Heads-up San Mateo, CA: Justice Action Monday, Flash Advocacy … “Resistance” works

Every Monday evening from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Rev. Benjamin Meyers and members of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) invite neighbors in North Central San Mateo gather with them to “Resist.”  This Monday evening  postcards will be set asking Congress to reject Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the arts, the sciences and to social service programs like Meals on Wheels and to protest his proposed massive increase in military spending. Postcards will also go to thank those media outlets that are telling the truth and to those companies that have pulled their advertising from Breitbart.  Supplies, snacks and convivial company provided.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS OF SAN MATEO, Justice Action Mondays, Flash Action Advocacy,  300 E. Santa Inez Ave, San Mateo, Phone: 650-342-5946 Office Hours: Tu-Fri 10-5

RESISTANCE WORKS: Hillary Clinton’s response to yesterday’s health insurance victory. 

Poets and Poetry in the Shadowland of Technology and Social Networking

bright flower at nightI believe in the power of poetry; and I believe we can extend that power when we make strategic use of it in that very mixed blessing, the shadow land of technology and social networking.  That is why I spend much of my valued time in these arenas and much effort supporting other writers and activists who are doing profoundly important work. I’m no longer able to storm the gates, but I can still pound the heck out of a keyboard.

After eight years, however, I find I’m losing my tolerance for those who use poetry and social networking – ostensibly to raise the community consciousness with regard to want and inequity – only to proceed to thoughtlessly undermine the care, hard work and long hours invested by others who actually do put the “active” in activism.

It is also one thing to use the tools of social networking to connect with family and friends, to form friendships based on affinity, and to earn our bread or to support those causes in which we believe. It’s quite another thing to do it as a narcissistic indulgence, especially when that indulgence is at the expense of people who need us to be – not self-concerned and histrionic – but measured voices that walk our talk in the daily play of living, working, spending, teaching (in the greater sense all good poets are teachers) and – yes! – social networking.

Poetry can be assertive and should be. If justice poetry, however, isn’t balanced and well-considered, if it isn’t complemented with right action and right living, it is the work of a poet who enjoys the sound of his or her own voice. It is in danger of devolving into an exercise of smug in the service of ego and sanctimony in the service of voyeurism.

If our compassion is all talk and no legs, it isn’t compassion at all. In the same vein, justice poetry needs teeth and its teeth come from actions consistent with values expressed. English poet and scientist, Jemma Borg, writes this in The Poet and the Planet, a feature article in the November 2015 issue of ARTEMISpoetry:

” . . . ‘art prepares us for thought’ and ‘thought prepares us for action’ (as the political activist and poet, Rukeyser wrote). There must be poetry, there must be activism; it is a continuum. So, poets can give society a guilty conscience, they can be legislators. But we also need people camped outside Shell to protest against drilling in the Arctic …”

© 2017, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

The recommended read for this week for children, Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by  Jack Prelutsky,  named the nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

Pizza, Pigs and Poetry, How to Write a Poem is ideal for children grades 3-6.  He engages by sharing funny stories, light poems and creative technique, not forms. This seems entirely perfect for encouraging – not discouraging – this age group. Fun and funny Pizza, Pigs and Poetry would make great summer reading – and writing – and is perfect for a birthday gift or a gift for some other occasion.

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Rev. Benjamin Meyers and the congregation of the Unitarian Universalists in San Mateo (UUSM) invite you to join in Justice Action Mondays.  This coming Monday, March 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. we’ll gather to tell our reps to reject Trumpcare, which the CBO says would:

  • take away health care from twenty-four million people over the next ten years,
  • defund Planned Parenthood,
  • destroy Medicaid, and
  • raise insurance premiums.

The Republicans are hoping to pass it in the next eighteen days. We’ll write postcards with a personal message or thank you notes to those you appreciate.

Cards, stamps, snacks, and like-minded people are provided. Drop by for a fun hour of activism.

Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, CA  94401 Phone: 650-342-5946

© photograph, UUSM

The “Protest by Postcard” Ides of Trump Campaign …

Unitarian Universalist Chruch of San Mateo Caliornia


The Ides of Trump Campaign was initiated by a resident of Berkeley, California who wanted to create a simple, affordable and easy way for people to show-up and be heard. To join in all you need is a postcard and a stamp. The idea is that you express your concerns with brevity on a postcard. The hope is that postcards will flood the White House on March 15, the Ides of March.

You will remember that in Shakespear’s play Julius Caesar didn’t heed the warning to beware the Ides (about mid-month) of March and was assasinated on that day. The idea here is NOT to threaten any kind of violence or other immoral behavior but to draw attention to issues of concern in a peaceful manner.

The beauty of this effort is that wherever you are in the world you too can easily have your say by sending a postcard for the Ides of Trump to:

Mr. President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

In my neighborhood we unequivocally DO NOT endorse or encourage violence but there are issues of concern that residents want to bring to the fore. Hence, the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo began implementation of Justice Action Mondays: Flash Advocacy as part of its “Resist” efforts.

Rev. Ben Meyers and the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) invited San Mateo residents to join in an open, drop-in community space where people come together in a supportive environment to make their voices heard. Justice Action Mondays, every week, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., UUSM Beck Hall, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo

This Week’s Flash Advocacy Theme: The “Protest by Postcard” Ides of Trump Campaign. Participants will write a postcard (or more) with a personal message letting the President know their concerns and/or position on the issues that are paramount to them. All postcards will be mailed. Cards, stamps, message ideas, snacks and the company of good people like youself are provided. A distribution list is updated weekly on Wednesdays and the theme for the following Monday is emailed to all.