PEN America Calls for Trump Administration to Open Migrant Camp to Journalists’ Scrutiny; What You Can Do to Close the Camps by Kella Hanna-Wayne

100-mile border region on the U.S.–Mexico border courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency / Public Domain

“A crude age. Peace is stabilized with cannon and bombers, humanity with concentration camps and pogroms. We’re living in a time when all standards are turned upside-down, Kern. Today the aggressor is the shepherd of peace, and the beaten and hunted are the troublemakers of the world. What’s more, there are whole races who believe it!” Erich Maria Remarque, Flotsam

Climbing the Mexico–United States barrier fence in Brownsville, Texas courtesy of Nofx221984 and generously released into Public Domain

PEN America issued the statement [below] in response to The Washington Post’s report that the Trump Administration is blocking journalists from accessing migrant detention camps on the southern border to see the facilities for themselves and speak to children, who are reportedly held in squalid conditions.

“It is shocking that the American public largely must learn about the dangerous conditions at these detention centers not through reporters being able to cover the news, but through second-hand reports from lawyers and advocates granted access under a legal agreement with the U.S. border patrol,” said Nora Benavidez, PEN America’s Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs. “The fact that journalists are being sealed off and held behind a wall of secrecy, unable to show the American people the faces and voices of those who are suffering in squalor is one more unconscionable aspect to this epic horror story on the southern border.”

“Cutting the press off from this story to hide what is going on is unacceptable and unwarranted; professional journalists are well-equipped to handle issues of privacy and consent, and this should pose no barrier to press access. The American public has a right to see for themselves what is happening in these camps through first-hand accounts, images and video documented by professional journalists. Indeed, the fact that every story that does make it to a reporter galvanizes public attention and action demonstrates the importance of that reporting. PEN America calls on the Trump administration to open the camps to the scrutiny of the press–and thus, the American people–immediately, and end this effort to keep what is happening in the detention centers a secret.”

PEN America has previously spoken out and advocated about press access to migrant detention centers and the situation for journalists covering the immigration crisis on the border. In October 2018, it hosted a panel discussion at the Texas Book Festival entitled “Stories (Un)told,” featuring journalists speaking to the challenges of covering child detention issues and immigration more broadly. Following months of tracking and public comments on the situation of lawyers and journalists being surveilled at the southern U.S.-Mexico border, PEN America joined a coalition of human rights and media freedom organizations in sending an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security in May, 2019, expressing concern for the privacy violations and explicit targeting by Customs and Border Protection of journalists, activists, and lawyers working on issues around the “migrant caravan”. Following our letter, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged it had engaged in the surveillance and tracking of these individuals. PEN America has also condemned the unacceptable practice of the government’s surveillance of journalists reporting on this issue and authored a petition urging the administration to stop monitoring journalists at the border. That petition has garnered more than 58,000 signatures to date.


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.

From Kella Hanna-Wayne, poet, blogger, activist

“Today, I read something terrible; a story that possibly upset me more any other news story from our current administration and it filled me with helplessness.

“Over the past year, Trump’s immigration policies have become increasingly strict and dehumanizing. Detention centers, separation of families without keeping records, poor hygiene, inadequate access to food, water, and medical attention, children in cages– these were all themes among reports of the horrifying conditions our government was signing off on for immigrants, regardless of their documentation.

“But in the last week, it came to light that not only is Trump using Fort Sill– the base used to hold Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during WWII– to hold immigrant children, but that our government is now using concentration camps as a strategy to manage the influx in immigrants coming to the US. “

Kella goes on from these introductory remarks to provide a comprehensive list of tips and resources: What You Can Do to Close the Camps. I particularly appreciate it when folks don’t just regurgiate the bad news we’re all reading anyway but who go on to provide tools for mitigating the travesties. Bravo, Kella!

Stay tuned for a comprehensive interview with Kella here on The Poet by Day.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZineof which I am the founding and managing editor.

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

A Moral Failure; poems by Michael Dickel and Jamie Dedes written in the aftermath of shootings; protests and resources


“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his speech, A Proper Sense of Priorities, February 6, 1968, Washington, D.C.

When we speak or write about gun control, the fingers point to second amendment rights, to the suggestion that a complex problem may resolve with the application of one strategy, or to the NRA position and lobby. Democracy is messy, but safety and citizen rights are the concerns rational people hold in common.

No matter the side on which we stand, we are guilty of a moral failure. Gun control is not going to be the entire answer. It’s a beginning and as the U.K., Australia, Japan and Germany have proven it’s a huge and rewarding beginning. I think that most who advocate gun control understand that the issues of violence in America are complex. Not the least of other initiatives would be mental health interventions, mitigating poverty and youth unemployment, creating more educational opportunities and subsidizing arts programs, revisioning our materialistic values, fostering the reimagination of masculinity, and honoring our stated religious convictions. Many of us understand gun ownership as the gateway drug to violence and murder, a contradiction to those convictions. The U.S. is predominantly a country of the Abrahamic traditions and the law we share: “Thou shalt not kill.”

– Jamie Dedes

A Priest’s Lament


Starting from the outside,

the labyrinth’s path moves closer,

further, closer, as it takes a poet

deviously toward the center.


Mosaic patterns, partly broken

by frost, perpetually bloom there.

Gray, mossed-stones line the path—

they frame the wanderer’s flower.



We wandered that desert

for forty years. All we had

for communication were

specially designed tents


built from detailed plans—

each folding floorboard

and floating nail exact—

a cellular plan from God.



That lonely God longed for

our calls, the return of a gift

we could not understand.

We just turned on each other


instead. We hoarded words

into locked arks as though

we owned them or understood

what they meant. We didn’t.



We meant to know more. Ever since,

with poor reception, a limited data plan,

we still pretend we can call God

whenever we want. We pray


for every child shot in school

as though words could unlock

such cruelty. We pray that we

will not long be held responsible.



I long for the days before

those instructions were given,

before we built the tabernacle,

before we transformed the tent


to stone on top of a mountain,

before we thought we knew

what God wanted us to do,

before we decided we were priests.


Poem of separation (kodesh)


A wandering God longs for us

from outside a forty-year labyrinth,

folding time, returning space, locked

into receiving words that cannot be given.


We thought we knew.



On the seventh day, God rested.

We have not seen or heard

Creation since. Our language

overwhelms the world.


We thought we knew.

© 2018, poem, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play), All rights reserved (Written during the 100,000 Poets for Change 2018 Lake Jackson Poetry Residency Program)

February 23, 2018 — 7:00 pm

Poetry Reading with Michael Dickel
A Sublimatus / HamiltonSeen Production
The River Trading Company Bookstore
Facebook Page | Facebook Event
559 Barton St. East
Hamilton, ON L8L 2Z2  Canada

A note from Michael:

Stoneman High School students who survived the shooting are resisting. If you haven’t yet, see the widely shared video of one articulate student “calling” BS the excuses and people refusing to ban assault weapons through her tears. Facebook Page: March for Our Lives

Collateral Damage


and were laid to rest in her
sterile room on steel tables
lined-up like school children
awaiting lessons


counting wounds, counting dead


which the death-dealing injury

innocent life forms wept



in the stillness between breaths
she boxed and stored her tears
making way for scalpel and saw


yes, best

to keep her heart locked-down

until . . . until

a whiskey

a bed


©  2018, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


At this writing, according to the Gun Violence Archive in 2018 there have been 6,975 incidents, 1,922 deaths, 3,330 injuries, 71 children killed or injured, 377 teens killed or injured, 32 mass shootings, 41 officers shot or killed, 312 subject or suspect killed, 235 home invasions, 192 defensive use of guns, and 229 unintentional shootings in the United States.


A World With Peace: A Place to Lament and Resist Gun Violence

100,000 Poets for Change Co-founder, Michael Rothenberg and The BeZine team member, Michael Dickel, have initiated a day for poets to gather wherever they are in the world to resist violence, especially gun violence, and raise awareness of the need for appropriate gun legislation in the United States and elsewhere. Beguine Again founder and another member of The BeZine core team, Terri Stewart, Guns Don’t Save People, Poets Do founder Evelyn Agusto and I support the effort and encourage you to organize events. To publicise your events post your event on the 100,000 Poets for Change Facebook Communication Page and on The BeZine 100TPC Facebook Discussion Page. I’ll do my best to catch all and post them to The Poet by Day Facebook Page and The Bardo Group Beguines (publisher of The BeZine) Facebook Page. Post to  Evelyn’s Facebook Page as well.  March 21 is also World Poetry Day.


Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.

Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.

Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.

We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence. We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020.

Join us in saying #ENOUGH!

Add your event to the map or find one near you here:


A reminder about this. I just noticed no one’s posted since October 2017.  Go for it. Have your say.


The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL “We want your poems! Share this information.”

A MESSAGE FROM 100TPC cofounders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion.

“The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL has been opened in response to the call by many for an open place to post poetry about the recent USA elections. Poets from around the world are invited to post. Feel free to share this link. Post your poems in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Your poem will appear on the WALL in approximately 1 hour.”

En Español:
“Se ha abierto el MURO DE POESÍA EN RESISTENCIA como respuesta al reclamo de muchos por un espacio abierto donde publicar poesía relacionada con las recientes elecciones en los Estados Unidos. Se invita a poetas de todo el mundo a publicar aquí. Por favor compartan esta liga. Entren a la página y peguen sus poemas en la caja de comentario (‘comment’), al calce. Su poema apareceré en el MURO en aproximadamente 1 hora.”

“The poetry and art posted on the WALL are not limited to the USA elections. There are many issues that concern us all and we welcome your contribution.”


UK POET, REUBEN WOOLLEY hosts a zine, I Am Not a Silent Poet, and a Facebook Discussion Page. You may post to the later and submit to the zine.  There are already some anti-gun violence/pro-legislation pieces shared. Check them out.

“I am not a silent poet welcomes quality poems of protest. We have been seeing such increasing evidence of abuse recently that we felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms: colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of health services, the rape culture, FGM, our girls in Nigeria are just some of the examples that come to mind at the moment. It is not a site for rants.

“Please send all contributions for consideration to: I would prefer attachments (especially for poems with unusual formatting and graphic material. You can add a brief biographical note and/or link to your website or blog.” Reuben Woolley


RESIST: SIGNS OF THE TIMES … thoughts and resources


BRAVO! to the people, the church groups, the civic groups, the students and the schools, the poets, the musicians and the artists who bare witness to the times, the historians who remind us of our roots and their lessons, the lawyers who clarify the law and fight for justice, and journalists who investigate and speak out. Bravo! to the women who are the stewards of heart for all their joyousness, their spirited defiance and their hope and faith. Bravo! to the man at the Women’s March on Washington who carried a sign saying, “I think it’s time that white men stopped talking and started listening.”

THIS WEEKEND I was proud that in the midst of fear and contention the majority of protesters were peaceful and respectful.

OFF THE CUFF/STRAY THOUGHT Perhaps it would be wise to replace “Love” with “Respect,” which is really what would be more fitting in this context and perhaps serve as a better reminder of honorable behavior and speech.

The work has just begun. Here are some resources as we move on:

  • Know Your Rights: Demonstration and Protest, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen. There’s a lot to ponder – I’ve reread it a few times over the past two weeks – but it’s an excellent and enlightening guide and worth the time and effort.
  • Inequity Media, videos that frame the issues and offer informed and measured tips for fighting the good fight, Robert Reich
  • American Civil Liberties Union, is taking legal action regarding disclosure of Trump’s tax returns and investigation into possible conflicts of interest et al. There’s an interesting feature –  “Waking Up in Trump’s America” – that details the fears of the most vulnerable among us and also a 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration.
  • The Nation, the most widely read weekly journal of progressive political and cultural news, opinion and analyses.
  • 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC), which has evolved to include peacemakers for change, musicians for change … drummers and mimes and so on …  under its banner. This is a global peace initiative started in 2011. It has grown to include over 500 events in countries around the world on the fourth Saturday of September each year. Other events are held on other occasions. To find events in your area or to start one go to the site.
  • 100TPC Global Action Calendar is a place for artists of every ilk to place announcements of upcoming events.
  • The BeZine is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits will help you to love (respect) not fear. We acknowledge that there are enormous theological differences and historical resentments that carve wedges among and within the traditions and ethnic or national groups, but we believe that ultimately self-preservation, common sense, and human solidarity will empower connections and collaboration and overcome division and disorder. The zine is published monthly, generally on the fifteenth. The BeZine sponsores a virtual 100TPC event every year.  This year it will be on September 30. Mark your calendar. The theme for the January issue was “Resist.”
 More details Rev. Dr. William Barber speaking at a Moral Monday rally

More details
Rev. Dr. William Barber speaking at a Moral Monday rally

And the last and perhaps most important: REQUIRED READING. The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

In April 2013, Rev. Barber began leading regular “Moral Mondays” civil-rights protests in North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh. He is credited with bringing together a fusion movement to protest restrictions on voting and to reform state govenement. He is said to be responsible for shepharding in a new era of progressive politics.

51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_The Third Reconstruction is a memoir about how Rev. Barber and his diverse allies (hence the “fusion”) came together to build a coalition. He shares his analysis of race-based inequality along with hopeful message for our United States as it continues to work toward the healing of entrenched racial and economic injustice. Ultimately, The Third Reconstruction is a blueprint for a movement, for  building coalitions and an inspiring call to action from the “twenty-first century’s most effective grassroots organizer.”

© 2017, words, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; © 2017, heading photo and signs pictured courtesy of Rev. Stephanie Etzbach-Dale of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, All rights reserved; Rev. Barber photo courtesy of twbuckner under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Redwood City Community Action Rally, January 21 and Canadian Women’s March on Washington, January 21

January 21, Saturday at 11 AM – 1 PM
Courthouse Square
2200 Broadway St, Redwood City, California 94063

Join progressive activist JOAN BAEZ, Congresswoman ANNA ESHOO, State Senator JERRY HILL, Supervisor CAROLE GROOM and many other local leaders for a non-partisan, multigenerational gathering to affirm community values about:

*Religious and Cultural Tolerance
*Immigrants’ Rights
*Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Other Speakers will include the Reverends Kristi Denham, Marlyn Bussey, and Michael Arase-Barham; County Superintendent of Education Anne Campbell; Sequoia Hospital CEO Lee Michelson; environmentalists Diane Bailey and Alice Kaufman; and the list is growing.

On the list of musical performers is San Mateo County’s own legendary folk singer, JOAN BAEZ, and the JOHN HENRY BAND.


Community groups include the AAUW, Sierra Club, and more.

You will leave the afternoon with the information you need to continue to make a difference.

This rally is inspired by and held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington and other local Women’s Marches held on Saturday, January 21st, the day after Inauguration Day. If you are interested in finding out more about one of the Jan 21 sister marches in the Bay Area please follow the links below:

San Francisco


San Jose

Women’s March Bay Area Website

Other California Marches:

15966293_1887766268171836_7232800696938119235_nThanks to Zena Hagerty of the documentary film company, HamiltonSeen, for giving this announcement to me to share with you. It’s heartening to learn that our neighbors on Turtle Island (North American Continent) are joining our Women’s March on Washington with their Hamilton Public Festival Event/Women’s March on Washington – Canada.  Zena says, “We will be meeting at the Hamilton City Hall forecourt at 12:00 pm with a march on to Gore Park to follow.”

Saturday, January 21 at 12 PM – 2 PM EST
Hamilton City Hall
71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai


**PLEASE NOTE: This is the official #WomensMarch and #WMWCanada for the Hamilton local solidarity event. It is *not* the contingent heading down to Washington, D.C. See the end of the event description for a link to that page.

On January 21 2017, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, women-led marches, welcoming all participants, will take place across the world, with the largest expected in Washington D.C.. We call on people of all genders to gather in Hamilton as part of an international day of action in solidarity.

The purpose of this *non-violent*, *inclusive* and *intersectional* protest is to take a stand for and support women’s rights — the rights of ALL women — with women from all races, all religious communities, all political affiliations, cis or transgender and all sexual orientations. Violence, whether from or against the right-wing, left-wing, centre or independents, is not welcome and will not be condoned. We are unabashedly committed to intersectional feminism and inclusion.

We will gather, wherever we are, for the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events. We unite and stand together for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities.

We will come together in the spirit of democracy, honouring the champions of human rights who have gone before us. Please spread the word, so that our numbers are too great to ignore and the message to the world is clear.

The politics of fear and division have no place in 2017.

This event is just the beginning.

Unite with us. Stand in solidarity.


US Page is here, with links to other states’ pages: