attendees applaud Randa Jarrar and free speech, denounce threats against her

Lee Herrick, former Fresno poet laureate, presides over LitHop, an annual he event he founded, Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Fresno City College. Herrick and others at LitHop expressed support for Randa Jarrar, who withdrew from the event after her controversial tweet about the late Barbara Bush.
Lee Herrick, former Fresno poet laureate, presides over LitHop, an annual he event he founded, Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Fresno City College. Herrick and others at LitHop expressed support for Randa Jarrar, who withdrew from the event after her controversial tweet about the late Barbara Bush. THE FRESNO BEE

LitHop's daylong festival was an uplifting time for the art community after its headliner, Randa Jarrar, stirred a nationwide controversy and withdrew just days before the event. It also was an opportunity for attendees to express support for Jarrar and for free speech.

Jarrar was set to headline at Fresno City College's Old Administration Building on Saturday evening, but the author and Fresno State English professor remained out of the country. She sparked a national controversy after she called Barbara Bush an "amazing racist" on Twitter a few hours after the former first lady's death was announced Tuesday.

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Author and Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar withdrew as headline reader for LitHop, less than a day after she marked the death of Barbara Bush by posting a tweet that described the former first lady as an "amazing racist." VULTURE FESTIVAL

Jessica Johnson: 559-441-6051, @iamjesslj
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