We Will Emerge: Imagining the Future

Courtesy of freestocks, Unsplash

“ We will emerge with a better vision.

“Not until this moment are we seeing the people who make this world work: the myriad invisibles, the anonymous, the undocumented, the overworked and underpaid professionals—some of whom we don’t even grace with the status of ‘professionals’ or pay them a living wage or take care of their health.” Julia Alvarez, We Will Emerge: Awareness


PEN America launched We Will Emerge, a collection of 111 short essays from writers and actors, politicians and reporters, artists and poets, together urging readers to imagine a future beyond the current crises. Sparked by a conversation between Wajahat Ali and Dave Eggers, the project asked participants to briefly respond to the prompt “We will emerge…and find a better way.” Participants include Chelsea Clinton, Roxane Gay, Julia Alvarez, Min Jin Lee, Lynn Nottage, Peter Sagal, Ishmael Reed, Jelani Cobb, Reza Aslan, Alyssa Milano, Mayor Michael Tubbs, Maya Wiley, and dozens more.
“There is no one way to understand how the multiple crises of our current moment will forge the future of this country,” said Wajahat Ali, curator of the We Will Emerge project. “We designed this project with a sense of hope, or perhaps a delusion, that somehow we will emerge from this chaos. We gave no set motives or restrictions on how to respond. Some entries are bleak, some are fueled by righteous rage, others are humbled, and few imagine and prescribe how we can achieve a freer and more equitable future. But all the contributions are grounded in the reality that there will be a day after our current crises, and we all need to prepare and grapple with the once-in-a-century lessons of a deadly pandemic, our overdue reckoning over white supremacy, and the deliberate attacks on our democracy.”We Will Emerge immerses readers in the thoughts and stirrings of some of the greatest thinkers of our current moment. The digital experience is broken into chapters, where the 111 contributions are categorized into five thematic categories that capture the connective threads among the dozens of contributions.

  • Julia Ioffe, in the chapter of essays centered on awareness, writes that we will emerge “humbled and more respectful of science.”
  • In the section on community and unity, Rep. Val Demings quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, “In a real sense, all life is interrelated.”
  • Another section of essays focuses on the themes of gratitude and empathy, where Gary Shteyngart muses on culinary ambition: “We will emerge…and be yummier.”
  • Challenging economic inequality, Mehdi Hasan in the section on liberation writes, “We will emerge and be less forgiving.”
  • Imam Abdullah Antepli, in the section on action, calls for a more engaged democracy: “What if we all renew and significantly increase our ownership of our democracy and act accordingly a result of it?”

“We Will Emerge is an effort to think beyond our cascading crises and elevate insights that can point us toward a healthier, more equal, just, and sustainable future,” said Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. “These micro-essays throw down gauntlets, unmask truths, and issue calls to action to take responsibility for the ways we’ve failed one another. Recognizing that there is no panacea for all that ails our society, these contributions collectively offer ideas, pathways, and building blocks aimed to spark new thinking and action, all in a direction forward.”

Throughout the coming weeks, PEN America and contributors from the project will be sharing their essays across social platforms under the hashtag #WeWillEmerge. Visit pen.org/we-will-emerge to read and share.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


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!


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

Out of the Womb of Time, a poem

Photograph courtesy of Graham Holtshausen, Unsplash

“Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fiber and, in some cases, backbone.”  Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man



out of the womb of Time they slide
peasants and kings, artisans and queens
murders, warriors, healers, peacemakers
the grandfathers and grandmothers
on whose shoulders we stand

they are with us, their spirits sensed
. . . . though unseen
their hearts are in our mouths
as they guard and guide

feet rooted in the mud of Earth
we drink the wine, eat the roots
and sing the songs we inherited
their sayings are our sayings
their voices are our voices
carried on breezes
like the music of cathedral bells
like the call of the muezzin
they chime and summon
they sum what came before

from their gnosis
whispered in the ear of silence
we learn: we are nameless but not lost
we too shall echo
shall be the shoulders
shall be the great progenitors
shall hold the Vision and the Light
along the path . . .
. . . . beckoning

Originally published in Brooklyn Memories

© 2012, Jamie Dedes


This was making its way around Facebook a week or so ago and it reminded me of the above poem.  All of us, no matter what our immediate family history, have heroes in our family line. That’s how we’ve come to be.  A cause for gratitude and celebration and perhaps a sense of responsibility too.

Wishing everyone the best today.

Warmly,
Jamie

Origin unknown

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!


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

#19 SuffrageStories . . .

Copyright the Smithson

There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” Susan B. Anthony



 

The Smithsonian, Library of Congress and the National Archives have launched #19SuffrageStories, a nineteen-day social media campaign that is sharing stories about the long fight for women’s voting rights in the United States.  They started posting on August 3 and will continue posting through Aug. 26 as a count-down to Women’s Equality Day Aug. 26, this coming Wednesday. The institutions have also released a set of social media stickers and GIFs to encourage the public to join the conversation.

On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted, declaring that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of sex. However, for many women, especially women of color, the fight for the right to vote continued long after the amendment became law. The stories of the diverse communities and organizations that fought for equal voting rights are not shared widely today. To mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, these three leading cultural institutions have joined forces to share lesser-known stories about the fight for women’s suffrage. Using items from their collections, they are sharing stories spanning from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 through events in the 1960s to provide a broad look into the history of women and voting.

The countdown began on Aug. 3 with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which is held at the National Archives. The public is invited to examine this landmark document on Twitter and Instagram and consider its significance. New stories will be revealed every weekday, with the countdown closing Aug. 26. The public is invited to follow the countdown on social media and on the web:

Additional information about the stories shared each day will be available on the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative blog and the Library of Congress and National Archives websites.

To coincide with the campaign, the organizations are also releasing a set of 10 voting-inspired social media stickers and GIFs. Instagram users can add a historic sash sticker to their selfies or add the words of suffragists Ida B. Wells, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee to their posts. To add the stickers on Instagram, users can create an Instagram Story, click on the sticker icon and search for #19SuffrageStories. Animated GIFs of the stickers are also available through GIPHY for use on Twitter or other social media platforms. The full set of GIFs can be found online, and descriptions of the stickers can be found in this blog post about the #19SuffrageStories campaign.

The three institutions are also collaborating in August on a 19th Amendment virtual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. The public is invited to make nineteen edits to Wikipedia pages throughout the month of August to help expand the coverage of the women’s suffrage movement online. Virtual trainings will be held every Tuesday and Thursday in August, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ET. The public can register for the trainings on Eventbrite, no experience required.

The Smithsonian, Library of Congress and the National Archives remain largely closed to the public due to the coronavirus (the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center reopened July 24). More information about the operating status of these organizations is available on their respective websites.

This post is courtesy of the following institutions:

The Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of nineteen museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 volunteers. There were more than twenty-two million visits to the Smithsonian in 2019. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

The United States Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

The National Archives

The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, so people can discover, use and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. These holdings include the original 19th Amendment and extensive documentation of the struggle for Women’s Suffrage.


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!


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

“Night Mail” by W. H. Auden and “From a Railway Carriage” by Robert Louis Stevenson

: Publicity poster original artwork for the documentary film Night Mail by the GPO Film Unit
Date 1936, Public Domain

“It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music, laughter, the physics of falling leaves, automobiles, holding hands, the scent of rain, the concept of subway trains… if only one could leave this life slowly!” Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy



I love trains but it isn’t the love of trains that inspired this post. The current United States Post Office debacle made me think of Auden’s Night Mail, which made me think of Stevenson’s From a Railway Carriage. These two are my fave railway poems.  I suppose I should write one myself one of these days.  We’ll see … Meanwhile, enjoy these  …

Night Mail

This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,

Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.

Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.

Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,

Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.

Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.

In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.

Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs
Men long for news.

Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.

Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston’s or Crawford’s:

Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

– W. H. Auden

From A Railway Carriage

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

– Robert Louis Stevenson


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!


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

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: