The Witness Tree Mission Statement read:
Witness Tree is dedicated to revealing the liberatory force of literature in diverse communities. For students and teachers of all levels, as well as social organizations and book clubs, Witness Tree offers literature exploration workshops and curriculum planning sessions. We conduct interactive literary events and disseminate bibliographic information on lesser-read books and genres, mainly poetry, play writing and fiction created by people of color and women. Witness Tree also offers creative writing workshops to groups that serve many communities including youth, those in correctional facilities, and those served by public assistance programs. Creative writing workshops allow participants a supportive space in which they can express their experiences and hopes in writing.
Witness Tree’s activities create and enhance people’s interest in literature, encouraging participants to allow poetry, plays, and fiction to enter and alter their lives. Witness Tree believes the written word provides stimuli to the mind, and sustenance and survival of the spirit. We hope that our workshops and other activities, enhanced by suggested lists of books and relevant publishers, will motivate participants to make the reading, and perhaps the writing, of literature an integral part of their lives.
Since 1996 Witness Tree has created programming for constituencies including adopted youth, incarcerated individuals, cancer patients, New York City public school teachers, corporate employees and high school students of color. We have conducted literary events and sponsored activities in NYC parks, bars, hotels, laundromats, museums and other non-conventional places as well as in sites in Minnesota, Maryland, Trinidad, South Africa, Gambia, Haiti and India. Organizations that we have created programming for include PEN America, Literacy Partners, the Police Athletic League and the New York City Ballet.