On the 31st Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre . . .

A replica of the memorial in the Polish city of Wrocław depicting a destroyed bicycle and a tank track as a symbol of the Tiananmen Square protests. The original was destroyed by Security Service despite the fact that it was after the 1989 elections./ Photograph courtesy of Masur and generously released into the Public Domain.

The Tiananmen Square protests or the Tiananmen Square Incident, commonly known as the June Fourth Incident were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Squarei n Beijing during 1989. The popular national movement inspired by the Beijing protests is sometimes called the ’89 Democracy Movement. The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the military to occupy central parts of Beijing. In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded. MORE



On June 4th, the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, PEN America announced it will bestow the 2020 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award on Chinese essayist, civil rights activist, and lawyer Xu Zhiyong. Xu, a longtime civil rights leader, was detained February 15 for penning an essay criticizing the leadership of China’s president Xi Jinping, including his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and calling on Xi to resign.



Xu Zhiyong / Photograph courtesy of Shizhao under CC BY 3.0

Xu Zhiyong (b. 1973) is a Chinese civil rights activist and formerly a lecturer at the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications. He was one of the founders of the NGO Open Constitution Initiative and an active rights lawyer in China who helped those underprivileged. He is the main founder and icon of the New Citizens’ Movement in China. In January 2014 he was sentenced to four years in prison for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”. He was detained again on 15 February 2020, in the southern city of Guangzhou.Xu was born in Minquan County, Henan Province.  He is married to Cui Zheng, a journalist. Their daughter was born on January 13, 2014, while Xu was in a detention center facing trial. He had been in hiding since late 2019 and was detained by Chinese police on February 15, 2020.

Xu received his Bachelor of Law degree from Lanzhou University in 1994 and Doctor of Law degree from Peking University in 2002.

Xu is currently being held incommunicado in state custody, and it is widely expected that he will soon be formally charged with “subverting state power,” an offense that carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence. Earlier this spring, PEN America labeled China as the top jailer of writers worldwide based on a global census published in the PEN America 2019 Freedom to Write Index.



The PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, given annually, recognizes an imprisoned writer targeted for the exercise of free expression. Of the forty-seven jailed writers who have received the this honor since 1987, forty-one have been released due in part to the global attention and pressure the Award generates. By conferring the award on Xu, PEN America kickstarts a global campaign for his release.

“Xu Zhiyong has guts,” said Suzanne Nossel, PEN America’s CEO. “His essays have served as calls to conscience at pivotal moments in China’s recent history. The one that resulted in his arrest was a detailed, blistering analysis of President Xi Jinping’s blind spots and shortcomings as a leader, published while COVID-19 still raged in China. His detention forms part of a Chinese government effort to control the global narrative about the outbreak, including by disciplining Chinese doctors and journalists who tried to sound alarm bells and punishing critics of the government response to the pandemic. In his writings, Xu has been a persistent voice calling out Beijing’s intolerance for dissent—and campaigning for social equity, rule of law, and a joyful vision for his country’s future.”

Alongside his human rights advocacy, Xu is well known for his series of online essays concerning contemporary social issues in China. He has written prolifically online on issues including access to fair education, governmental mistreatment and repatriation of migrant workers, corruption, and wasteful government spending. His essays have achieved the status of samizdat-like writing among reform-minded intellectuals and advocates across China. In the essay published just before his detention, entitled “Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go,” Xu wrote: “If you are determined to set yourself against history, you will surely visit disaster upon this country. What China needs above all other things is freedom! Only with freedom will creativity truly flourish and progress be possible.”

“Thirty-one years ago today, Chinese dissidents and activists peacefully protesting to demand greater liberty—including the freedom to speak openly and without fear—were massacred in Tiananmen Square,” said novelist and PEN America’s president Jennifer Egan. “As our own country reels in crisis, citizens peacefully demanding that leaders be held accountable must be protected. We stand in passionate solidarity with those who use language as a tool of protest—in words and writings, and as a spur to mobilize others and drive forward public debate—around the world and here at home. We are proud to honor Xu Zhiyong for his indomitable will to speak the truth in the face of grave danger, and we pledge that his voice will not be silenced, nor his name erased. We will fight on his behalf until he is free.”

PEN AMERICA’S 2019

FREEDOM TO WRITE INDEX

PEN America’s 2019 Freedom to Write Index, the organization’s first annual global count of writers and public intellectuals unjustly detained or imprisoned worldwide, found that China held 73 writers and public intellectuals in prison or detention for their writing in 2019—more than any other country.

Traditionally bestowed at PEN America’s annual New York City gala, the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write award kicks off a campaign of advocacy for the awardee’s freedom. Past honorees include Saudi writer-activists Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan (2019); Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (2018, freed in 2019), Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov (2017, freed in 2019), Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji (2016, freed in 2018), Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova (2015, freed in 2016 with continued restrictions on her movement), and Uyghur professor Ilham Tohti (2014).

PEN America’s annual gala is scheduled for December 8, 2020 at the American Museum of Natural History, health and safety permitting.

This post is complied courtesy of PEN America and Wikipedia.


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

“Persephone’s Daughters” Statement on the Murder of George Floyd; Racial Justice Funds

George Floyd in 2016/ source WP:NFCC#4 / used here under Fair Use

“Spring irises bloom.
The caged bird no longer sings—
a knee on his throat.”
Kamand Kojouri



Dear Persephone’s Daughters readers, contributors, and community,

It is with outrage, grief, and solidarity that we join the voices of those worldwide condemning the heinous, racist acts of police brutality that directly resulted in the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th, 2020.

As a literary and arts journal with staff members and readers from all over the world, and a home base in Minnesota as our Editor-in-Chief’s place of residence, we grieve for the pain not only of our reeling community in the Twin Cities, but also for all those worldwide who have lost loved ones to police brutality.

Our mission is to uplift the voices of those pursuing peace after trauma, and to provide community and calm through healing art and storytelling. We envision, one day, a world free from violence. Not only from domestic and sexual violence and child abuse, of which many of our readers and contributors have survived, but also from racism, police brutality, systemic oppression, and the sharply entrenched inequities upon which the United States is historically built.

As artists and writers, we hold both the power to bring healing, and the power to illustrate and narrate the violent acts which deny, disrupt, and prolong it. As artists and writers giving voice to other artists and writers, we refuse to remain silent in the wake of abject, intentional terror.

In 2016, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, we brought you the Post-Election Mini Issue, a compilation of voices expressing their pain and anger at the election of a racist, ableist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic individual to one of the highest offices in the United States. Make no mistake – racism is alive and well in America in 2020 because America is an inherently racist project. Racist systems and racist individuals are killing Black men, Black women, and Black transgender folks at epidemic proportions, all with the direct support of this nation’s president.

We implore you to join us in action, however that action may look. Through protest, through provision of bailout funds, through distribution of food and basic necessities to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, to a commitment to hire and value BIPOC leadership, to challenge and actively work to dismantle, everyday, the systems that benefit white communities at the expense of BIPOC communities.

Silence in the face of this terror is in itself a violent act. We encourage you to do all of the above, in addition to donating to the following racial justice funds:

The George Floyd Memorial Fund supports George Floyd’s family with funeral and burial expenses, mental health counseling, lodging and travel for court proceedings, and basic necessities in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Minnesota Freedom Fund, a community-based nonprofit that pays criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals arrested. Note: MFF has received a significant influx of donations and is requesting that donations be given to orgs such as Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, detailed below.

Black Visions Collective, a Black, transgender, and queer-led organization committed to long-term success and transformation in Minnesota’s Black communities.

Reclaim the Block, a coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods such as violence prevention, housing, and responses to opioid and mental health crises.

Campaign Zero, an organization that utilizes policy solutions to end police brutality through limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.

Northstar Health Collective, a radical healthcare initiative providing health care services and other resources to marginalized communities; currently, they are on the frontlines, safeguarding the health of protestors.

National Bail Fund Network, a compiled list of bail funds across America. Donate to your local bail fund to support protestors in your area!

For those looking to learn more about the racist bedrock of policing, here are some educational resources to get started with:

Transform Harm, a resource hub about ending oppressive violence.

#BecauseWe’veRead, a reading list on policing and police/prison abolition.

A World Without Police, an organization that has compiled a study guide on the police.

@thegreatunlearn on Instagram & Patreon, a series of resources and critical discourse created by Rachel Cargle to aid in unlearning, including self-paced syllabi on racial justice.

In previous communications to our readers, we had stated that all proceeds from the print version of Issue 6 would be donated to the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse. We will now be splitting all proceeds and donating 25% to the Northwest Network and the remaining 75% to Black Visions Collective.

Please join us.

In solidarity,

Persephone’s Daughters

Meggie Royer, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Bhargavi Goel, Prose Reader & Editor

Mikey Jakubowski, Poetry Editor & Film Judge

Taylor Pevey, Prose Reader & Newsletter Staff

Uma Dwivedi, Prose Editor

Elena Torry-Schrag, Poetry Reader

Siam Hatzaw, Poetry & Prose Editor

Delaney Dunn, Prose Reader

Jessica Mazzeo, Art Evaluator & Social Media Team Member

Elijah Noble El, Persephone’s Daughters Film Division Co-Founder

Avleen K Mokha, Poetry & Prose Editor

Eleanor Hough, Poetry Editor

Sarah Shaughnessy, Prose Editor & Poetry Reader

Kim Kaletsky, Prose Reader

Catherine Luo, Art Evaluator

Tanvi Deshmukh, Poetry Editor & Art Evaluator

Rachel Hultquist, Prose Editor 

Lakshmi Mitra, Poetry Editor

This post is courtesy of Persephone’s Daughters and is shared here with permission; Mr. Floyd’s photograph is from Wikipedia. 


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

SAVE THE DATE: 100,000 Poets (and Allies) for Change, September 26, 2020; Call for Submissions to 100TPC Anthology

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde



SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

SAVE THE DATE

It’s twelve years since I started using poetry for activism, involving myself first with Sam Hamell‘s Poets Against the War. Almost ten years have passed since poet, publisher, musician and artist, Michael Rothenberg, and editor, artist, graphic designer, and translator Terri Carrion, co-founded 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) to which I am seriously devoted.

Through the decade our 100TPC poet-activist numbers have grown. We’ve expanded to include allies. These creatives from around the world share the values of peace, sustainability, and social justice. They speak out against corruption, cruelty, tyranny, and suppression through poetry, story, music, mime, art and photography, sometimes at personal risk.

INVITATION

If you’ve been involved before, please note the date and participate again. If you haven’t participated in 100TPC, we invite you to become a part of this worthy worldwide initiative.

By “we” I mean:

  • Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, founders and organizers of Global 100TPC;
  • Regional organizers for 100TPC (connect with yours via the 100TPC.org blog roll or contact Michael Rothenberg to set up your own event), and
  • The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine and hosts of The BeZine Virtual 100TPC.


FROM PRIOR YEARS:

SAMPLES OF POSTERS FROM

REGIONAL EVENTS

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



THE BeZINE

~ Be inspired . . . Be creative . . . Be peace . . . Be ~

VIRTUAL 100TPC

Our banner was designed by Zine team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

The second year I invited poetry against war was 2011. I put up a post on Into the Bardo (the name of the site before it became The BeZine) and invited folks to share their poems in the comments section. That was the last year for Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War and the first year for Michael and Terri’s 100,000 Poets for Change.

Since 2012, we (The Bardo Group) have hosted an annual virtual event on the fourth Saturday of September in concert with Global 100TPC. My thought for going virtual was that there were many others who, like me, are home bound but want to have their say, want to stand for peace, sustainability and social justice. Soon Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) joined our team and a new tradition was born. Michael became our Master of Ceremonies.

This year – whether your are homebound or not – we invite you to join with us via The BeZine Virtual 100TPC on September 26.  Complete instructions for sharing your work will be included in the post that day.  Between us, Michael Dickel and I keep the event running for twenty-four hours or so. Mark your calendars.

Watch for more info here and at The BeZine on these initiatives and . . .

Upcoming:

  • Call for Submissions to the September 15, 2020 issue of The BeZine, which is a prelude to 100TPC;
  • The Poet by Day 100TPC Wednesday Writing Prompt, September 16, hosted by Michael Dickel; and
  • A contest (the heart-child of Zine team member, Corina Ravenscraft) to find the best The BeZine 2021 header for our Facebook Discussion Page.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group,
Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and
now Co-Manager Editor with Michael Dickel



100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020)
VOL 1: The Memoir

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

From Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion

In the tenth year anniversary of the movement, we are excited to invite all ​past and present 100TPC organizers and/or participants, to submit a three page ​essay to be considered for inclusion in ​the book ​100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE [100TPC]: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020),​ which will be published on a date to be announced.

This book will tell the story of 100TPC from the perspective of the poets who have been a part of creating and sustaining it. Through ​our personal essays, the reader will learn not only about the individual stories of the hundreds of poets-organizers from all corners, reflecting on the social and cultural effects of such poetic actions, but it will also offer an enriched summary and an organized way to learn about this grassroots movement and its impact on the history of poetry. It can also be thought of as a guidebook and manual, for future generations interested in the strategy of activists engaged in manifesting positive change–peace, justice and sustainability.

THEMES:

You can submit a ​maximum of two essays,​ only one (1) per theme. Be sure to send each essay in a ​separate e​mail (see details below).

1. FOUNDATIONAL EXPERIENCES.​ First experiences as organizer/ poet/ artist/ audience with ​100,000 Poets for Change.​
2. LOCAL EXPERIENCES.​ Experiences seen as a whole, after these ten years. Reflect on your achievements, or whatever you have witnessed, good and bad. You can choose to write about success or disappointments, benefits and limitations, even if you were not an organizer/participant consistently for the past ten years.
3. IMPRESSIONS​: Reflections and stories on the philosophy, ideas and spirit propelling the movement. How has this movement informed your poetics?
4. SALERNO.​ If you participated in the 2015 Salerno conference, you can choose to write about it, as a whole experience, and/or highlighting a specific story or aspects of the conference.
5. READ A POEM TO A CHILD.​ If you have been part of the Read a Poem to a Child initiative, you can also choose to write about that.

Submission deadline:​ December 1, 2020

Format guidelines​: Word document, Times New Roman, Font 12, Double Spaced.

Maximum 750 words.

Language​: If you are not an English speaking writer, please send your text in its original language along with the best possible English translation (three pages max, each). At this point, the project will only include the English version, but we’re studying alternatives to the issue of language, and world accessibility.
Bio & Photos:​ Please send a fifty word Bio as a Word doc. attachment. Also, and this is optional, you can attach three-to-five good quality images (jpg) related to your essay, and/or the events you organized in your community. Include photo caption and credits. Do not send bio photos. We want exceptional images that offer a glimpse either of the themes or aspects we’ve mentioned above, the collective drive, or the audience reaction.

Please send your submissions and/or any questions to: ​10yr100tpcbook@gmail.com In the email’s Subject Matter​, please write your essay’s t​heme.


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

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