It’s been nearly a week since we got back from DC for the annual AWP conference. We felt strange being in DC, happy to see so many friends while many of us feel unsafe in the nation’s capitol due to the current GOP administration.
But we found ways to act up and to resist. We asked apt contributors who stopped by the table to start a conversation [heart] with the administration. We were lucky to see so many apt contributors take part—Ray Shea, Glenn Shaheen, Suzannah Russ Spaar, Lucia LoTempio, Simeon Berry, Alex McElroy, Kurt Klopmeier, Elisa Gabbert, Andrew Bertaina, Aaron Brown, Gillian Devereux, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Lena Bertone, Yun Wei, Emily Jaeger, Shannon Austin, Danielle Evennou, Meghan Lamb, Kendra Fortmeyer, and Gregory Crosby, and you can read their Conversation Hearts at our Instagram page.
We also had the opportunity to host five great apt contributors and AP authors at a reading on Friday night at the Black Squirrel.
Everyone was at the top of their game, and you can watch a snippet of Krysten Hill’s reading, specifically her poem “Prayer” from her recently released chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out.
We also co-sponsored a candlelight vigil for free speech on Saturday night across the street from the White House, where we heard so many heartening speeches and readings from astounding writers, including Literary Firsts alum, Melissa Febos, whose speech ended with, (our paraphrase) “A vigil means staying awake and alert during the time when you would normally be asleep. Don’t go to sleep. This vigil is going to last long after we throw these candles away.”
In keeping with that sentiment, we’re committed to staying awake and continuing to resist. We’re working on two events in the Boston area:
First, a marathon reading of Sinclair Lewis’s satirical (though now potentially prescient) political novel, It Can’t Happen Here, which involves a journalist’s fight against the fascist regime of a new president in 1930s US. The reading will be free and open to the public and take approx. 16 hours, but we’re looking forward to it, and we’ll have more info on the date and location soon.
Second, Randolph and I (Carissa) are taking part in the AIDS Walk in June. We’ve done so before as course marshals, but now we’ve assembled an Aforementioned team to walk and raise money and awareness for those living in Boston and Massachusetts with HIV and AIDS. If you’re interested in walking with us, we’d love to have your support! Just visit our page at the AIDS Action Committee site, and click “Join Team.”
And if you’re too far away, or you can’t make it, we hope you’ll consider sending a donation. You can read about where your donation goes at the AAC site.
We feel this cause is particularly important now, with the Affordable Care Act at risk of being eliminated. People with pre-existing conditions will be particularly vulnerable to losing their access to healthcare. We want to help them as much as we can, and we’d love to have your help. Even if you’re not in Boston, and even if you don’t have the means to make a donation, we hope you’ll spread the word and help us reach as many people as possible.