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

COVID-19 Lunascape, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Johannes Plenio, Unsplash

“With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily stimuli has left dreamers with a dearth of “inspiration,” forcing our subconscious minds to draw more heavily on themes from our past.” The pandemic is giving people vivid unusual dreams. Here’s why., Rebecca Rener, National Geographic



A fulgurous moon on pandemic nights
Piercing the substrates of dreamland
Doing a lindy-hop with my hippocampus

Retrieving data records and videos
The oddly stored sentences and mental
Photographs, well-played scenes

Of midnight Mass at St. Pat’s, my
Baby’s sticky kisses, a swan-dive into
The red of Valentine’s roses, the feel

Of champagne fizz-tickling my lips
Visions cavorting at length, nothing
Fear-filled or surreal, just the good old

Joys of life, resurrected to counter the
Green phlegm of a COVID-19 lunascape

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I’ve been having the most interesting and engaging dreams since the lockdown started. Rather odd since for me “lifestyle” hasn’t changed that much. I wondered if I was alone in this and did some research. Not alone. Some people are having dreams that are frightening or bizarre. I wonder what your experience is. Tell us about your pandemic dream-scape in your own poem/s and …

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, May 25th by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


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

Poetry Foundation Offers Poetry Readings, Prompts, Workshops, other activities & educational resources in virtual space for the Time of COVID-19

Photograph of the Poetry Foundation Library in Chicago courtesy of Alanscottwalker under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

“The books [i.e., poetry collections] may not sell, but neither are they given away or thrown away. They tend, more than other books, to fall apart in their owners’ hands. Not I suppose good news in a culture and economy built on obsolescence. But for a book to be loved this way and turned to this way for consolation and intense renewable excitement seems to me a marvel.”  Louise Glück



The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, announced this week that “the health and wellbeing of our community, visitors, and staff remain paramount. We continue to support the City of Chicago’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), and so our building will remain closed to the public until further notice . . .”

Special Programs in Virtual Space

For the Time of COVID-19

Accessible from anywhere in the world . .  . 

“. . . we are offering several programs in virtual spaces. We invite you to explore our new virtual reading series Poetry Off the Stage, interactive writing workshops, and monthly Library Book Club.

“For those seeking inspiration, check out our Poetry & Practice writing prompts organized by age appropriateness, special collections like Poems of Sickness, Illness, and Recovery, and resources for educators and parents teaching at home.”

Follow the Poetry Foundation: website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and ways to engage with poetry.


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

On the lockdown: Two by Moe Seager

Photograph courtesy of Annie Sprattm Unsplash

“Once, a long time ago,
Before Corona,
People sat together
Talking in soft voices
That only they could hear
Heads almost touching . . . “
Before Corona, Mike Stone



Perhaps

Morning gives to afternoon
Time to tuck away dreams, desire, inner being
Corporeal gravity of transparent routines, anemic rituals
Rain, Spring returns from exile
Sucks on Aprils nipples

Thunder claps, falling waters
Herd us against each other
Repelling most in hurried flight for home
Where we are absolutely safe
From nothing
Witness those drowning
In the empty vessels of themselves

Oh this day would be dull, boring
Were it not for the occasional flash
Of bright umbrellas
One, the color red
To remind us
We are

My umbrella is a tent
I a nomad
Wandering through this village
Not quite sure of how to conduct myself

By chance, design?
We come upon each other
Relief
The solitude of two

Too soon it is time
You must go
I shall wait
Beauty is stubborn

© 2020, Moe Seager

Dog Days

Paris calling. Week 4 or 5? Not sure. French president Macron announced the prolongation of the lock down to May 11. He says by that date we shall have test kits and an adequate supply of masks. Aping the U.S.,, France manufactures millions of bullets weekly but is at a loss to readily supply its citizens with protective gear. Yes, like the US., France can manufacture goods that end life but not so well that which will save lives. I’m a socially active guy so this lock down is quite challenging. I have a dog Bertha. I’m allowed to walk her twice a day. Like other cities the air here is now clear. Flowers and green things spring and bud pallets of colors more vividly than in past seasons. Flora blooms larger than usual. My life is smaller. The change in surroundings and social climate affect Bertha as well. She moves casually, in step with me in no need of prompting. We hear several species of birds as we’ve not heard before. Birds make music and speech, comforting. Put down the dictionary, wake up the ears. I have a g-o-d- Great Out Doors, manifest as atmosphere, stratosphere, ionosphere, beyond where I cannot ascend to reach. Truly beyond my comprehension, nonetheless marvelous to marvel at, outside and in. I’ve been commissioned to write two books, poetry and short stories just prior to the quarantine. The quarantine is writing me. There are moments, unsettling in the deep drifting night when this isolation seeds a solitude I’m barely prepared to wade in. My gallery of dreams resonate a consciousness, feelings ominous. I wake with urgent need to love; they whom I hold in my heart, to care for those I’ve callously dismissed for petite self serving motives. Wake up is a mercurial meditation. I’m a spectator of my inner self. Yes I latch onto social media, relieving my anxieties by viewing yours, heartened when expressing my sympathy for you and yours. Oftimes Facebook is Death book. Times I lapse into a list of those who must not perish, for their sake, for mine. I have witnessed parents, mothers, my own burying her own children. Then gladdened with news that someone, others have survived a dance with death. And I know we’re in this together. willfully or not. Fear of mortality invokes frenzied vitality. With all my impotent indignation and rage I indict those governors of politics and fortunes, the immune by privilege, for their indefensible manipulations and greed driven exploitation of us Us, we are everybody by virtue of our common humanity. You might expect that the poet I am would center me, magnetize my focus onto language. Truth be told it’s a song, a song from any number of periods and styles. A piece of music, be it of voice or instruments, both, that unearth the sadness, the joys, the will… against the odds we stay in the game. No one to witness me shed bitter sweet tears and laughter. I dance to the notice of my dog Bertha. She sits calmly, quizzically. Good for her. The day is made.

© 2020, Moe Seager

Moe Seager

MOE SEAGER (Moe Seager- Paris Calling) is a poet and jazz & blues vocalist who sings his poems on stages in Paris, New York and elsewhere and has recorded 2 jazz-poetry c.d.s. Seager founded and hosts Angora Poets (Paris) World Caffé, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Paris and is one of the coordinators for le Fédération des Poètes paris. He has 5 collections of poetry and currently publishes published with Onslaught press, Oxford, U.K. Other poetry collections are issued from the French Ministry of Culture – Dream Bearers,1990. One World, Cairo Press – in Arabic translation, 2004. We Want Everything in French translation, les Temps des Cirises, Paris, 1994. Perhaps, La Maison de la Poesie, Grenoble, France, 2006. Fishermen and Pool Sharks Busking editions, London, 1992. Additionally Seager won a Golden Quill Award (USA) for investigative journalism, 1989 and received an International Human Rights award from the Zepp foundation, 1990. He teaches writing in Paris.


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