20 Young Writers Of Color Share Their Favorite Poems

Colour 2

Article originally published in  The Huffington Post by Priscilla Frank Arts Writer.

“The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind.”

In December, The New York Times invited noted writers, actors and public figures to share their favorite poems, reaching out to people like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elena Ferrante Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham and Junot Díaz, among others.

After reading the published list, Tabia Alexine, a Los Angeles-based curator and creative, was disappointed. “It was a compelling group, but not as diverse and intersectionally colorful as I’d hoped,” she explained to The Huffington Post. Soon after, Alexine embarked on a project of her own, reaching out to young writers of color she admired to bring the original list the multiplicity both readers and writers deserve.

Alexine collected the perspectives of 20 new voices, each explaining the power of a single poem. “The responses reflect a spectrum of experience among the writers,” she explained. “But I did notice that several poems discussed discovery, social justice, and resistance through existence and survival.”

Looking forward, Alexine hopes future articles in outlets like The New York Times will represent a wider range of backgrounds and perspectives. And that the cultural landscape at large will follow suit. “I hope to see poetry and art by talented persons of color more widely distributed via TV, film, in commercials, at events, galleries, and conferences,” she continued. “I love seeing books like The Breakbeat Poets sold at major retailer, Barnes & Noble. I also believe performance poets and writers deserve increased honorariums for their work. I want to be a catalyst, pushing all of those things forward.”

Right in time for Black History Month, Alexine’s diversified anthology speaks to the importance of poetry to voices too often marginalized or silenced. “It can be such a powerful platform for truth-telling, disruption, affirmation, and empathy,” she said. “The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind. These 20 individuals are unapologetically taking up space and making noise as writers, activists, performers, educators, literary editors, students, and so much more.”

Learn about their favorite poems, and the stories behind them: 

http://goo.gl/jZQGlp

World’s Top AIDS Researchers Were Among Those Killed In MH17 Tragedy

Research 1THE world’s best AIDS researchers perished in the Malaysia Airlines crash leaving a gaping hole in the field.

There were scores of AIDS activists, researchers and health workers on board the ill-fated flight bound for 20th International AIDS Conference starting in Melbourne before the tragedy.

Among the dead was prominent Dutch researcher Joep Lange, who has been a pioneer in HIV research and research since the early eighties.

He was the former president of the International Aids Society and his work included preventing HIV being transmitted from a mother to their child.

Other notable delegates who died were Dr Lucie van Mens, who since 1995 has focused on HIV and AIDs prevention and the World Health Organisation’s Glenn Thomas.

AIDs campaigners Pim de Kuijer and Jacqueline van Tongeren were also among the dead.

Combating Vaccine Extremism In America

Polio 5Vaccine against Polio in Africa contaminated, giving birth to Africa’s Aids crisis today. Polio victims in Sierra Leone.

Article by Barbara Loe Fisher and published in National Vaccine Information Center Health Magazine.

2016 will be my 34th year as a vaccine safety and human rights activist. For more than 20 years I have been warning that the day would come when vaccine extremists and profiteers would move to legally force Americans to buy and use all government mandated vaccines and punish those who refuse. 

Still, it was a shock to see it happen in California this year, even as I know that preparations are being made by vaccine extremists to attack the religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions in more states next year.

But knowing and predicting what will happen is very different from watching it actually happen.

Born in Minnesota to a mother, who was a nurse, and a father, who fought on the beach at Anzio and then re-enlisted in the Army after returning from World War II,  I was raised with a deep respect for the values and beliefs upon which this Republic was founded and for the natural rights and principles of democratic government outlined in the U.S. Constitution. 

Like so many others who are grateful for freedom of thought and religion in this country, my abiding faith in a Creator of the natural order sustains me during my life’s journey and I believe Americans will not give up the natural rights and cultural values that define who we are as a nation without a fight.

Earlier this year, when vaccine extremists and profiteers used a few cases of measles at Disneyland to attack freedom of speech, thought, religious belief and assembly, my heart sank. It was painful to watch good people be demonized for simply criticizing poorly tested vaccines and inhumane one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.

Then, when dozens of pharmaceutical and medical industry-backed bills were introduced in multiple states to eliminate religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions so citizens could be tracked, discriminated against, segregated and punished for making vaccine choices that do not conform with government policy, I held my breath.

What would the people do? Would they bow down and cower before their oppressors, or would they stand up and defend their natural rights and civil liberties?

In a remarkable display of outrage, common sense and courage, we witnessed mothers, fathers and grandparents from every walk of life in California show up by the thousands to testify in legislative hearings and hold rallies in Sacramento opposing a forced vaccination law that was rammed through the legislature, despite the biggest public protests in that state Capitol since the Viet Nam war.

The same thing happened in Vermont, where industry lobbyists strong armed enough legislators to eliminate the philosophical belief vaccine exemption despite overwhelming public opposition, even as spirited citizen action in Texas and nine other states was successful in blocking the passage of bills stripping away personal belief vaccine exemptions.

Continue reading: http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/December-2015/combating-vaccine-extremism-in-america.aspx