FACT: over 27 million people worldwide are enslaved--more than ever before in history.
FACT: over 1 million are enslaved in the USA including thousands in the Boston area.
What is Amirah?
Amirah is a non-profit organization located in the Boston area dedicated to providing “transformative whole-person care for survivors of commercial exploitation [otherwise known as 'human trafficking' or 'slavery'] as we engage, educate and mobilize our communities and partners to respond to human trafficking.”
This care transpires by mobilizing the greater community to create safe spaces that provide opportunities for healing, restoration and re-integration. Individualized approaches are used to address the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and vocational needs of each survivor. This allows survivors to engage with their community in a mutually meaningful manner.
For more on Amirah go to: www.amirahboston.org
Using Poetry as an "Expressive Therapy"
This past Winter I taught a six week "expressive therapy" Poetry Workshop to several residents at the Amirah Safe House. All the residents were recovering from some sort of commercial and/or sexual exploitation and trauma. Therefore, in this class the process of creation was emphasized rather than the final product--I worked on the assumption that healing takes place through use of imagination as well as creative expression.
I'm honored to say that the residents loved the workshop and want me back to teach! The Amirah house directors, however, want this to be a sustainable endeavor--so,they've applied for grants to provide a stipend for these classes.
But, grants take time to come in and the residents are eager to begin classes. They all recognize the power of words to energize, revive, reveal and heal. That's where you come in--donate now to start up not one but two Free2Write Poetry Workshops!
A bit about me...
I've twelve years experience teaching creative writing classes at colleges throughout New England. As well I'm a published writer--my essays and poems have been published in over 30 literary journals--and I've released three chapbooks, a CD of accompanied recitations, and one full length poetry book titled The Fool. I'm also a wife, and mother of two beautiful children to whom I dedicate this work.
For over a year I've been working on a manuscript of poems exploring human-trafficking (especially sex-trafficking) and objectification in America. After reading so many horror stories, mostly by young women, I felt I could do more to help than just write about what I read or recorded during interviews--I felt I could empower survivors in my community to tell their own stories, and utilize the power of words and writing to heal and to move forward. That's how Free2Write began.
(That's me on the Boston Commons reading my anti-human-trafficking poetry at a protest rally. More on me: www.fishwifetales.com)
$2800 is needed to fund two upcoming Free2Write Poetry Workshops:
-$1200 stipend to teach the Summer class.
-$1200 stipend to teach the Fall class.
-$200 for Indiegogo campaign costs
-$100 for mailings & the cost of "donor perks"
Perky Perks (make great GIFTS)!!!
When you donate you get stuff--yay! And remember, these perks also make great GIFTS :) Delivery times vary--though most will happen in August.
-"Love All the Girls" thank-you-postcards: my Pushcart nominated poem about Harriet Tubman will be printed on a beautiful postcard that I'll send with my copious THANKS! An "unlimited" number of people can claim this perk :)
-On Your Way to a Miracle poetry chapbook by Amirah residents. An "unlimited" number of people can claim this perk :)
-Beautiful-Book-Bundles: signed copies of three books by noted authors (click each name for more info on the author); including: Fred Marchant, Richard Hoffman, Idra Novey, Afaa Weaver, Brian Turner, Ilyse Kusnetz, January O'Neil, Timothy Gager, Laurette Folk, Diane Lockward, Susan Rich, Natalie Diaz, Joseph Legaspi, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Jill McDonough.
-Poetry-packet consultation and editing: I will give you written feedback on 3-5 poems (I'll need the poems for at least 2 weeks)--if you're not a writer, give this as a GIFT!
-Poetry manuscript consultation and editing: I will give you written and verbal feedback on your 48-72 page poetry manuscript (I'll need the ms. for at least 30 days)--if you're not a writer, give this as a GIFT!
-FREE tuition for one upcoming Morning Garden Writers Retreat: 2014 dates are the weekend of September 26th, and the weekend of October 10th; for more info on the retreats, visit: www.mgretreats.weebly.com
"On Your Way to a Miracle"
At the end of each workshop residents will compile their poems into a chapbook of their own to use at Amirah fundraisers and to share with loved ones. When I taught the workshop this past winter we put together On Your Way to a Miracle and a few of the residents read from the book at AWAKEN, Highrock Church's art exhibit and benefit concert for Amirah.
Special THANK YOUs to Two Sylvias Press!!!
The co-editors at Two Sylvias Press have generously donated 12 resource books for residents to use during their Free2Write workshops--YAY!
To find out more about Two Sylvias Press and/or to order your own copy of The Daily Poet, visit: www.twosylviaspress.com/books.html
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't contribute, that doesn't mean you can't help:
-This campaign is also a way to raise awareness about modern day slavery--so if you are unable to donate, PLEASE POST THIS LINK to your facebook page, twitter feed, blog site, any where at all!
-If you tweet about the campaign, be sure to include my handle @fishwifetales so I can RT :)
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!
With special snuggly thanks to Laurin Macios & January O'Neil for invaluable advice in setting up & running this campaign. I'm bowing down to your collective amazingness--you two ROCK!!!