100,000 Poets for Change: Split This Rock’s Call to Action
100,000 Poets for Change Global Day of Action is on September 27. Because Split This Rock presents poetry for change all year round, we're offering something different this year. We urge you to take action on four critical issues of our time: send letters and include poems!
Below you'll find action suggestions on stopping the Keystone Pipeline, demanding justice for all the Mike Browns in our society, ending deportations and urging immigration justice, and supporting alternatives to another senseless war in Iraq and Syria.
Don't have poems on some of these topics? We suggest ones you can include from past Split This Rock Poems of the Week! And soon, if you want a poem on any of these or other social justice topics, you'll be able to search a new database of all the poems Split This Rock has published. More details coming soon!
Not Another Senseless War!
Background: President Obama said it himself: "There is no military solution" to ending ISIS's rampages. But then he bombs Syria, a decision that stands in stark violation of international law, the UN Charter, and the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. Instead, we need diplomacy -- with Iraq, Iran, Russia, and the UN.
More information: Read Phyllis Bennis's analysis this morning here. And her more detailed blueprint for a diplomatic strategy here. Here's a quick summary, on video.
Action: Write President Obama and your legislators to advocate for diplomacy instead of war. Attach a poem focusing on alternatives to military action to alleviate international tension.
"Why I Don't Mention Flowers When Conversations with My Brother Reach Uncomfortable Silences," by Natalie Diaz
"Hold," by Gowri Koneswaran
"For the Fifty (Who Formed PEACE With Their Bodies)," by Philip Metres
"When I was torn by war," by Sinan Antoon
Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline
Background: The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposal to build a pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands of Canada to the United States' Gulf Coast. The project is awaiting the approval of the President to begin construction. Questions of environmental health, cost, and safety are the concerns of the American people.
For more information: A succinct summary of reasons to oppose the pipeline, including a debunking of the job-creation myth.
Action: Write or call President Obama opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Write a poem or attach a poem pertaining to the importance of environmental health. Participate in the ongoing efforts of the People's Climate March.
"For My Daughter," by Michelle Regalado Deatrick
"A Portrait of America in Trash," by Jose Padua
"Oil," by Chris August
Demand Justice for Mike Brown
Background: In Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, African American teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson. Brown's autopsy reported he was shot at least six times and twice in the head. After the incident, the nation erupted in many protests of "Justice for Mike Brown" and "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" movements. The proposed Mike Brown Law requires all police officers to wear body cameras.
More information: Excellent overview here: "10 Ways You Can Help the People of Ferguson." More on the militarization of the police.
Action: Contact you congressional representatives in support of the Mike Brown Law, write and/or attach a poem about racism, and advocate against the Pentagon's 1033 program, which supplies surplus military hardware to police departments.
"not an elegy for Mike Brown," by Danez Smith
"Despite," by Derrick Weston Brown
"14 haiku," by Sonia Sanchez
"Elegy for Kimani Gray," by Kenji Liu
Support the DREAM Act & Keeping Families Together
Background: The Development Relief and Education of Alien Minor (DREAM) Act was introduced to the Senate in 2001 by members of the Republican and Democratic Parties. This bipartisan effort allows undocumented children who grew up in America an opportunity to serve in the U.S. military or obtain a higher education degree to contribute to the economy and growth of the nation.
Thousands of families separated by deportation and 13 years later, the legislation has not passed. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has protected some undocumented immigrants from deportation but the uncertainty lies with unfinished business in the DREAM Act legislation.
For more information: United We Dream is a terrific immigrant youth-led advocacy organization. The National Immigration Law Center lays out all the legislative priorities for this year.
Action: Support United We Dream's "We Can't Wait" campaign by urging Congress to push for immigration reform and for keeping families together. Write a poem to send to your representatives and President Obama.
"Guidelines," by Lisa Suhair Majaj
"If You Leave Your Shoes," by Joseph Ross
"barreras," by María Luisa Arroyo
"Ghazal for the Ninth Month," by Shadab Zeest Hashmi