“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
In 2011, The Bardo Group Beguines (The BeZine and Beguine Again) collected poems and other works that addressed the need for, the desire for, and prospective paths toward peace. We were inspired by a global movement that was founded by poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion called 100,000 Poets for Change.
The following year we connected with that global movement and hosted a virtual 100,000 Poets for Change so that folks from anywhere in the world could participate in this extraordinary event online even if they were homebound or if there was no event being hosted in their area. It wasn't long before drummers, mimes, musicians, artists and clergy joined this global initiative. Followers and supporters included people who aren't in the arts but appreciate the power of the arts to raise the collective consciousness and to foster sensible and compassionate action and policy.
SAVE THE DATES
This year The BeZine September issue (September 15) will be devoted to social justice and on Saturday, September 29, we'll host 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change on The BeZine site in concert with off-line efforts to be hosted by communities all over the world.
I hope you'll join us at the Zine in September.
Today I share a message Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion asked me to post for you:
"100 Thousand Poets for Change began in 2011. It was an initiative that spread by word of mouth across the globe.
"Poets in nearly 100 countries around the world expressed their outrage at war, ecocide, gender inequality, police brutality and a slew of other issues that were not being addressed. Up to then, poets as a community had been fragmented and silenced by the corporatization of the arts and peer pressure that insisted poetry should not be political, that poetry and art did not matter in changing the world.
"Now, 8 years later, it has been regularly demonstrated that poetry and the rest of the arts are a powerful resource in broadcasting the need for positive change. This could be in a very small part because of the effect of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
"However, I believe that, mostly, there was a paradigm shift in regard to the need for protest and engagement in the world. Many individuals and organizations came to the realization that silence is complicity.
"Today you can hear voices raised against injustice everywhere. It has become part of the curriculum. But sadly, it seems that these voices are not loud enough or strong enough, that although the poetry community has unified in many ways and pushed forward in expressing opposition to injustice, situations have gotten worse.
"War continues and expands, militarization continues and expands, children are gunned down in schools, neo-nazis and white supremacists are emboldened, gender inequality is still the norm, and at this very moment we are witnessing a country that professes to be the most democratic and freest country in the world, the USA, tearing children out of the arms of their parents and putting them in cages as part of their immigration policy.
"My heart is broken.
"Some days, I feel like disconnecting entirely from the horrifying news. I can hardly stand to hear it any longer. But then there are the poets and artists who keep up the fight, who continue to speak out, the beautiful souls who refuse to be broken, and go on against all odds.
"So I go on.
"September 29 is the next global 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day. I am convinced this is an initiative worth continuing. Poets and artists must continue to rally and bond, connect, create and speak out in unison against the daily horrors. For each other and for our very own sanity, we must continue and grow.
"The 100 Thousand Poets for Change initiative saves me and keeps me focused and sane.
"I invite you to join hundreds, maybe hundreds of thousands, of other poets globally on this day, September 29, to gather and unify. If you can’t organize on September 29, pick any other day in September or October and let me know where and when you will organize.
"I will spread word of your event to the global poetry community for change, and together we can be empowered to re-write the narrative of civilization to a sustainable alternative. There is strength in numbers. Together we can raise our voices for peace.
"We can do this!"
Love, Michael and Terri, 100 Thousand Poets for Change.