I was extremely excited I was able to make it out to the Resistance Reading Fundraiser for RAICES on Wednesday night and what a beautiful experience it was!
I was inspired watching HanaLena Fennel and Ra Avis read their work for such a wonderful cause. Their poems were moving, and I would be lying if I said there weren’t points that my eyes welled with tears.
An abundance of love was pouring out from them, calling for the justice of immigrants and refugees. These poets were bold and wore their hearts on their sleeves as they used their art for something bigger than themselves. Through their talents they encouraged others to use their voice as well, reminding us that if we all give just a small bit of ourselves, great change can happen. In a time that is hard to watch what is going on in the world, and the traumas and atrocities happening all around us, it was refreshing to witness people sharing their compassion.
Their event has ended, but their fundraising has not! You are still able to participate by going to:
– Write a letter to your representatives, senate, and local political officials. – Contact your governor, who can aid in establishing sanctuary cities and preventing state level guard from being used as a resource by ICE – Encourage your city officials to prevent local enforcement from cooperating with ICE – Donate to an organization of your choice that you trust is doing their utmost to help refugees and immigrants who are adversely affected by this targeting – Use your voice however you speak the loudest—through art, music, writing, conversation—to keep awareness spreading in your community – Share posts on social media. Keep sharing. Don’t let this conversation drop.
Please enjoy the following poem by the co-host of the fundraiser, HanaLena Fennel:
The Meal Is a Lie
The meal is a lie. Fingernail crescents, angel hairs, sustenance.
Sustenance will never be these things we discard.
Discard the coil of a hello tongue or last kiss.
Kiss the breath through sugared hands of child, of silence, of gimme.
Gimme surrender, body prostrate before windmill.
This is not grain or flour. The lance is spent, piked in the wildflowers.
We have tilted and the earth refused to budge.
About the Art & Artist:
HanaLena Fennel is a Jewish-Hawaiian American poet. This poem is from her book, Letters to the Leader, published by Moon Tide Press in response to the numerous executive orders issued during Trump’s term in office.
HanaLena Fennel is a Jewish-Hawaiian American poet. She has writtten a book, Letters to the Leader, published by Moon Tide in response to the numerous executive orders issued during Trump’s term in office.
Come See This Artist Live:
HanaLena is co-hosting the Resistance Reading Fundraiser for RAICES tonight! Follow this link for details:
THIS WEDNESDAY: Resistance
Reading Fundaiser for RAICES and Open Mic
When: THIS WEDNESDAY, September 4th from 8-10pm Where: UGLY MUG Café in Orange (261 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866) Parking is available on some streets and parking lots close to the venue Open Mic Signup begins at 7:45pm
by Nadia Alamah
ORANGE, CA—If you’ve been following what’s happening at the border
and with immigrants and refugees across the country, or have questions and want
to learn more, join us this Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Ugly Mug Café from 8-10
pm for the Resistance Readings fundraiser, which will highlight performances by
two featured poets, provide additional resources for information, and display a
mini-bazaar of art and collected works, including those from Moon Tide Press.
Proceeds from the features, and sales of art and
poetry will go towards the support of RAICES, a legal-based organization
dedicated to supporting and assisting immigrants and refugees at the border. There
will also be a creative open mic for all to participate in, with a cover charge
of $3 which goes directly to local café The Ugly Mug, as the fundraiser is
presented by the Two Idiots Peddling Poetry weekly series.
Of the two featured poets, Mexican-Indian American
poet Ra Avis, will share a new poem and some from her works Dinosaur-Hearted and Sack Nasty,
speaking to both her experiences as a first generation American and her time in
“The immigrant and refugee experience, asylum
seekers—when you try to get from one country to another, there is a journey and
a story there. Because of language [barriers], those stories don’t always get
translated. And because of systemic racism, and sexism, and all these other
issues in the publishing and media world, they don’t get highlighted,” Avis
said. “So people like myself who grew up in close proximity to those who came
from another country, we have heard these struggles, and we know these
struggles. But all of their stories are filled with pain and grief
and trauma, leaving behind everything you know, starting over on a much smaller
The other feature and event organizer, HanaLena
Fennel, a Jewish-Hawaiian American poet, will be performing poetry from her
book Letters to the Leader, poems published by Moon Tide in response to the
numerous executive orders issued during Trump’s term in office. “I think that
the best thing I can do is amplify the voice [of a refugee] if it’s there—but I
can speak to my own family’s history, and to the history
of the atrocities that human beings can commit on each other, and
what that looks like, and what those steps are, and how we end up in those
places, and how to stop those things,” Fennel said.
Fennel’s main reasons for choosing RAICES as the
main beneficiary from this fundraiser include its structural capacity and
willingness to assist as many cases as possible in all demographics and age ranges.
Its structure is largely impacted by location independence, as the organization
can contact law offices to volunteer across the country.
“Two Idiots Peddling Poetry believes the work RAICES
is doing is among the most important things any organization is doing right
now. Protecting the rights of immigrants is vital to preserving who we should
be as a people,” co-founder/host Ben Trigg said, when reached for comment.
Moon Tide Press founder Eric Morago also had
something to say: “Moon Tide is happy and grateful to support HanaLena in
her fundraising for such a noble cause,” Morago said. “It’s a
privilege to get to support my authors in the work they do beyond the
Fennel’s other reason for supporting RAICES through
this fundraiser – that they take on as many cases as possible—also stems from
her empathy derived from being a mother herself. “We have two year-olds who are
expected to represent themselves as their own attorneys in immigration court
without an interpreter. That’s obscene,” Fennel said. “I have children. I have
toddlers. They couldn’t represent themselves answering my front door, let alone
in front of a judge trying to explain why their life is in danger if they were
to leave this country.”
This fundraiser is intended to raise community
awareness and inspire us to take action. “I don’t like it when people speak
hyperbolically, but there are currently people dying in ICE custody right now— because
they’re not receiving the health care services they need,” Fennel said. “They
don’t have basic hygiene, they don’t have basic care. And one of the very small
things we can deal with that is to help RAICES pay somebody’s bail so they can
go and pick up their kid out of these containment centers/
Avis connects to what refugees and immigrants are
going through given her experiences with incarceration: “I can only imagine
myself that the camps are so much worse because there isn’t any kind of
illusion of fairness or justice protecting you,” Avis said. “You put people in
cages, you take away basic humanities, you tell them over and over again that
they are not worth basic dignities, and then you expect them to be okay when
you let them go, and that’s just not likely. Nor does it solve any problems. It
doesn’t at all address the actual problem you locked them up for. Especially
not in the case of immigration.”
There will be resources available at the fundraiser
to provide more information about the border crisis and provide suggestions for
ways to take action in our everyday lives. “[We want] to remind everybody in
our community that we’re not alone in the face of learning all of this terrible
information and that there are things we can do—in our lives, in our art, in
our day-to-day communication with each other—there are ways to make sure that
we are not looking away from this horror, but also not paralyzed
by it,” Fennel said.
“I want to be available to people as another
resource. If they have questions, if acceptance of this is a question of
ignorance, I want to make myself available for a conversation,” Avis adds. “As
much as you may understand at a conscious level—how locking people up is
detrimental to them and to our society—it’s much different when you’re sitting
with someone who was locked up. Someone who isn’t necessarily how you imagine,
doesn’t necessarily speak how you imagine, or even someone who does.”
While she is supportive of the many other events happening to
support and connect community in the face of these tragedies, Fennel also
encourages you to come out to this or another fundraiser to make an impact: “There’s
more of an added drive. Not only do I feel like I could do something tomorrow,
I know I did something today.”
To participate virtually in this fundraiser, donate at:https://www.classy.org/team/250297 Want to be involved but can’t make it to the fundraiser? Here are some things you can doto make a difference: – Write a letter to your representatives, senate, and local political officials. – Contact your governor, who can aid in establishing sanctuary cities and preventing state level guard from being used as a resource by ICE – Encourage your city officials to prevent local enforcement from cooperating with ICE – Donate to an organization of your choice that you trust is doing their utmost to help refugees and immigrants who are adversely affected by this targeting – Use your voice however you speak the loudest—through art, music, writing, conversation—to keep awareness spreading in your community – Share posts on social media. Keep sharing. Don’t let this conversation drop.