The BeZine, Sept. 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 3, Theme: Social Justice

Sunspot—May Peace Prevail on Earth (3 languages)
Digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

Social Justice

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


Features

A Village of One, deb y felio
The Match from Hell, Naomi Baltuck
Bella Ciao from Songs of Resistance 1942–2018, Marc Ribot and Tom Waits


poetry

Sepia — a poem, a controversy…, Karen Alkalay-Gut
Gibberish Jewel, Pat Berryhill
What they said, Linda E. Chown
Coming Back: Franco not here no more, 1988, Linda E. Chown
McCarthy’s Girl, Linda E. Chown
Lazy Bums Vanish from Lazy Town, DeWitt Clinton
Elegy, deb y felio
Killer Angels, Better Angles, Joseph Hesch
Clouds, Irma
Gestures, Irma
Intertwined, Irma
Unlearning, Irma
even the most civilized …, Charles W Martin
gambling on social justice . . ., Charles W Martin
systemic social justice, Charles W Martin
Universal Credit, Frank McMahan
America Still Sings of Freedom, Tamam Tracy Moncur
Black November, Michael Odiah
Life, Michael C. Odiah


Flash fiction

Off the Trail of Consumer Capitalism, Michael Dickel
The Great Education Escape, Michael Dickel
The Flicker of Better Angels, Joseph Hesch


BE THE PEACE
The Three Spheres of Peace Action

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

(© Jim Haba, a poet, artist and teacher. Some may know him for running the Dodge Poetry Festival. My thanks to Jim for getting back to me so quickly with permission to use “Yes to Blue,” which is from Thirty-one Poems.)

So now, with love and gratitude for our indefatigable Michael Dickel, for all our wise contributors, our readers, and our dedicated core team, The Bardo Group Bequines…

In the spirit of peace, love (respect), and community, and
on behalf of The Bardo Group Bequines,

Jamie Dedes

The BeZine, Founding and Managing Editor


Personal

Find Your Balance to “Be the Peace”, Corina Ravenscraft
Dataism, Changming Yuan
Sunday People, Kerry Darbishire
Fear and the Mind, Miki Byrne
Sore Spots, Miki Byrne
Yours If You Will Take It, Miki Byrne
Potting Up the Peppermint, Tricia Knoll
Blessed Sacrament, Joseph Hesch


Social

What Does It Mean to Love Everyone?, Bkikkhu Bodhi
Being the Peace in Community, Paul Fullmer
The Silent Minute—a Brief History, John Anstie
Bringing Back the Silent Minute, Lynne Salomon Miceli


the natural world

Wabi Sabi, Jamie Dedes
The Other World, Anne Myles


CONNECT WITH US

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

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted every Sunday in Sunday Announcements on The Poet by Day.

ON THE SOCIAL JUSTICE FRONT: Terri Stewart, Michael Rothenberg, and American Grannies

“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

Rev. Terri Stewart, Associate Pastor at Riverton Park United Methodist Church

“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 !

Let us know your event or statement so we can see the results of our unity in its beautiful diversity by signing up at this link.

Our website is: www.UniteWithMight.com

Sincerely,
Rev. Terri Jane Stewart


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

I took this photo at Moe’s Books in Berkeley, CA. Michael is the gentleman in the hat and Terri is the lovely woman with the camera. Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion are cofounders of 100tpc. If you came up in the ’60s and especially if you are a Beat fan, you’ll recognize others in the photograph. / Jamie Dedes

“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.


– Jamie Dedes 

100,000 Poets (Artists/Musicians/Friends) for Change, for Raising the Collective Consciousness

“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.

I hope you’ll join us at the Zine in September.

Perhaps you’ll decide to host an event in your town or region. For details on that connect with Michael Rothenberg on Facebook or sign-up HERE.

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.

“We can do this!”

Love, Michael and Terri, 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

– Jamie Dedes

Millions for Prisoner Rights, March on Washington, Abolish Amendment 13






“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.

– Jamie Dedes

GLOBAL ACTION CALENDAR

Detail from Peace and Prosperity (1896), Elihu Vedder, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Detail from Peace and Prosperity (1896), Elihu Vedder, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

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.

Link HERE to post your event.

The photograph is in the public domain.

100TPC — 2016

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!

IF WE WERE RIOTING IN 120 COUNTRIES, YOU’D SEE US ON THE 6 P.M. NEWS: we’re not, so here’s everything you need to know about 100,000 Poets (and others) for Change

100TPC2014Logo

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.

The first night of the 100TPC World Conference in Salerno, Italy in 2015. Over 80 poets from 22 countries and 6 continents came together to share and to plan for the future of 100TPC
The first night of the 100TPC World Conference in Salerno, Italy in 2015. Over 80 poets from 22 countries and 6 continents came together to share and to plan for the future of 100TPC

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.

100TMC

100TAC

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Michael Rothenberg

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.

To keep up with 100TPC, check out the website for information and updates and connect with 100TPC on Facebook.

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 bardogroup@gmail.com. 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:

Canned Meats/Fish
Canned Vegetables
Canned Fruits
Canned Meals (i.e. stews, soups, spaghetti, chili, ravioli, etc.) Macaroni & Cheese
Dry or Canned Milk
Peanut Butter
Dry Goods (i.e. pastas, rice, beans, cold and hot cereals, baking mix, etc.)

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.

RELATED:

The BeZine 100TPC Commemorative Collection, 2014
The BeZine 100TPC Commemorative Collection, 2015
Michael Dickel’s report back from the Salerno Conference
The BeZine 100TPC Facebook discussion page

Help for Compromised Citizens of the World

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.

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Religious Community, Social Justice, Incarcerated Youth: An Interview with Terri Stewart

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!

Youth Chaplaincy Program Founder, Terri Stewart. Christmas at the King County Youth Detention Center, Seattle, Washington
Youth Chaplaincy Program Founder, Terri Stewart. Christmas at the King County Youth Detention Center, Seattle, Washington

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?”

Then, when I went to seminary, I chose a Jesuit (The Society of Jesus) institution. Liberation theology, post-colonial theology, process theology…all of these things continued to crack me open to the human condition and to the interconnectedness of all that is.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

© 2015, most words and all photographs, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

We have a goal …

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.

100TPC Event Today … Link in your poems, art, stories, film, music, videos for peace, sustainability and social justice with an emphasis on poverty and hunger

Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation<br/>Moshe Dekel (age 5)
Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation by Moshe Dekel (age 5)

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.

Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulged much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civial war and ISIS conflict
Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulfed much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civil war and ISIS conflict

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…

Syrian refugee camp, photo: The Telegraph
Syrian refugee camp
photo: The Telegraph

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.)

Thank you! 

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 …

Sabbath and Syria

by Terri Stewart (Beguine Again)

“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:

  • Being present,
  • Listening, and
  • Noticing

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.

Shalom,

terri

pilgrimage of the heart

100,000 Poets (and other artisits and friends) for Change, 2015: over 500 events scheduled around the globe

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These are busy days for Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion who founded 100,000 Poets for Change.  Michael announced yesterday that 500 events are now scheduled for September 26, 2015, the fifth anniversary of this global initiative for change; that is, for peace and sustainability.

For those who are just catching up with us100 Thousand Poets for Change, or 100TPC, is an international grassroots educational organization focusing on the arts, especially poetry, music, and the literary arts. It was founded in 2011 by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion and is centered on a world-wide event each September. This past June the first World Conference on 100TPC was held in Salerno, Italy.

There are also several offshoots cropping up: 100,000 Photographers for Change, 100,000 Drummers for Change … and so on. A little searching on Facebook and you’ll find them, though the umbrella for all,  100TPC, does include a range of artistic specialties and friends of the arts and is not limited to poets and poetry.

We – that is The Bardo Group and Beguine Again, publishers of The BeZine are hosting a virtual event and you are all invited to attend and add links to your own relevent work.  The links will be collected and published in a Page on The BeZine site and also archived at 100TPC. Michael Dickel (Fragments of Michael Dickel) of The Bardo Group is the lead for this event. Michael is also the organizer of an event scheduled in Israel this October.  You can contact him via his blog or message him on Facebook if you have an interest in participating there.

Meanwhile, here is an introduction to the visionary founders of 100TPC, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion:

MICHAEL ROTHENBERG was born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, and has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 37 years. Currently Michael is living and creating among the redwoods.

Michael is co-founder of Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica, which is dedicated to the cultivation of orchids and bromeliads. He is a poet, painter, songwriter, and editor of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else.

In 2011 he and Terri Carrion co-founded the global poetry movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change. His songs have appeared in Hollywood Pictures’ Shadowhunter and Black Day, Blue Night, and most recently, TriStar Pictures’ Outside Ozona. Other songs have been recorded on CDs including: Bob Malone’s The Darkest Part of The Night (Caught Up in Christmas) and Bob Malone (Raydaddy’s Blues), Difficult Woman by Renee Geyer, Global Blues Deficit by Cody Palance, The Woodys by The Woodys, and Schell Game by Johnny Lee Schell.

Michael’s poetry books and broadsides are archived at the University of Francisco, and are held in the Special Collection libraries of Brown University, Claremont Colleges, University of Kansas, the New York Public Library, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, and UC-Santa Cruz.

His most recent collection of poems is Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story (Ekstasis Editions 2013) and Murder (Paper Press, 2013) My Youth As A Train published by Foothills Publishing in September 2010.

TERRI CARRION was conceived in Venezuela and born in New York to a Galician mother and Cuban father. She grew up in Los Angeles where she spent her youth skateboarding and slam-dancing.

Terri Carrion earned her MFA at Florida International University in Miami, where she taught Freshman English and Creative Writing, edited and designed the graduate literary magazine Gulfstream, taught poetry to High School docents at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and started a reading series at the local Luna Star Café. In her final semester at FIU, she was Program Director for the Study Abroad Program, Creative Writing in Dublin, Ireland.

Her poetry, fiction, non-fiction and photography has been published in many print magazines as well as online, including The Cream City Review, Hanging Loose, Pearl, Penumbra, Exquisite Corpse, Mangrove, Kick Ass Review, Jack, Mipoesia, Dead Drunk Dublin, and Physik Garden among others.

Her collaborative poem with Michael Rothenberg, Cartographic Anomaly was published in the anthology, Saints of Hysteria, A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry and her chapbook Lazy Tongue was published by D Press in the summer of 2007.

Terri’s most recent projects includes collaborating on a trilingual Galician Anthology, (from Galician to Spanish to English) and co-editing an online selection of the bi-lingual anthology of Venezuelan women writers, Profiles of Night, both to appear in late August, on BigBridge.org., for which she is assistant editor and art designer. Currently, she is learning how to play the accordion. Terri Carrion lives under the redwoods and above the Russian River in Guerneville, Ca. with her partner in crime Michael Rothenberg, and her dogs Chiqui and Ziggy.

May 28th is Amnesty International Day

If you’re reading this right now, chances are good that you have heard the phrase, “First-World Problem”. I find myself thinking this phrase more than I would like, but I count myself damned lucky that I’m even aware of what it means.

When you live in a country as rich as America, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget that so many other places in the world lack basic, human rights. When you read the words “human rights” what comes to mind? Food? Shelter? Clean water? Freedom? Living life without fear for one’s safety? It can be difficult to empathize with those who do not have these things, if you, yourself, have always had them.

May 28th is “Amnesty International Day” and it’s a chance for you to help those in other places throughout the world who are being starved, tortured, oppressed, or who may have no shelter, no access to clean water, no one to speak up for them, and worst of all, no hope.

Image borrowed from amnesty.org
Image borrowed from amnesty.org

“Amnesty International Day recognizes the need to protect human rights around the world. The Amnesty International organization strives to accomplish these goals by providing awareness and recognition of the issues. They work to publicize local and regional problems, and to arouse citizens, governments and politicians to action.

Celebrate Amnesty International Day by:

  • Learning more about human rights issues

  • Becoming active in human rights causes

  • Writing your politician on human rights issues

  • Making a donation” ~ Source

This post isn’t meant to guilt trip you into donating anything, be it time, money or effort. It’s not a late-night infomercial showing you pitiful images of children who are little more than walking skeletons due to malnourishment. (As a side note: isn’t it telling that such infomercials are not on prime time television where so many more people would/could see them, but instead they are in late night spots where they won’t get the attention they need? Why do you suppose that is?)

Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org
Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org

I simply would like you to take a moment to think about what human rights you cherish the most and then find a way to help bring that right to a complete stranger. There are, unfortunately, countless human rights violations happening all over the globe. On the bright side, that means that there are countless opportunities to help. You can sign petitions, write letters, make phone calls, get involved in your local community. Or you can join movements like Amnesty International, and while the day is “Amnesty International Day”, nothing says you can’t join other worthwhile organizations who also strive to speak up for human rights. In fact, here is a quite comprehensive list of Human Rights Organizations, all in one place.

“Many organizations around the world dedicate their efforts to protecting human rights and ending human rights abuses. Major human rights organizations maintain extensive websites documenting violations and calling for remedial action, both at a governmental and grass-roots level. Public support and condemnation of abuses is important to their success, as human rights organizations are most effective when their calls for reform are backed by strong public advocacy.” ~ http://www.humanrights.com

Remember this:

“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com
Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer

In this video, photographer and Moving Walls exhibition co-curator Susan Meiselas, an American documentary photographer, discusses documentary photography’s potential to connect and move audiences by “expanding the circle of knowledge” about human rights and social justice issues.

The video also features a variety of work by photographers supported by the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project. The project funds photographers who go beyond documentation, using images to foster civic engagement, organizing, advocacy, outreach, public awareness education, and media attention.

Opening photograph: © Eric Gottesman

Words and video courtesy of Open Society

Black and White (or not)

A black and white photo is light and dark, its sharp contrasts easy on the eye.

Perhaps black and white is easier on the mind as well.  No difficult decisions, no wavering, no questioning right from wrong.  But real life is in color, with many subtle hues and shades.  Condemned prisoners who crossed over The Bridge of Sighs in Venice got one last peek at their beloved city.  Did they see their world in terms of black and white, or in color?  Perhaps one’s perception depended upon whether one was looking in or out, whether one was coming or going.

It is easy to cast judgements, until you have walked a mile in another person’s shoes, looked into her eyes, heard his story.  The world is not black and white.  It is the color of flesh and blood, with many gray areas.  What is the color of a human tear?

All images and words by Naomi Baltuck, copyright 2012

Note: For another facet of this topic,  check out this link by Carbon Leaf, The War Was in Color, and my post Remembering Uncle Lewis.

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com