In September 2011, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion saw their idea and month of work come to fruition—the first 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) worldwide poetry events, held on the last Saturday in September. Little could they imagine back then that it would continue and grow for the next ten years!
The organization has over the years focused on three general areas globally: Peace, Sustainability, and Social Justice. Around the world, organizers and groups focus on these issues as they fit in local contexts plus other local issues that require attention to bring about positive change. In 2015, Michael and Terri worked with 100TPC organizers in Italy to put together the first 100TPC World Conference in Salerno, Italy.
Save the Date for this Year!
We will hold our annual online 100TPC at The BeZine again this year, on the “official” date for 100TPC: 26 September, 2020. So, save that date! In addition, we will be co-sponsoring All Africa Poetry Symposium in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change 10-Year Anniversary at 8 AM US East Coast, early afternoon in the Africa time zones. Read more here (including times in Africa). With this new mix of live-stream poetry, we hope to provide an exciting 100TPC virtual BeZine event. We plan to live-stream in The BeZine Facebook groups and on YouTube…stay tuned for more information.
“We realize that this anti-Asian sentiment comes alongside an equally troubling uptick in xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Black violence,” said writer and PEN America Trustee Min Jin Lee. “This is a clarion call that all forms of racist hatred, especially at this moment, are unwelcome, unacceptable, and intolerable. As writers, we reckon with the power of words each day, and we know that along with the physical violence, poisonous rhetoric is also visiting a different kind of violence on all too many people. We’re here to say: We won’t stand for it.”
PEN America and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop today released a joint statement from well over one-hundred writers, artists, actors, and creative professionals calling for an end to anti-Asian and Asian-American sentiment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed by Riz Ahmed, Ayad Akhtar, Alexander Chee, Min Jin Lee, Celeste Ng, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and C. Pam Zhang, among many others (click here for a full list of signatories), the statement comes as the two organizations also announced a May 27 online day of action “United Against Hate: A Day of Solidarity” to condemn hate and celebrate Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander writers.
“The time to turn back this wave of hate is now,” the statement reads (full text below). “We, the undersigned, call on everyday citizens to join us in standing in solidarity with all those targeted by hate during COVID-19. Together, we can use the power of our collective voices to call for a more just, equal, and inclusive society. As members of the global literary community, we know well that diversity is a pillar of any liberal democracy, providing rich and varied stories to celebrate.”
The statement comes against the backdrop of a surge in hate crimes, violence, and other assaults against Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders, spurred by hateful rhetoric and often taking place in public spaces. The statement also highlights that public officials and leaders have not taken sufficient steps to address such attacks, and in some cases are promoting theories that blame Asian people for the coronavirus pandemic.
“We realize that this anti-Asian sentiment comes alongside an equally troubling uptick in xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Black violence,” said writer and PEN America Trustee Min Jin Lee. “This is a clarion call that all forms of racist hatred, especially at this moment, are unwelcome, unacceptable, and intolerable. As writers, we reckon with the power of words each day, and we know that along with the physical violence, poisonous rhetoric is also visiting a different kind of violence on all too many people. We’re here to say: We won’t stand for it.”
“The long history of organizing in the AAPI community parallels a longer history of anti-Asian bigotry, and the recent wave of hate is an unfortunate reminder that these racist tropes have been harming Asian American communities for decades,” said AAWW’s executive director Jafreen Uddin. “The AAWW is proud to partner with PEN America in taking a stand against this dangerous rise in bigotry. Our partnership embodies the spirit of coalition-building that has long been at the heart of organizing within the Asian American community and the AAWW’s own work in amplifying marginalized voices through the power of storytelling. History has proven time and again that we are stronger together, and with allies like PEN America on our side, we are able to meet the challenge of this moment as a forceful, united front.”
UNITED AGAINST HATE:
A DAY OF SOLIDARITY
On Wednesday, May 27, PEN America and AAWW will host a virtual day of action “United Against Hate: A Day of Solidarity.” The daylong program will include readings, lectures, poetry, and a teach-in to discuss strategies for combatting and defending against hateful actions and rhetoric. Click here for the full lineup.
Events include a teach-in featuring Jennifer Ho, Floyd Cheung, Pawan Dhingra, and Kathleen Yep; an AAWW Lit Lunch on Instagram Live with Huiyan B. Chan; a panel on countering hate speech with Nadine Strossen, Ishmael Beah, and Helen Zia; and a poetry reading with George Abraham, Kazim Ali, Regie Cabico, Marilyn Chin, Staceyann Chin, Tarfia Faizullah, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Jenny Xie, Monica Youn, and others.
Reports of any individuals being spit on, stabbed, beat up, or verbally assaulted are disturbing enough when they are isolated incidents. However, when such attacks are collectively driven by hate, and when they occur in such large volume, the onus lies heavily on civil society and on our elected representatives to condemn them. Shamefully, such voices have been too few in recent months. Attacks continue to be reported in large numbers, and one recent poll found that 32 percent of Americans have witnessed someone blaming Asian people for the coronavirus pandemic. The alarming rise in xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Black violence during this pandemic demands a robust civic response.
The time to turn back this wave of hate is now. We, the undersigned, call on everyday citizens to join us in standing in solidarity with all those targeted by hate during COVID-19. Together, we can use the power of our collective voices to call for a more just, equal, and inclusive society. As members of the global literary community, we know well that diversity is a pillar of any liberal democracy, providing rich and varied stories to celebrate. On behalf of PEN America and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, we invite you to join us on May 27 for a day of action to condemn this scourge; celebrate Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander writers; and to raise your voice to call out hate in all its heinous forms.
A few months ago, Vi La Bianca, a previous guest writer for my blog Yopp, invited me to be on her YouTube show Secular Sexuality, a show that looks at every angle of sexuality that you can think of, with an emphasis on noticing how mainstream US culture has shaped our opinions and practices around sex. I was invited specifically to discuss the intersection between sex and disability, which is a topic many people are deeply uncomfortable with.
I wanted to share and recommend this episode because, in addition to offering a lot of very useful advice to fellow disabled people and their partners about how to engage with sex and dating, a large portion of the show is devoted to discussing important issues that disabled people face in general.
This is not the first time I’ve been invited to an interview of this kind, and while my interviewers tend to be highly knowledgeable about activism and social justice, it always takes them by surprise just how much is happening within the disability activist community that they don’t know about. Disability rights are a severely neglected branch of social activism, even among some of the best and most thoughtful mainstream activists.
So, if you’re looking to get a glimpse into this world of issues as well as a lot of information specifically about sex/dating and disability, I highly recommend watching this really fun and educational episode! The video is one hour and thirty-six minutes long, including two live callers who share their experiences of how disability affects their sex lives. Not Safe for Work themes and language are also covered.
how we can improve the amount of access available to disabled people
ADA violations and the lack of input from the disabled community on accessible design
the intersection of being a woman in addition to being disabled/chronically ill
the hurdles of navigating the medical system (primarily regarding the US)
disability representation is fiction and media
Disability and dating/sexuality
the difficulties of dating while disabled
the issue of disclosure (”coming out”) as disabled
cultural resistance to the idea of disabled people having sex
the fetishization of disabled people
exploring your sexuality as a disabled person
communicating with your partner about how your disability will impact your sex life
putting your needs and physical safety first
You can watch the episode, for free, below. Enjoy!
If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, you may have to link through to the site to view this video.
KELLA HANNA-WAYNE (Yopp!) is a member of The Zine core team and a co-host of this month’s blog series on illness and disability. Kella is a disabled, chronically/mentally ill freelance writer who is the editor, publisher, and main writer for Yopp, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights education, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression; and for GlutenFreeNom.Com, a resource for learning the basics of gluten-free cooking and baking. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, Multiamory, Architrave Press and is forthcoming in a chapter of the book Twice Exceptional (2e) Beyond Learning Disabilities: Gifted Persons with Physical Disabilities. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s an argentine tango dancing event, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Medium, and Instagram.
All day yesterday visitors were flying to the original 2017 posting of these poems at The Poet by Day. It’s not hard to guess what is driving interest in them. Here the poems are again for all to read and ponder along with a word from Bernie: “Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one,” Sanders declared Thursday . . . He . . . framed it as a moment of moral gravity akin to the run-up to the Iraq War, not least because so much of the present conflict with Iran stems from the fateful intervention that began in 2003.” MOREHuffington Post
Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.
“PITY THE NATION” Lawrence Ferlinghetti (After Khalil Gibran) 2007
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire,Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
The wandering waters, dripping
Into rising seas and land now lonely
For his human foot, which finding
No room at the inn, wanders
Like the waters, violated like a fish
On the deck of a boat, gasping
Soul bludgeoned, human skulls
And fish entrails, politicos and
Pundits examine like I Ching coins,
Accidents of birth, plight of place
A remote sliver of moon surveils
From the starless sky, unmoved
Dedicated to my friend, Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean Poet in Exhile. Please connect with me if you are able or know someone / some family able to host him in Germany. Thank you! email@example.com
See a procession of young mothers chattering their way From water fountains in grenade torn sandals And blood laced bras Decade of Bullets, Mbizo Chirasha
Is fading the memory of its son,
Who for words must ride the night
Fleeing ears that hear thunder on a babies purity guggle,
Zvegona, my homestead,
Ancestors are watching
Elders on a scheming mission
Trading lies with more lies
The road to Zvegona
Your Sideroads sigh
Your song is silent
Only hiccups of mothers greet the sun
Yearning for the return of the bearded child
Who lives on the strings of truth
Truth refused a seat at the council of baboons on the lagoons
Goons settling scores on the assumptions that a boy has a price,
Well, the boy true has a price
But not one you can pay with looted coins
The boy has shaved his hair not his brains
The boy has slipped his boots on and truth has raised its flag
And the spirits of truth sing his Achilles heels on,
So Zvegona, the village of the lucky poet,
Grow thistles and thorns
Feed cattle and goats
The boy has shaved his beard
Ready for a walk back, to shave the land of all pretentious shenanigans
Uprooting the weeds and weevils
Repair the kraal too,
Where roosters shall announce light unto the land,
Currently bent double under the gargantuan weight of lying tongues.
Zvegona, you are my yesterday
Zvegona, you are my tomorrow in whatever form, shape or …….
The first New Look Brave Voices Poetry Journal will be out by the 15th of December 2019. It is a Christmas gift. Our deadline for articles [and poetry] is the 10th of December 2019. We look forward to contributions and features with a length of 1500 words. You can send these in the body of mail with photos as attachments. Please include your publishable photos and a fifteen line bio to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve received letters of support to go in Mbizo’s applications for grants and safe harbor, but the Go-Fund-Me effort is still not to goal, which would provide for the immediate need for pantry staples, computer, and so forth. Without predictable computer access, Mbizo has not yet been able to do his interview with the Canadian radio show, though the offer still stands.
International Human Rights Festival, the entity that sponsored Mbizo’s Go-Fund-Me, has attracted $480 and raised the goal to $750. They have cut him some partial funding for now. Meanwhile, folks, I suggest that if enough of us donated the price of one morning latte, we’d make the goal. What do you say? A whole bunch of tidbits would combine for a whole lot of success. You can make your donation anonymously HERE.
If you are able and interested in helping in any way, you can contact Mbizo directly at: email@example.com
– Jamie Dedes
“We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA.” Mbizo Chirasha
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
“Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.” His broken shapes and no words for them. It got all still as our train stopped. I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.” Linda Chown
The Big Burn-Out
In Deusto those burnt out train husks
ETA exploded black in a rage for justice
haunt the tracks like unheard whispers
hollowed out like old love gone offstage
There was an awe in my looking
almost a respect as I was
remembering the political anger
in which I was basted all my little life.
It was a mirror of those police,
big faceless men holding their lines.
This is no self pity but a gripping knowing
how big life living is. How solemn and fervent our times.
Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s
World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.”
His broken shapes and no words for them.
It got all still as our train stopped.
I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.
LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row. BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.
September 28, 2019 The BeZine Virtual 100TPC Event is LIVE!
as the world burns and wars rage
Global protest actions on the Climate Crisis have been scheduled for September, as fires rage from the Arctic to the Amazon . Potential conflicts in the Middle East seem on the verge of flaring into their own wildfires, most prominently as I write this: Taliban-US, Iran-US, Israel-Hamas-(Hezbollah-Iran), and Pakistan-India-Kashmir. Underlying and entwined with these huge, tangled problems, the pressing need to address injustice, inequality, and huge economic disparity, which smolder or burn throughout the world. Big words cover what we wish for in place of these problems: Sustainability, Peace, and Social Justice. In order to understand the complex dimensions of each of these pressing global problems, The BeZine has focused in our first two issues of 2019 on Peace and Sustainability—and now, the Fall Issue of The BeZine focuses on Social Justice.
As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
In this time of Orwellian language-logic and fake news (aka propaganda and lies), science denial (aka lies and distortions), nationalistic-populism, vitriolic debate, and self-serving and greedy leadership in the financial and governmental towers of power unmoored from ethics or morality (aka high crimes and misdemeanors)—with all of this, I ask you to reflect on these words of Martin Luther King, Jr.—”Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence.”
I find myself at times of despair drawn to the idea of violence as the only solution, but each time remind myself of the repulsiveness of that solution. We must find a way to bring justice into the world, to immediately address the climate crisis, and to foster peace, without contributing to the bitterness, pain, and murder so rampant now, fueled as it is by the rhetoric and actions of government and corporate powers. If we stoop to the level of those men (and women) in power, we will end up only fanning the destructive fires they have lit and spread.
As the Reverend King goes on to say: “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”
Sometimes I feel that we already are reaping that legacy with this reign of chaos surrounding us today. I fervently hope that, if so, it is not an endless inferno.
Glimmers of hope emerge—Greta Thunberg and her activism shines like a bright light. Her language makes clear that the climate crisis is an issue of social justice for our children and grandchildren. It is also a social justice issue for indigenous peoples, migrants, the poor, and less “developed” countries. The climate crisis and wars contribute to the issue of justice for migrants, creating a flow of refugees that other countries refuse to shelter. Racism, unfettered capitalism, gender biases all create injustice, and those oppressed in the system that produce hate are most likely to suffer in war and the climate crisis. Our contributors touch on these intersections while exploring social justice in their work.
In the end, the hope has to come from us—from our acting, responding, striking if necessary. Yes, avoiding violence. But also, demanding change now. We need to seek the abstract “social justice” through social ACTION. And we need to see and act on the links between issues, rather than dividing ourselves and fighting over which issue is more important. They are all important, and they all need to be addressed holistically.
We all need to work together, because there are no jobs on a dead planet; there is no equity without rights to decent work and social protection, no social justice without a shift in governance and ambition, and, ultimately, no peace for the peoples of the world without the guarantees of sustainability.
With this issue of the Zine, Global 100,000 Poets and Others for Change (100TPC), Read A Poem To A Child week, and The BeZine Virtual 100TPC we share our passions and concerns across borders, we explore differences without violence or vindictiveness, and we sustain one another. These activities endow us with hope, strength, and connection.
Our thanks to and gratitude for the members of The Bardo Group Beguines (our core team), to our contributors, and to our readers and supporters who come from every corner of the world. You are the light and the hope. You are valued.
Special thanks to Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion for the gift of 100TPC and Read A Poem To A Child week, to our resident artist Corina Ravenscraft for our beautiful 100TPC banner, and to Michael Dickel for pulling the Zine together this month, moderating Virtual 100TPC on September 28, and for his technical support and innovations. And to Terri Stewart, much appreciation for our stellar logo, and for our ultra-fabulous name: The BeZine – Be inspired … Be creative … Be peace. … Be …
Our theme for the December 15 issue is “A Life of the Spirit.” John Anstie will take the lead and submissions will open on October 1 and close on November 15. Look for revised submission guidelines soon.
In the spirit of love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines, Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor
The BeZine 100TPC Virtual—Live Online 28 September 2019
The global 100TPC initiative on Saturday, September 28, 2019, puts forward poetry, music, art, and more, that promote Peace, Sustainability, an Social Justice. The BeZine will again offer a virtual, online event on that date. Please stop by, leave links to your own writing, art, or music, leave comments… We welcome your participation. Click here to join on 28 September 2019.
Table of contents
How to read this issue of THE BeZINE: You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents or you can click HERE and scroll through the entire Zine.
“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.” ― bell hooks, Killing Rage: Ending Racism
“There are times when so much talk or writing, so many ideas seem to stand in the way, to block the awareness that for the oppressed, the exploited, the dominated, domination is not just a subject for radical discourse, for books. It is about pain–the pain of hunger, the pain of over-work, the pain of degradation and dehumanization, the pain of loneliness, the pain of loss, the pain of isolation, the pain of exile… Even before the words, we remember the pain.” ― bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
“In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.” ― Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
 In support of these, The BeZine blog has been posting about the Climate Crisis, and will continue to do so throughout September (2019), in addition to our Sustainability Issue this past Summer [back].
The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be (the subscription feature is below and to your left.)
Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People
The Zeitgeist of Resistance—a Historical River Flowing
Justice is a historical river flowing to us, around us, and through us, toward freedom. The river’s current, like our current Zeitgeist, is one of resistance. In times of extreme injustice(s), people rise. This issue of The BeZine dedicated to Social Justice brings you some of the history and much of our Zeitgeist of resistance.
You will read about the current White House occupant, the state of race and gender relations, economic disparity, oppression, and more that disturbs us in our time. However, coming to The BeZine from unrelated directions—some invited, some offered, some come across by seeming chance—history has sent reminders to us that we are not alone. Others have lived in times of extreme injustice(s). And people rose up to defy and resist injustice, in the name of freedom. This river of historical struggle for justice can help sustain us in our resistance to the flood of today’s injustice(s).
The ongoing history of resistance certainly underlies the choices of music in a new album by New York guitarist Marc Ribot—Songs of Resistance 1942–2018. Ribot brings together songs from the Italian resistance, the Civil Right Movement, and new songs protesting Donald Trump—reminding us that movements need songs, and that fascism has been defeated in the past. Yes, also that we are in its shadow once again, and we have yet to get our race relations straightened out. In this issue, you can read more about the record, officially released Friday (September 14, 2018), and hear a cut from that album, with Tom Waits vocalizing Bella Ciao, an anthem of the Italian partisans.
While Marc Ribot chronicles this recent stream of freedom songs, Tamar Tracy Moncur’s poem in this issue sings of the problems facing the U.S. (and the world, I hasten to add), but reminds us that “America Still Sings of Freedom,” its title and chorus. Two poets, Michael C. Odiah and Joseph Hesch, sing to us about slavery. Odiah marks the continued echoes and reverberations of slavery today. Hesch touches on those, but in light of the Civil War—asking us if we don’t risk seeing the sacrifice of life during that bloody conflict negated as we witness democracy evaporating around us and a rise of white nationalism. Linda E. Chown sings about the mid-Twentieth Century fight against fascism in a poem about Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, aka “La Pasionaria,” a Spanish Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War. In another poem by Chown, the speaker returns to Spain in 1988, after Franco’s death. Chown’s third poem in this issue shows McCarthyism, the tactics of which continually float up in the flood of our time.
Word War II comes up in this historical river, also, in two essays in our Be the Peace section. A British Officer from World War I had a spiritual experience, so the story goes, that led him to propose during the Second World War that people in the U.K. take a minute of silence for prayer or meditation to help end—and win—the war, but more broadly, for a lasting peace. His effort was quite successful, gaining the support of the King of England and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. You can read about the Silent Minute’s history in John Anstie’s recounting, and about a recent movement to bring it back for the resistance in Lynne Salomon Miceli’s account of her own efforts.
These historical streams come together for our issue in what I have been calling a historical river at a time when the present overwhelms us and floods our sensibilities. How can we resist? How can we find peace and social justice while preserving the environment in the face of an administration that seems bent on shredding all of those apart like a level-5 hurricane stalled out just offshore? How can we protect children torn from their parents, denied health care, and deprived of a reasonable future (theirs being stolen from them in the present)? These questions help to define the Zeitgeist. The historical river perhaps offers some answers in its rushing water.
Slaves survived, rose up (see the history of Haiti), and while they often got beaten down, eventually others joined in a movement that abolished slavery. Yes, we have a long way to go to heal from that terrible injustice and to resolve the racist legacy of colonialist slave-holding mentality institutionalized throughout the West, but people continue to rise to the challenge and struggle toward equality and justice. Yes, Black Lives Matter!
The partisans fought the fascists, lost many battles (and the Spanish Civil War), but also won—Hitler and Mussolini fell, defeated. Stalin may have continued, Western Imperialism may have shifted into Capitalist Imperialism, its center moving from Western empires to a global military-industrial complex held up by the remnants of those empires—but the tide went against the fascists. Democracy—real democracy, not “open markets”—still has a chance.
And yes, we now stand with fascist flood-waters rising again, using anti-immigrant, nationalistic rhetoric throughout the world to once more inflame conflict and division. Yet, people are calling it by name, and many are saying: “No.” Despite the bleakness of the picture, people are rising up—more than ever, louder than ever, on social media, and in protests on the streets. We are filling the sandbags against the flood.
Most importantly, in the U.S., women and people of color are standing for election as progressives and winning elections. Incumbents who have not stood up to the current U.S. administration’s anti-democratic policies have fallen to new-comers / outsiders who proudly project progressive values and propose progressive policies in opposition to that administration. We don’t yet know where this will lead for the mid-terms, but the weather vanes seem to be pointed toward hope. Change can’t wait!
I hope, we at The BeZine hope, that the forces of social justice, peace, and (economic and environmental) sustainability will win and lead to freedom for all. And to get there, deb y felio reminds us that community action is the collective action of individuals. Each one of us must act, personally, for the community to function. Corina Ravenscraft opens the Be the Peace section on a similar theme, with some helpful hints for how to maintain our own peacefulness in these times.
The writers in this issue call out injustice, but they also offer us reasons to believe that we who believe in democracy and equality, who focus on humanity and our living planet, can prevail. The words we bring you with this issue come as songs along a river of resistance history, with concern for social justice, peace, and sustainability, tuned to melodies that harmonize with the song(s) of freedom.
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor
Jerusalem, 14 September 2018
I’ve observed in the spiritual practice of various Indian traditions that “shanti”—the Sanskrit word for peace—is invoked three times in prayer and chant.
I learned from a friend that the first invocation is about making peace with ourselves. The thought is that we cannot make peace with and in the world without inner peace.
The second invocation is about making peace with – embracing – the human community, from our family, friends, neighbors and our smaller communities to the greater global family.
The third invocation is about making peace with nature.
Thus we have three spheres of peace action: personal, social, and the natural world.
For the personal, Corina Ravenscraft offers suggestions for balance, Miki Byrne gives insight into mental anguish, and Changming Yuan’s brilliant metaphysical gift to us presents the complex interplay of elements in the search for self and truth. Kerry Darbishire and Miki Byrne call our attention to forgiveness, letting go, and accepting the gift of love. Tricia Knoll and Joseph Hesch suggest healing, the former through love and the latter through art.
The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi and Paul Fullmer beautifully and wisely address our pathway to peace in the context of the social sphere. John Anstie and Lynne Salomon Miceli propose shared silent moment as a means to unify in a profound way, especially with the Silent Minute, borrowed from WWII England.
Our connection to nature is featured in Wabi Sabi, and in Anne Myers’ The Other World.
Yes to Blue
The work on this issue has been thoroughly enjoyable and made the more so by Michael Dickel’s genius, commitment, and hard work. This issue would not be half as good without him. His dedication each year to taking the lead on the September issue and on our virtual 100,000 Poets for Change on the fourth Saturday of September is the more remarkable because these always coincide with Jewish holy days, a busy time for him.
For my part, our editorial collaborations are fun and a delightful change of pace from the solitary endeavors of writing and poetry. I am in California and Michael is in Israel, so the back-and-forth of things is probably not as fluid and detailed as it might be under other circumstances, but there is an editorial flow, a sorting, strategizing, tossing, absorbing, updating, and always struggling with tech challenges (I struggle, Michael saves). Jim Haba‘s poem, Yes to Blue, rather captures the feel of it all…
Yes to blue after trying to separate green from yellow and hoping that everything will get simpler each time you bring an idea closer to the light which is always changing always being born day after day again and again now
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”Bryan Stevenson
The world is rife with injustices that call for our attention and there are many social justice initiatives that bring people together to raise awareness, right wrongs, and offer sucor to the torn and weary.
PROMOTING SOCIAL JUSTICE
While the daily news feeds our sadness, fears and hopelessness, you and I are a reason for joy. If you are reading this, it is likely that you are one of the millions of old souls whose natural instinct is for justice and respect.
There is joy in the fact that so many of us live in a time and place were we can put out a call for solidarity, a call to move on to right and just action. Therein lies our hope and grace and our ability to keep on keeping on.
What an extraordinary thing it is that we have the means, the inner sight, the backbone, and passion for this good work. My hope and strength comes from the poets, writers, artists, clerics, and readers of every type and from every corner of the world who come together virtually for each edition of the The BeZine, for the yearly 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change, Global, for those who will join in Rev. Terri Stewart’s (Beguine Again and The BeZine) Unite with Might initiative, for the Abuelas (Grandmothers) caravaning to the Mexican Border to support the families crossing into the U.S., and for the many peace and social justice efforts that go on all over the world, even in the darkest places where preaching justice to power invites imprisonment, torture and death.
– Jamie Dedes
UNITE WITH MIGHT
“We are uniting together to stand against hate and to promote hope, love, and inclusion for all of our neighbors.
“Sometimes it seems that there is so much hatred in the world that it is impossible to know what to do next. But changing hate to hope, loneliness to love, paranoia to peace, isolation to inclusion, starts with us. The beloved community. We are mighty when united for causes that uplift the values of hope, love, and inclusion. Hence the name, Unite with Might.
“On August 11 and 12, Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, leaders of the alt-right movement (Unite the Right) that marched in Charlottesville, VA, are having a rally in Washington, D.C. and hope to also rally again in Charlottesville, VA, where a young woman, Heather Heyer, was killed by alt-right marchers.”
Washington, D.C., National Parks Service has approved the alt-right’s permit to gather.
In my faith tradition, the table is where everyone is welcome, included, and finds connection to the ineffable mystery beyond our understanding. And so we propose gathering around food. This is a different kind of gathering. A gathering in each of our communities and each of our homes that opens our doors and hearts to everyone.
Churches, Synagogues, Masjids, and other Religious & Cultural Communities!! Hold picnics and BBQ’s! Read prayers of inclusion!
Cities, towns, and counties! Make statements of inclusion for all citizens!
Schools! Ensure that your students know that hate speech is unwelcome and teach them the hard parts of history!
Families! Discuss the history of white supremacy with your children!
Bloggers! Splash the world with a voice that proclaims that this is a new day!
Make a public stand that the alt-right will not win the day. Love always wins.
Please sign on and let us know if you will be holding an event or making a public statement or declaration where the values of hope, love, and inclusion will be uplifted. We must let the world know that hate will not win! And that our numbers are much stronger than the puny amount they expect to rally. We are strong together! Mighty! #UniteWithMight !
Note: We are hosting a virtual Unite with Might event at The BeZine on August 11 and 12. You’ll be able to post thoughts, activies, videos, art, poetry – whatever can go into a comment. This will enable your support and participation even if there is no event accessible near you. It will also allow you to share what you are doing with others in Unite with Might. / Jamie Dedes
ORGANIZING AROUND PEACE, JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY
“100 Thousand Poets for Change thrives because we organize around something other than our literary careers, something more than our recent publications. 100 Thousand Poets for Change thrives because we organize around peace, justice and sustainability, and we have set our priorities. Immigration, gender inequality, global warming, police brutality, censorship, homelessness, war are among those priorities. 100 Thousand Poets for Change thrives because we know it is essential to build a global community that will work together to make a better world, a global community which will exchange information to make us smarter and more informed about the needs that exist beyond our own bubble, and to learn new strategies from our friends around the world, to make us better organizers who can build that better world. We write, we demonstrate, we rally, we create, we raise funds for homeless and assist food banks, we are engaged… [because so many] are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to make good things happen. Will you join us? If so, connect with us on our Facebook Page and register at 100tcp.org.” Michael Rothenberg
Note: Don’t forget that on September 29, Saturday, we’ll host a virtual 100tpc at The BeZine. American Israeli poet, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play and The BeZine) will officiate. / J.D.
In 2011, Michael Rothenberg and his partner Terri Carrion co-founded 100 Thousand Poets for Change [100tpc], a global poetry and arts movement with an emphasis on peace, justice, sustainability and education.
100tpc assists poets and artists around the world in organizing and planning events in their local communities, which promote social, environmental, and political change. Over 500 events take place in 100 countries each year. Events include poetry readings, music and dance concerts, art exhibits, art and activism workshops and street demonstrations.
100 Thousand Poets for Change is an annual event but 100 Thousand Poets for Change activities take place year round.
ABUELAS RESPONDEN / GRANNIES RESPOND
The abuelas are asking what you are willing to sacrifice now that the most vulnerable are threatened by violence, separation, and hate. They are calling on women and men to come out and caravan with them to the Mexican Border to protest the abuses there. Details HERE.
If you are viewing this post from an email subscription you’ll likely have to link through to the site to see this video.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
In 2011, The Bardo Group Beguines (The BeZine and Beguine Again) collected poems and other works that addressed the need for, the desire for, and prospective paths toward peace. We were inspired by a global movement that was founded by poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion called 100,000 Poets for Change.
The following year we connected with that global movement and hosted a virtual 100,000 Poets for Change so that folks from anywhere in the world could participate in this extraordinary event even if they were homebound or if there was no event being hosted in their area. It wasn’t long before drummers, mimes, musicians, artists and clergy joined this global initiative. Followers and supporters included people who aren’t in the arts but appreciate the power of the arts to raise the collective consciousness and to foster sensible and compassionate action and policy.
SAVE THE DATES
This year The BeZine September issue (September 15) will be devoted to social justice and on Saturday, September 29, we’ll host 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change on The BeZine site in concert with off-line efforts to be sponsored by communities all over the world.
Today I share a message Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion asked me to post for you:
“100 Thousand Poets for Change began in 2011. It was an initiative that spread by word of mouth across the globe.
“Poets in nearly 100 countries around the world expressed their outrage at war, ecocide, gender inequality, police brutality and a slew of other issues that were not being addressed. Up to then, poets as a community had been fragmented and silenced by the corporatization of the arts and peer pressure that insisted poetry should not be political, that poetry and art did not matter in changing the world.
“Now, 8 years later, it has been regularly demonstrated that poetry and the rest of the arts are a powerful resource in broadcasting the need for positive change. This could be in a very small part because of the effect of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
“However, I believe that, mostly, there was a paradigm shift in regard to the need for protest and engagement in the world. Many individuals and organizations came to the realization that silence is complicity.
“Today you can hear voices raised against injustice everywhere. It has become part of the curriculum. But sadly, it seems that these voices are not loud enough or strong enough, that although the poetry community has unified in many ways and pushed forward in expressing opposition to injustice, situations have gotten worse.
“War continues and expands, militarization continues and expands, children are gunned down in schools, neo-nazis and white supremacists are emboldened, gender inequality is still the norm, and at this very moment we are witnessing a country that professes to be the most democratic and freest country in the world, the USA, tearing children out of the arms of their parents and putting them in cages as part of their immigration policy.
“My heart is broken.
“Some days, I feel like disconnecting entirely from the horrifying news. I can hardly stand to hear it any longer. But then there are the poets and artists who keep up the fight, who continue to speak out, the beautiful souls who refuse to be broken, and go on against all odds.
“So I go on.
“September 29 is the next global 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day. I am convinced this is an initiative worth continuing. Poets and artists must continue to rally and bond, connect, create and speak out in unison against the daily horrors. For each other and for our very own sanity, we must continue and grow.
“The 100 Thousand Poets for Change initiative saves me and keeps me focused and sane.
“I invite you to join hundreds, maybe hundreds of thousands, of other poets globally on this day, September 29, to gather and unify. If you can’t organize on September 29, pick any other day in September or October and let me know where and when you will organize.
“I will spread word of your event to the global poetry community for change, and together we can be empowered to re-write the narrative of civilization to a sustainable alternative. There is strength in numbers. Together we can raise our voices for peace.
“And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).
“Each [hu]man’s step forward is a step forward for all of [hu]mankind.” the great white* brotherhood
* “white” here is not a reference to race but to the Aura of White Light that surrounds the anointed ones, those who have arisen from every race, creed and walk of life to lead others to enlightenment.
Since 2011, 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) has worked with poets, writers, artists, musicians and other creatives to help organize events around the world for peace, justice and sustainability.
Now, more than ever mobilization is crucial. Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, cofounders of 100TPC, have created a GLOBAL ACTION CALENDAR open to EVERYONE to post Creative Actions around the world. Michael and Terri continue to emphasize the need for INCLUSIVITY and true DIVERSITY in our global network.
They hope this calendar will help people connect and give access to those who are often marginalized in our creative communities.
So many of you are doing so much. Thank you! and thanks to Michael and Terri.
Welcome to The BeZine’s online,
virtual 100,000 Poets for Change event!
This past week, an international aid convoy in Syria was attacked with devastating results, during a ceasefire. Bombs went off, as usual, in Iraq. They also went off in New Jersey and New York. There were terrorist knife attacks in Jerusalem. And knife attacks also in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Police shot (at least) two unarmed African-Americans in the United States. Police shot “terror suspects” in Israel. Iran arrested dissidents. China gave a dissident’s attorney a 12-year sentence.
Climate change has reduced the arctic ice sheets at record levels, this summer just ended. The Fertile Crescent, where Western civilization began, has suffered such a devastating drought that farmers have fled it for years now—a contributing cause to the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis. The hardened, drought-stricken soil in the region, broken up by heavy war-machinery, artillery shelling, and bombs, has turned into dust that the wind picks up—a contributing cause of record dust storms throughout the region.
It is time for global change
For the past six years, 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) has inspired and supported events on a Saturday in September. This year, there are over 550 events scheduled throughout the world. This blog/zine is one of them. The goal is for poets (artists, musicians, actors, even mimes) to band together and perform / exhibit their work in a call to change the world for the better.
The 100TPC themes are peace, sustainability, and social justice. The September 2016 issue of The BeZine, edited by Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, focuses on environmental justice. This focus relates to social justice and sustainability, but is a necessary part of obtaining peace.
If we still have poverty and homelessness, what is sustained other than inequality? And, without social justice and a sustainable environment, could there be peace? Could peace be maintained without both social and environmental justice alongside environmental and economic sustainability?
Share your work here, today, as part of our 100TPC online event—help us create a space for change. As in past years, the event will be archived and made available later on The BeZine’s website and will also be archived at Standford University in California.
Here’s how to post your work
For today’s online event, our choice is not to put one of the three themes—peace, sustainability, and social justice—above the others, but to recognize that all of these three necessary areas of change interrelate in complex ways.
We invite you to participate. Share your writing, art, music, videos, thoughts that relate to these themes on our website today.
It’s actually easy to do.
Click on Mr. Linky below and follow instructions for posting a link to a post on your blog:
You can also post a link or writing directly into the comments below!
Come back during the day
Please return often today (Sept. 24, 2016) to read what others have posted, follow links, like, and leave comments—and to see and reply to what others have commented on your own posts and links. We would love to see an active dialogue!
Here’s the good news: There are thousands of peace-loving, peace-living artists who gather in solidarity in some 120 countries around the world each year on the fourth Saturday of September and who connect and continue to work and stay connected even after the main event is over. The main event is 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC), which is in its sixth year.
If we were rioting in 120 countries, for sure you’d see us on CNN, but we bare witness to the desire for and possibility of peace and apparently that doesn’t qualify as news: won’t get the adrenalin going, won’t sell laundry soap, won’t create division among us so that the wealthy and powerful can use us for their own ends. The world in all its strife is left to learn about 100TPC through social media. So be it …
THE BACK STORY:
I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I imagine that 100 Thousand Poets for Change founders, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion (both of Big Bridge Press), were having dinner one night – maybe with some other poets and some artists and musicians – contemplating the state of the world, the disconnection among communities and nations and trying to think of some way to connect positively, to come together in the service of shared ideals such as harmony, stewardship and compassion. And so it happened that in 2011, Michael put out a call on Facebook for 100,000 Poets for Change and a movement was born. If memory serves there were 700 events held simultaneously around the world that first September.
Michael and Terri recently stated that peace and sustainability …
. . . are major concerns worldwide and the guiding principles for this global event. All participants hope, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability. We are living in a world where it isn’t just one issue that needs to be addressed. A common ground is built through this global compilation of local stories, which is how we create a true narrative for discourse to inform the future . . .
“What kind of change are we talking about? The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity.”
What started as a poets’ event now includes artists, photographers, musicians, drummers, mimes, dancers, arts lovers and other peacemakers.
Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion created a website where anyone who wanted to organize an event could register. It is to this site that you may go to register an event or to find an event in your area. If you want to organize an event and it sounds rather onerous to you, keep in mind that while an event might be big and attended by many in a park or town square, it might also be a small gathering of like-minded artists at your home or a local cafe. I organized The BeZine 100TPC virtual event because I am largely home bound and assume there are others out there like me who would like to participate in 100TPC but would find it difficult to spend the day out. This virtual event also gives people anywhere a place to participant in 100TPC if there is no event scheduled in their vicinity. So just use your imagination and be creative about this. You might dedicate a book club meeting to it or an afternoon at church. This year, Terri Stewart (Beguine Again and The BeZine) has organized a peacemaking circle to be held at her church in Seattle. Bravo!
Organizers generally make flyers for their events. These are often small works of art. Depending on religious or national holidays, in some countries the events are held on days other than the fourth Saturday of September. In other countries – Morocco is one – events are held monthly. The main consistency is spirit and shared vision.
THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, virtual event
The BeZine 100,000 Poets for Change will start on September 15th with our September issue. Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) is the lead for that issue. The theme is Environment and Environmental Justice, which is our chosen theme for 100TPC 2016. If you’d like to submit work on topic for that issue, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please review submission guidelines first.
Our 100TPC event is hosted from our blog. The post will go up at 12 a.m. PST on September 24 and you can begin including work immediately using either the comments section or Mister Linkey. Direction will be included in the content of the post. American-Israeli Michael Dickel (Fragments of Michael Dickel) is the Master of Ceremonies again this year. He does a fabulous job of it and will keep the action and commentary running via the comments section. You are encouraged to share your own work and to read the work of others. I’ll be on hand to give Michael breaks and to keep the dialog going until midnight PST – California. Ultimately all work shared is archived on site and at Standford University. Please keep in mind, that this is not just for poetry. You can share appropriately themed fiction, music video, creative nonfiction – whatever can be shared in a comment. Long pieces can be shared by putting in the url link to your work on your blog or website.
To help get you going, we’ll do 100TPC writing prompts at The Poet by Day (on Wednesdays, August 23 and August 31, so that you can begin working on something for September 24. Comments will be open for sharing and you what you share doesn’t have to be poetry. It can be flash fiction, creative nonfiction – even a video, photograph or piece of art if you want to share it in advance.
100,000 PEACEMAKERS FOR CHANGE, Seattle, WA
This event is organized by The Bardo Group Beguines‘ Rev. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again and The BeZine) at Riverton Park United Methodist Church, 3118 S 140th Street, Tukwilia, Washington 98168 on Saturday, September 24th, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. with a social gathering after from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Terri will lead a peacemaking circle that will focus on earth justice. She says, “We want to make a public witness of peace and peace for the earth. Hope to see you there!” The Facebook Page for this event is HERE.
That same afternoon there will also be a food drive in process at Riverton for the Tukewila Pantry Emergency Food Bank and donations of food or money are welcome. Here is the wish list if you are able to help:
Remember, wherever you are in the world, go to 100TPC to find an event in your area or to register to hold one and no matter where you are, you can also participate in The BeZine’s 100TPC virtual event.
I thought it would be nice if we all had a list of charitable organizations that assist refugees and others living in compromised situations to easily share on our Facebook Pages and our blogs and so forth. I took some time to gather the info. Nonetheless, I’m sure I’ve left some worthy organizations out. If anyone knows of an organization that should be included, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll keep track for an update sometime in the future. Meanwhile, you can also check on a charity’s performance record at: Charity Navigator. So if inclined please do download this and feel free to share anywhere you feel it’s warranted, maybe even on employee, union and/or church affiliated sites. J.D.
I “met” Terri Stewart online in 2011 when I visited her blog Beguine Again, which at that time was entitled Cloaked Monk. “Beguine” Again – after the Beguines, a lay semi-monastic Christian order of the 13th-16th centuries in Northern Europe. It was committed to – among other things – caring for the sick and the poor.
I was impressed with Terri’s commitment to spiritual ritual and her openness to the wisdom and beauty in religious traditions, including traditions other than her own. I valued her respect for diversity, both social and spiritual, so I eventually invited her to become the Sunday Chaplain for what was then a blog entitled Into the Bardo.
Since that time, we’ve evolved into a group (The Bardo Group) of clerics and poets, writers and other creatives representing varied traditions and cultures and sharing the core values of respect and nonviolence. We work in the interest of peace, sustainability and social justice. We publish The BeZine. Our thirteenth issue comes out on November 15th. The theme is At-risk Youth. Terri is taking the lead for that issue, making this the perfect time for readers and colleagues to get to know her better. Hence this interview … Enjoy!
Jamie: I have a sense that you were committed to social justice long before you decided to study theology and become a minister. Is that correct? What was the stimulus and what was the first project on which you worked?
Terri: When I first joined the church in 2001, I was looking for a connection to community. What I discovered was inequality in the church and an avoidance of social issues that drove wedges between people. It was like that uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner. Everybody is at the table, but only a few were allowed at the grown-up’s table. And! disagreements were glossed over for the sake of unity.
My biggest issue with the church was its lack of inclusion for LGBTQIAP individuals. In response to that, and as a mirror of the greater structure of the United Methodist Church (UMC) world-wide church, I founded the Church & Society committee. This was an attempt to get people talking and to be able to step into social issue learning and leadership. I soon found myself embroiled in controversy as two issues marched through Washington state. In 2004, there was a church trial in the town next to my home town that was an attempt to defrock a lesbian pastor. Also, just prior to the trial, I was involved in a march on the capitol in Olympia for marriage equality.
The upshot was that I was yelled at like I was a child! “Are you trying to destroy the church?”
As my first forays into social justice was basically full inclusion for LGBTQIAP individuals within the UMC church, I would count myself unsuccessful. The UMC church continues to have harmful language in its official rulebook (the ominously named Book of Discipline). I continue to advocate and am on the national board of Reconciling Ministries Network. Our goal has been full inclusion. I think we are beginning to realize that we need a second goal, that of creating safe space.
Also! At the same time this was all swirling around, I started volunteering with Kairos Prison Ministry in 2003. Kairos provides spiritual renewal retreats within the prison setting. Working with Kairos (Ancient Greek for “the right time” as opposed to chronos which is “watch time”) started me on a path towards understanding the full systems that impact the lives of those who are incarcerated.
Jamie: How and when did the focus transition to incarcerated youth? What is the most important thing you would like us to understand about the youth being served?
Terri: As I worked with Kairos, I started out working with incarcerated men. Then with incarcerated women. And then with women whose loved ones were incarcerated. I worked my way into leadership positions. Eventually, we thought, “What about youth whose loved ones are incarcerated?” So we wrote a program just for them.
At the same time, I was called into ordained ministry. I went to seminary. In my second year of seminary, I was required to do an internship. My internship was at the King County Youth Detention Center (KCJDC), Seattle, Washington. I basically never left.
The thing to know about the youth at KCJDC and at the state level institutions I serve, is that they are traumatized youth. The average ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score for incarcerated youth is 92 out of 100. Most of us would be in therapy with that high of a score! Instead, these youth are incarcerated. We could change that by having trauma informed teaching practices in communities where generational trauma has occurred or by having mental health centers with trauma treatment available. Destigmatizing therapy would be grand!
Jamie:Tell us about Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, how other ministers may get involved and what the public can do to help.
Terri: The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition developed out of my internship at KCJDC. We realized that there was a need to organize, train, and supervise religious volunteers so that the youth would get the best care possible.
While we started at KCJDC, we now are state-wide. I run a mentoring program called MAP that aids youth in developing transition plans for when they go home. Since the kids go home all over Washington, I need volunteers in every city!
My dream is to teach people across the world how the MAP program works and how easy it is to walk with those affected by incarceration. There is also a training called “Healing Communities” that teaches communities how to use their gifts in aid of those affected by incarceration. If every church was a Healing Community and every city had trained mentors, we could transform the world! Well, we could at least change one child’s life. If you want to be involved or talk to me, you can email me at YCC-Chaplain@thechurchcouncil.org
My biggest need is financial support. I take a very small stipend and am responsible for all my own fundraising needs. I often make decisions this way, “Should I do my work today? Or should I do fundraising today?” Although I should view fundraising as work, I often give it a lower prioritization! So donations would be especially appreciated. I persuaded the Church Council of Greater Seattle to adopt the organization so we are a legit 501c3 and we have an accountant doing all the financial stuff! That is a great gift to me!
Donations can be sent to:
Youth Chaplaincy Coalition
PO Box 18467
Seattle, WA 98118
Be sure and put YCC or Youth Chaplaincy on the memo line.
Jamie:What made you decide to go into ministry? What is the most rewarding aspect of that commitment?
Terri: When I first experienced a call to ministry, I thought I was going bananas. My first reaction was, “Who me?” or “I must be over-tired!” The call I experienced felt like a direct communication from the Divine telling me to go deeper. As I went deeper into understanding the call of ministry, I discovered it was a call to ordained ministry.
The most rewarding part of the commitment to a sacramental ministry is when I see a person’s eyes light up with the understanding that they are, indeed, holy and good—a living sacrament.
Jamie:Tell us about “cloaked monk” and the place of ritual in our lives.
The Cloaked Monk developed out of a commitment to daily spiritual practices in ordinary life (the monk part) and that I was kind of disguised—like wearing a cloak!
I believe that ritual marks out sacramentality in our daily lives. Sacramentality is that connection to one another and to the Divine. It is a way of marking time that moves away from chronological time (Greek: chronos) and into marking the fullness of time (Greek: kairos). It also allows us to fully be present without living in the past or rushing into the future. This is especially important in our transient age of moving here and there faster and faster. Rituals grounded in generational practices connect us through time and space to another age. There is also the place for new rituals created that uplift new and modern experiences that our ancestors would never have imagined. They can be a celebration, a grounding, a remembering, or a lament.
The ancient Celts had thin places. They were places that the veil between the earth and beyond seem especially vulnerable to one another. Places where the things of heaven could pass to the earth and where things of the earth could pass to heaven. Stonehenge is one such place. Or labyrinths. Ritual, when it is meaningful, creates this thin place.
Jamie: Why should readers care about people and issues that don’t seem to touch their lives directly?
Terri: Unfortunately, it seems that issues of justice and mercy do not intersect with ordinary lives. Incarceration seems far away from us. Refugees in Syria seem far away. Violence in Palestine seems so very far away. But it all tangles together like my bag of knitting yarn. I am a very poor knitter. My yarns always get tangled and I don’t know what to do. And when it is in my bag, it will suck in all the other little things in there! Resources or things I might need become tangled up in the yarn. Those are resources that I need. They might be resources that others need.
In Washington, we spend about $9,600 per student to educate them. We spend about $45,000 per prisoner to incarcerate them. What we know is that by reading scores in the 4th grade, we can predict incarceration rates because we do not fully fund our schools. What if we were able to direct our resources into education? All students would benefit.
I imagine that it is like boats rising in a tide. A rising tide raises all boats. Yours, mine, everyone’s!
Behind the scenes we’re working to pull together the wealth of insight and artistry shared for 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change into a commemorative page, the content of which will also be archived at Stanford University, Stanford, California. Thank you to all who contributed, read, commented, shared links and supported this worthwhile effort here as a virtual event or in one of some 500 cities around the world.
While the big event is over for this year, the goals are ongoing as this video indicates. The work for Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice is a never-ending journey. So the question each one of us asks ourselves is what next? What action can I take? What small part of the big project can I take on? It is, after all, up to each of us to “be the change.”
We have decided to continue with our 100TPC Facebook group discussion page. Let us know if you are interested in being part of that. This year our theme was poverty. The environment and environmental justice are themes for 2016. Your input to that is welcome.
Welcome to the 5th year of 100,000 Poets (Musicians, Artists, Mimes…) for Change, and the 2015 edition of The BeZine Online 100TPC Event!If you’ve done this before and you know the score, skip to the comments or Mister Linky at the bottom of the post and begin. If you are wondering, hey, what are you folks up to then check out some serious non-fiction here:
Our mission here today as poets, writers, artists, photographers, musicians and friends is a sort-of fission for change—a burning with and expression of the desire for peace, environmental and economic sustainability, social justice, inclusion, equity and opportunity for all. We seek through our art to do a bit of old-fashioned consciousness raising, to stimulate thought and action leading to the kind of change that is sustainable, compassionate and just, and to engage in the important theme of the issues facing humanity today—but all with a goal to alleviate suffering and foster peace. We don’t want to just “talk about it,” we want words, art and music that help us take action in some way for positive change wherever we are in our lives, in our world.
We see a complex inter-woven relationship between peace, sustainability, and social justice. We all recognize that when people are marginalized and disenfranchised, when they are effectively barred from opportunities for education and viable employment, when they can’t feed themselves or their families or are used as slave labor, there will inevitably be a backlash, and we’re seeing that now in violent conflicts, wars and dislocation. Climatologists have also linked climate change, with its severe weather changes and recent droughts, to the rise violence in the world, and even contributing to inequities in areas – like Syria – where a severe drought destabilized food production and the economy, contributing to the unrest that led to the civil war, according to one study.
There are too many people living on the streets and in refugee camps, too many whose lives are at subsistence level, too many children who die before the age of five (as many as four a minute dying from hunger, according to one reliable study—more info), too many youth walking through life with no education, no jobs and no hope. It can’t end well…
More than anything, our mission is a call to action, a call to work in your own communities where ever you are in the world, and to focus on the pressing local issues that contribute to conflict, injustice, and unsustainable economic and environmental practices. The kind of change we need may well have to be from the ground up, all of us working together to create peaceful, sustainable and just cultures that nurture the best in all the peoples of this world.
Poverty and homelessness are evergreen issues historically, but issues also embedded in social and political complexity. They benefit the rich, whose economic system keeps most of the rest of us as, at best, “wage slaves,” and all too many of us in poverty, without enough to provide for basic needs or housing (including the “working poor,” who hold low-paying jobs while CEOs are paid record-breaking salaries and bonuses in the global capitalist system). We are united in our cries against the structures of injustice, where the rich act as demigods and demagogues. We have to ask of what use will all their riches be in the face of this inconceivable suffering and the inevitable backlash from the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need fairness, not greed.
So, with this mission in mind, and with the complexity of the interrelationships of social justice, sustainability and peace as a framework, we focus on hunger and poverty, two basic issues and major threads in the system of inequality and injustice that need addressing throughout the world.
We look forward to what you have to share, whether the form is poetry, essay, fiction, art, photography, documentary, music, or hybrids of any of these—and we want to engage in an ongoing conversation through your comments on all of the above as you not only share your own work here today but visit and enjoy the work of others, supporting one another with your “likes” and comments, starting or entering into dialogues with writers, artists and musicians throughout the world and online viewers, readers, listeners.
Think globally, act locally, form community.
—Michael Dickel, Jerusalem (with G. Jamie Dedes, California, USA)
DIRECTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION
Share links to your relevant work or that of others in a comment or by using Mister Linky below. To use Mr. Linky, just click on the graphic. (Note: If you are sharing someone else’s work, please use your name in Mister Linky, so we can credit you as the contributor—we will give the author / artist name in the comments, from the link when we post the link in a comment.)
You may leave your links or works in the comment section below this post. If you are sharing the work of another poet or artist, however, please only use a link and not the work itself.
In addition to sharing, we encourage you to visit others and make connections and conversation. To visit the links, click on Mr. Linky (the Mister Linky graphic above) and then on the links you see there. (Some Mr. Linky-links can be viewed in the comments section after we re-post them.)
All links will be collected into a dedicated Page here at The BeZine and also archived at 100TPC.
Thank you for your participation. Let the conversation begin …
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” ~Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Trevor Hudson, in his book A Mile in My Shoes, describes living daily life as living daily pilgrimage into the suffering of others. Life as a daily pilgrimage includes:
I was thinking of this as I was pondering the great tragedy that is taking place in Syria. Bodies are washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean of little children and families fleeing. It is simply horrifying. An excellent explanation of what is happening is here.
About 6 years ago, when I first started working at the juvenile detention center, I was playing cards with some boys in the detention center. As we played games, the boys were sharing their stories. One of the boys happened to be from Syria. He left Syria and moved to the states after seeing his parents murdered in front of him. He came here to live with his auntie. He could barely read or write. He was in detention for violent behavior. Imagine that. He had anger issues. I thought it was horrifying then. It seems it just keeps on getting worse.
Trevor Hudson would have us travel into the suffering as a pilgrim, not as a voyeur or as a consumer, but as a sacred journey. Being present to pain. Listening to their stories without imposing outside values. And noticing. Noticing who they are. Sometimes that is the most sacred gift of all. I think on that day years ago, for that young man from Syria, that is what he longed for. Simply to be noticed.
Maybe this Sabbath day we can take a moment and be present to those who suffer near us. Take a pilgrimage with them–a sacred journey into the heart.