The “100 Thousand Poets for Change” movement is a demonstration/ celebration of poetry around the world to promote serious social and political change. Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion of BIG BRIDGE, who conceived of this movement, issued the text below in early March 2011 to announce the first 100 Thousand Poets for Change event.
What kind of CHANGE are we talking about?
The first order of change is for poets, writers, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering.
And of course there is the political/social change that many of us are talking about these days. There is trouble in the world. Wars, ecocide, the lack of affordable medical care, racism, the list goes on. We are only asking that local organize events about change within the guidelines of peace and sustainability.
It appears that transformation towards a more sustainable world is a major concern and could be a global guiding principle for this event. Peace also seems to be a common cause. War is not sustainable. There is an increasing sense that we need to move forward and stop moving backwards. But I am trying not to be dogmatic. I am hoping that together we can develop our ideas of the “change/transformation” we are looking for as a group, and that each community group will decide their own specific area of focus for change for their particular event.
100 TPC LOOKING FORWARD
A short note from Michael Rothenberg:
100 Thousand Poets for Change has been a consuming inspiration for us all… from its conception in March 2011, co-founder Terri Carrion and I have hardly had a chance to breathe!
We have applied for non-profit status so that we can continue to support annual 100TPC global initiatives and also begin to help fund, through 100 TPC grants, individual organizers and groups, poets, musicians, and artists all around the world who want to organize peace and sustainability events in their local communities.
And we are truly excited about what is going to happen on September 29, 2012 for the next big 100 TPC Day!
As of April 1, 2012 we have over 500 events in 100 countries confirmed! Quite a few organizers have decided to have 100 TPC events all year long. Check out Santa Rosa, CA Peace and Justice Center and Teresa Chuc’s amazing work on Free Tibet and Chinese imprisonment and censorship of poets.
Also, many smaller events from last year have now evolved into weekend festivals…big news from Jamaica, a whole month of events… Albuquerque, NM and Volos, Greece, and Dominican Republic, will have 3 and 4 day-long events. Also, Boston, MA, Hungary, India, Turkey, and Sweden are planning huge poetry readings, music concerts, workshops, puppet shows (100 Thousand Puppeteers for Change is a new Swedish initiative!), and more. Mexico will be profound as ever. I hear they are working on border readings with the USA and Guatemala.
And we’ve added 100 Thousand Musicians for Change to the event this year, which is starting to take off. Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary has expressed support of the initiative and will perform on September 29. There will be a punk rock show for 100 Thousand Musicians for Change in Bucharest! Music fests in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Detroit. And we’re waiting to hear some mind-blowing news from Nashville! There are rumors of great musical gathering in Nashville’s famed Centennial Park! This is just the start.
A big concert is planned for New Orleans as well with 6-8 blues bands and a whole bunch of poets sharing the stage.
In addition, there is a Gulf Coast USA initiative forming within 100 TPC in response to the BP oil disaster… many events are popping up all along the Gulf Coast with intent to bring attention to the ongoing horror of ecological destruction and persistent health problems plaguing the Gulf Coast citizens, who are systematically being ignored by the media and government authorities.
Terri and I went to UAE last November as guests of the Sharjah International Book Fair, where they had a major 100 TPC event in September 2011. Wow, what an amazing Book Fair. We gave two 100 TPC open mic session during our visit to Sharjah and met many wonderful people who have stepped up to be organizers of events this year in Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Iran and Egypt… there’s great interest in the Arab World because of the resonance of 100 TPC with The Arab Spring.
And we have two events scheduled for Afghanistan, again, a poignant reminder that poets there want peace as they continue to face a war that has been going on for over 10 years.
We have also connected with Occupy Wall Street Poetry who will be organizing an event on September 28th at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, the New York City kickoff event to many other events planned all around the NY area.
Finally, as you probably know, we have no funding or sponsorship whatsover for this entire initiative and so we have put together a Kickstarter campaign, with the help of Larry Sawyer, which you can find at our 100 TPC Headquarters Event Kickstarter Page.
We have set our fundraising goal at $2500. As of this date, we are nearly half way there so I am optimistic. This is one of those deals where if we don’t meet our goal then all funds are returned to donors. So please donate now! Even $1 donations would be great! Jim Spitzer, an amazing painter and dear friend, has offered 100 TPC 12 signed and numbered limited edition prints to help us raise funds on our Kickstarter page. There are other great gifts for donations so check it out. And share it with your friends, too!
So, things are moving along with 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Keep your eye on the website at www.100tpc.org for news and updates, and please join the 100 Thousand Poets for Change (Official) Facebook Page, Follow us, share, subscribe to the website, the facebook page, tweet #100TPC, this is how you can make a difference too. We might reach 1000 events by September. Change is on the way!
Better By Now (ain't it supposed to be?)-Song by Ellis Ebakor (Warri, Nigeria) and Larry Weiss (Nashville, TN) and Video by Terri Carrion.
We Have A Goal Yvonne de la Vega, LA, CA.
100 Thousand Poets for Change, 2011-Katie O'Hare