Writers Rally Against Anti-Asian Hatred Amid Pandemic; May 27, United Against Hate: A Day of Online Solidarity

Man Mo Temple; Hollywood Road, Tai Ping Shan, Hong-Kong, Hong Kong, Photograph courtesy of Nicolas Hoizey, Unsplash

“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.

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARY

AGAINST ANTI-ASIAN HATRED

The surge in hate crimes, violence, and verbal assaults against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in recent months is a painful reminder that racism, bigotry, and xenophobia are persistent challenges in the United States. Many of these attacks have been brazen, occurring in public spaces and online. They have been egged on at times by an administration drawing on racist tropes and stereotypes, eager to distract from its own missteps.

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.

Click here to add your name.

This post is courtesy of and in support of PEN America and the Asian-American Writers’ Workshop.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

To Run, No Chance to Dream . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Illustration courtesy of Serkan Turk, Usplash

“People around the world may be physically separated in pandemic lockdowns, but they are joined in at least one way — many are experiencing vivid and bizarre coronavirus dreams.” Why so many people are experiencing pandemic dreams, Helena Humphrey, NBC News



I find myself much engaged by the brave and honest responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, COVID-19 Lunascape, May 20, 2020, which asked poets to share their pandemic-driven dreams. Thanks! and Bravo to mm brazfield, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, and Adrain Slanaker.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a friendly, nonjudgmental opportunity offering the chance to exercise your poetic muscle, to display your work, and to “meet” other poets who may be new to you.


states

birds chirp
the last
song heard
before going
into shallow
restless sleep
pipes clank
neighbors laugh
dogs howl
window cloaked
in moon
sliced Roman
shades cardinal
red i
then find
the cacophonous
earth fading
from me
there is
a river
in the
anemic star
light its
ripples a
veil of
opal and
brass the
pit in
my throat
slowly calls
a chant
a prayer
of sorts
to any
available mother
to take
me in
the arms
of anything
before the
poison of
the hyacinth
breath of
the deep
seated night
will drag
me in
the undertow
of her
charms while
the nymphs
dressed in
Coco Channel’s
post C19
gray suits
flirt for
a like
enmeshed in
electric forgery
unnatural i
the feel
in this
cage of
bone nothing
but mud
midnight news
reporting blues
and the
porous truth
that soon
a derivative
of Pi
will flow
through my
blood to
buffer the
pandemonic messiahs

© 2020, mmbrazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken, Gen X’er chrnicles the art from of living the the Angelino metropolitan environment through writing, art, photography, and culture


To Run, No Chance to Dream

Sweat drips down
my brow
my chin
my arms
my back
Onto the treadmill that has had better owners
it rumbles
it squeaks
it grinds
it whines
But it can’t be heard up two flights of stairs at 3 AM
it won’t disturb my quietly sleeping children
it won’t disturb my quietly snoring spouse
it won’t disturb the quiet illusion of life as it should be
Here in the basement cave with it’s napoleon ceiling
I do not want to sleep
I do not want to dream
I do not want to figure out how to stay safe from something that can’t be seen
I do not want to figure out a “new normal”
If I am moving, I am not dreaming
of things that I can’t control
of things that I shouldn’t hope for
of things that could be or should be
of things that start with “what if”
So I run but not away, just enough to sleep
without dreaming
without pretense
without aspirations
without the energy for my brain to continue the run

It is now 5 AM.

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . 


..were we dreaming?.

as i passed i saw the room, coal on your table,

spread neatly. wondering i glanced around,

saw the snowy underwear on hangers,

the chandeliers.

it all showed pride and i know

you have seen it too. raddled

face in mirrors, knowing that we

are all much the same, without

meetings and disagreements.

so,

must we write about it before we forget,

before people come and disagree?

they have small waists and a national costume.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..bad night dreaming..

dreamed of devastation, flew miles low

over concrete . skeletons, bones of the thing.

all is dust, as dust we have become. slow.

grey. nothing moves here no more. no sighs.

they have forgotten us. we have forgotten them.

are we now the bones of what we were?

bad night dreaming.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Teaching Me

Of the classes my father paid,
Of the classes I paid for me,
Nothing tops like the classes I teach me,
Am the pupil,
Am the tutor,
Notes compare the mood,
Yesterday does shine quite a bit,
Today has it’s shadows,
Tomorrow seems a decade away,
My score sheet blurrs,
May mark pen draws exes in excess,
A staccato of dreams zig zags on the edge,
Every human smote rides my eyes,
I mourn with ease what mornings bring,
Vacation vacated it’s pull,
Reading tells better news,
Afraid is quite real,
Reality is traumatic,
My own voice sounds alien,
And prayer raised it’s volume,
My bridal hopes still dreams of a sunrise,
My groom is every human with a sigh,
Am reaching out to myself more,
Am negotiating with mind more,
Am recounting scars with a smile more,
Am learning from own lessons and tutorials,
And my score though not high,
It’s above average truth be told,
For priorities are ever clearer,
Rif raf and procrastination has exposed themselves.
I have met me and sat with me besides sleeping with me,
And I dare say am pleasantly surprised at who I saw,
A creature who thought they knew but now know they didn’t,
For what had mattered all those wasted years is simple,
Love life as you live it in the moment,
Enough is the best stock to keep,
Health is wealth of a kind and matters a lot,
The mind has great capacity to adapt,
And Humanity is just one part of the universe, and not the universe,
That all men are basically the same and their needs are simple.
And I woke with the smiling sun,
Thankful for such a class that taught me the simplicity of life.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Please Complete in Triplicate

Yellow ties snake out of
brown bin liners
like thin layers of leather
with static cling that
accommodate copious quarts
of unrecognized
refuse, be it
a shattered sex toy or
a shiny tray splattered with spaghetti.
In the “new normal,”
I’m denied discretion as
it’s deemed an anti-contagion
civic duty to
fill out forms
listing every last
object chucked into each
garbage bag sagging
by the curb.
I nitpick over the papers,
plunged into panic as to
whether I’ve revealed
all my trash truths
in ink black enough and
fearing I may find myself
fined or detained or
banished to a rubbish blacklist
because I’ve unwittingly breached
the bureaucracy theater
thought up to thwart either COVID-19
or the bearers of virtual torches and
pitchforks turned viral
on Twitter.

© 2020, Adrian Slanaker

To read more of Adrian’s work, just do a search on this site and/or on The BeZine.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

Smithsonian Pride Alliance Announces: PROJECT PRIDE, a Virtual Concert and Pride Time Capsule, Premier on YouTube May 31

The broadcast is free and open to the public online, but digital RSVPs can be made here.



The Smithsonian Pride Alliance, whose membership spans all of the Institution’s 19 museums, 21 libraries, nine research centers and the National Zoo, will kick off “Pride month for all” with PROJECT PRIDE, a virtual concert and digital time-capsule celebration of LGBTQ+ heritage, culture and history featuring LGBTQ+ musicians, artists and allies, as well as highlights from the Smithsonian collections.

PROJECT PRIDE will premiere on YouTube Sunday, May 31, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time

The program will be hosted by NPR’s Ari Shapiro and will feature LGBTQ+ artists from across the world, currently including (in alphabetical order): Alex the Astronaut, Big Freedia, Bright Light Bright Light, Cameron Esposito, Courtney Barnett, Claud, Dorian Electra, Girl in Red, Jake Shears, Joy Oladokun, Kat Cunning, Madame Gandhi, mxmtoon, Nakhane, Pabllo Vittar, Pet Shop Boys, Roxane Gay, SOKO, Tig Notaro & Stephanie Allynne, Tunde Olaniran, VINCINT and more.

The program will be rounded out with visuals of LGBTQ+-related artifacts and stories from Smithsonian representatives. Participating Smithsonian museums include the Smithsonian American Art Museum; National Museum of American History; National Air and Space Museum; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; National Museum of African American History and Culture; the Smithsonian’s National Zoo; and more.

PROJECT PRIDE is produced by the Smithsonian Pride Alliance in collaboration with BYT Media. Funding for the PROJECT PRIDE broadcast was provided by the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian National Board. For more information about PROJECT PRIDE, visit HERE and follow the Smithsonian on social media with #SmithsonianPride.

This post is courtesy of the Smithsonian Pride Alliance.

About Smithsonian Pride Alliance

Smithsonian Pride Alliance (formerly GLOBE) was formed in 1988 in the midst of the AIDS crisis. From the beginning, the Pride Alliance has been “part of a broader human rights and equity approach to management and scholarship.” Founded more than 30 years ago, the Pride Alliance is the oldest LGBTQ+ employee resource group in the federal government.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Tips for Self-editing Your Work for Submissions: Part 2, Ten Suggestions

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Neel, Unsplash.

“Only God gets it right the first time and only a slob says, ‘Oh well, let it go, that’s what copyeditors are for.'” Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft [Recommended]



After your first draft: 

  1. REST and then CUT: Figure out what works best for you when it comes to editing: computer screen or hard copy. Find a quiet time and space to revise content and flow. Make sure your thesis is clear. Cut everything irrelevant to your thesis. Sometimes the points or words you think are clever are the ones that should be cut. Be ruthless.

    “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”  Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

  2. ATTEND TO THE EASILY RECOGNIZED PROBLEMS: Cut redundancies. Cut the unnecessaries: rule of thumb (“rule” will suffice); “in order to” is never needed; walk or hike or run or cook – don’t “start to.”  Don’t  write “thing”, write what the thing is. Please don’t say “I’d like to write about … ” or “I’d like to say . . . ,” just do it. Cut adverbs like “very” and “really” for shorter, clearer and stronger sentences. Stephen King reminds us adverbs are death. Make sure your nouns and verbs are in agreement. Be strategic in your use of capitalizing and bolding. Too much scattered chaotically through a narrative is distracting and visually unappealing. It can also make reading difficult for readers with vision problems.
  3. WATCH OUT FOR PASSIVE VOICE: Use active not passive voice. This is a practice that makes for  more energetic prose. [Job search hint: Be sure to write your resumes and cover letters in active voice.]
  4. SHORTEN LONG SENTENCES: Long sentences are untidy and often include words that are little more than filler, that confuse rather than clarify. At other times, long sentences would benefit from a break-down into two.
  5. HYPHENATE WHENEVER YOU MODIFY A NOUN WITH MORE THAN ONE WORD: The exceptions are words ending in “ly,” The “newly published writer,” for example, would not need  hyphens.
  6. GO EASY ON THE COMMAS: Ask yourself if you need them. Read the line out loud and watch your breath for hints. It’s all about clarity (first) and cadence (second). It may take a little work and thought to use commas correctly. Reminder: “that” doesn’t take a comma before it but “which” does.
  7. WATCH YOUR USE OF “OVER” or “MORE THAN” BEFORE NUMBERS: Example: Over seven percent of readers gave her book one star on Amazon. More than sixty-two percent of readers gave her book five stars on Amazon.
  8. WHEN TO SPELL NUMBERS. WHEN TO USE NUMERALS:  I take my tip on this from my editing prof at U.C. Berkeley Extension: If they’re single or double-digits, spell them. Use numerals if the number is more than two digits.
  9. USE YOUR WORD-PROCESSSING FIND FEATURE: If there’s a word you use repeatedly – for me it’s “currently” – and you know the word is often a redundancy, use the find tool to flesh it out and then evaluate its need. Do the same for “its” versus “it’s,” which I find is a frequent typo for me and others. So often, we’re on auto pilot when we are writing and such typos come easily.
  10. IF ENGLISH IS YOUR SECOND LANGUAGE [ESL]: I can’t speak for other editors, but I try to leave as much alone as possible. I don’t want to mess with your voice and English is spoken differently in different parts of the world. I do respect that.  If edits are necessary, I do just enough for clarity. There are a few basics though, which I know you get in your ESL classes: is a quotation mark; is an apostrophe; use caps to start sentences; use periods to end them.  Be sure there is a space between the end of a sentence and the start of the next. Your first language may not use pronouns (I, you, he, she, this, it). Do remember that English uses pronouns and generally needs them for clarity.

Those of us who are dyslexic have special challenges, which can’t always overcome. I know I have to work hard at it. Recently I posted a poem with “wreaking” versus “wrecking.”  The later would be correct. I struggled for days to get it and finally correct it. HERE I recount my experience with mild dyslexia and my hope that if you too are dyslexic, you don’t let it stop you.

In the end, self-editing is about respect for your own work, for yourself as a writer, and for editors and readers. Be sure to follow submission guidelines. Never use fancy fonts or background colors for your submissions. Plain and simple is the rule.

Disclaimer: Most presses value stylistic consistency. Toward that end some will ask that you use a specific style-guide for work submitted to them. The AP Style Guide is popular. My suggestions here and those required by a style guide may differ. Follow the style guide if that’s the publishers preference.

RELATED:


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton