Dispatch from Writers for Migrant Justice: Boston
When Christopher Soto put out the call on Twitter for a series of national events to raise money for Immigrant Families Together, myself, Alana Folsom, Anna V.Q. Ross, and Cheryl Clark Vermeulen responded. I remember it was a bit frenetic. I felt out of sorts because I was/am relatively new to New England. Anyway, we started out by conferencing with each other via two or three different mediums: Facebook Messenger, text message, and email. It was absolutely hectic, but our energy together was great! We created a roster of writers in the area, divided up the list, and started emailing our list of contacts. Alana, Anna, and Cheryl were really great about being dialed in to the local community and we got a number of essential partners involved like Mass Poetry, the Mayor’s Office of Art and Culture, MIRA Coalition, the New England Poetry Club, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We also got great publicity from the Boston Globe. I designed the posters and away we went!
Among the notable readers for our event were Martha Collins, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Natalie Shapero, and Crystal Williams, with Martín Espada closing out the evening reading his devastating poem “Floaters.” I estimated that we had over one-hundred people in attendance and we raised over $3000. It was so great to meet so many of the local poets and to come together for such an important and worthy cause.
-Oliver de la Paz
Writers for Migrant Justice: Poetry Reading & Fundraiser
[BOSTON, September 4, 2019] On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, Boston will join poets and writers in over 40 cities to participate in a nation-wide night of poetry and protest. All proceeds will go towards Immigrant Families Together, providing bail, basic necessities and legal resources for detained migrants and their families.
Readers include: Danielle Legros Georges, Natalie Shapero, Martín Espada, Nicole Terez Dutton, Jennifer Jean, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, Pablo Medina, Yara Liceaga Rojas, Willy Ramirez, and more. Of the readers, poet and Professor of English at U-Mass Amherst Martín Espada says, “These are poets that speak from the heart of the communities most gravely endangered in our times, or on behalf of these communities, poems that reflect the unstoppable diversification of this society, poems that assert our common humanity in the face of dehumanization.”
The event is free and open to the public. Donations are encouraged. Poets Oliver de la Paz, Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, Anna V.Q. Ross, and Alana Folsom are the co-organizers for this year’s event. The nation-wide campaign is spearheaded by Christopher Soto, Javier Zamora, Jan-Henry Gray, and Anni Liu.
In a time where we are all asking What can I do? reading and hearing writing that holds witness to the ongoing cruelty and inhumanity happening at our border and, importantly, fundraising to help provide urgently-needed aid to detained children and adults is a small and necessary action to help fight these injustices. Please join Boston’s literary community in protesting the actions of our government at the border through poetry. Please also consider donating using the GoFundMe link below.
Writers for Migrant Justice Event Details
What: Writers for Migrant Justice: Poetry Reading & Fundraiser
Where: Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116 [entrance is on Arlington Street (Public Alley 439)]
When: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 6:00pm
Organizers: Oliver de la Paz, Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, Anna V.Q. Ross, and Alana Folsom
Sponsors: Ágora, Pangyrus, Aforementioned Productions, New England Poetry Club, Unearthed Song & Poetry, CubaConnect, Mayor’s Office of Art and Culture
Supporters: The Critical Flame, Mass LEAP, Mass Poetry, Central Square Press, Boston Poetry Marathon, Boston Book Blog, Poetry is Busy, Black Ocean, Woodberry Poetry Room, William Joiner Institute, Amplify Latinx, Porter Square Books, and MIRA Coalition
Venue: Arlington Street Church
Readers: José Angel Araguz, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Mary Buchinger, Martha Collins, Oliver de la Paz, Nicole Terez Dutton, Martín Espada, Danielle Legros Georges, Jennifer Jean, Sonya Larsen, Mitch Manning, Fred Marchant, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, Willy Ramirez, Yara Liceaga Rojas, Anna V.Q. Ross, Natalie Shapero, Grace Talusan, Crystal Williams