By Carmel Mawle
I’ve got a lot to learn. That’s one of many reasons I’m so grateful for our Writing for Peace advisers. They come from different backgrounds, surviving personal hardships, war, and genocide. But rather than being defeated, they have grown in empathy and wisdom from those experiences. From life’s brutalities, they have crafted art and lives that serve as an inspiration to young writers and all of us in our Writing for Peace community. I am grateful that they don’t hesitate to give me their thoughts.
Recently I share a “Bored Panda” article on our Facebook page. It included 35 “feel-good” images of police marching with protesters, police taking a knee at the demonstrations, protesters preventing crimes and, in one case, protecting an officer who was separated from his group. My reaction to this post was similar to most of our readers who responded with likes and hearts and shares. It was encouraging to see what looked like progress.
And then I received the first message from an adviser with concern about this post. She had seen one of the pictures circulating on right-wing pages. Although she honored the sincere actions of the protesters, she wondered if some might view the image of black protesters protecting a white police officer as underlining white supremacy’s assumption that African Americans should sacrifice themselves for white Americans. She invoked Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
She made a good point. I contacted several other friends and advisers and heard reactions ranging from discussions of systemic oppression and the police as an enforcement arm of the oppressive state, to one in all capital letters warning that many of those pictures were staged. I took the post down because it seemed to cause pain more than promote peace. As it turns out, at least one of the officers who took a knee in front of the protesters had been guilty of police brutality himself.
What is true: We are protesting the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd and countless victims of the institutionalized and systemic genocide of black and brown people.
Writers for Peace are marching, working to Get Out The Vote, writing and calling their representatives, and creating resistance art that promotes truth. While some of us are unable to physically join the protests, we are working toward a more just world in other ways. We will continue to learn and grow, and keep moving forward.
And we will continue to be patient with ourselves and each other in this journey. We will give each other the benefit of the doubt in the knowledge that we are all doing what we can.
Stay safe and well. Be careful out there.
Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and KNOTS Literary Magazine.
Writing for Peace News
Friday Live Reading Series
This Friday, June 12th, at 8pm EDT, Erin Soros will read from her work and give a short craft talk about her Lyric Essay process. Please help spread the word, and join the reading here.
Erin Soros is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University where she is researching psychoanalytic conceptions of psychic energy and psychosis as a response to trauma. She has published fiction and nonfiction in international anthologies and journals, including Short Fiction, The Iowa Review, The Indiana Review, Exile Literary Quarterly, Geist, Prism, West Coast Line, Fiddlehead and enRoute, and her stories have been produced for the CBC and BBC as winners of the CBC Literary Award and the Commonwealth Award for the Short Story. Her academic articles weaving psychoanalysis, philosophy and autobiographical narrative have appeared in such journals as differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, The Journal of Intercultural Studies, The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. New work has appeared in Literatures of Madness, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and in Women and the Psychosocial Construction of Madness, Lexington Press. Soros has been a visiting writer at four universities, most recently as the Harper-Wood fellow at St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge, a position that funded travel to learn from Inuvialuit oral history in Canada’s Western Arctic. She was also a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto where she researched correspondences and tensions between Indigenous and settler understandings of the mind. She has received a Fulbright Award, the Governor General’s Gold Medal, and two teaching awards, including Columbia University’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Congratulations to Adviser Lorraine Currelley
Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director for the Bronx Book Fair and Poets Network & Exchange is the State of New York Bronx Beat Poet Laureate 2020-2022. The award was bestowed by the National Beat Poetry Foundation.
Call for Submissions: Resistance
The Summer Issue of DoveTales, An International Online Journal of the Arts will be published on August 1st, 2020. Our guest editor is Brad Wetzler. His theme is “Resistance.” Reading period will close on June 15th, 2020.
Read the complete guidelines here.
Young Writers Contest
The 2020 Young Writers Contest is closed. Results will be announced here on July 1st, 2020.
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