This is my third year participating in the Postcard Poetry Fest. I live in Charlottesville, Virginia. I am still too raw and stunned to write a personal note or poem about what happened here on Saturday. I did not think this situation could feel any worse, but alas, I learned differently after hearing the press conference the President gave at Trump Tower this afternoon (Tuesday, August 15).
I ask that you consider forwarding the information attached below to all Fest participants so they will be aware of a chance to incorporate sending postcards to help young people in our community. I just learned of the #DearYoungPerson campaign a few moments ago, and immediately sat down to write this note and forward the information to you.
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, August 16, at 11 AM Eastern Time, there will be a memorial for Heather Heyer, the woman killed by one of the alt-right rally attendees who used a car to murder her and injure 19 others in an act of domestic terrorism. Please also consider notifying all Postcard Poetry Fest participants of the memorial for Heather. There may be some who would want to take a moment at that hour tomorrow to contribute their peaceful, uplifting thoughts and prayers. I heard that the memorial will be live-streamed should anyone wish to attend virtually.
It has been a balm to the thousands of grieving hearts in our community to see the outpouring of support as people in cities across the country have taken to the streets to denounce what happened in Charlottesville and the people who came to our town to perpetrate it. I have such profound sorrow for all who loved Heather, for our country and for the world. Those images of great numbers of people unequivocally opposing this kind of hatred gives me hope, gives Charlottesville hope, and ultimately gives our country hope that one day the ancient, festering wounds that ooze this pain and evil will find healing.
Subject: Send love notes to Cville youth
Date: August 15, 2017 at 8:40:18 PM EDT
I hope that each of you is doing whatever you need to heal, and also plugging into the opportunities all around us to resist hate and spread goodness. I wanted to let you know of another small way that you and those around you can channel positive energy and love after this horrific weekend. A number of youth-serving organizations in our city have come together for the #DearYoungPerson campaign. We are asking kind people everywhere to send postcards of support and encouragement to our youth, many of whom are feeling the same confusion, anger, sadness, and frustration that many of us are…maybe times a hundred. 85% of the youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters here are of color. Most of the organizations listed below serve similarly diverse populations of children and youth, whose identities were publicly attacked on Friday and Saturday. Send a note to the P.O. Box below (P.O. Box 814, Charlottesville, VA 22902) and we will make sure that your message gets into the hands of youth in our community who need to hear your message of solidarity.
I encourage you to forward this email to your networks and/or share the Facebook post on the Big Brothers Big Sisters page. I know this is a pretty small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but with all of the notes together, we hope to send a powerful message to our youth that love can overpower hate! — Caitlin
SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. https://www.paulenelson.com. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. ￼￼￼￼www.CascadiaPoetryFestival.org (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)