In Solidarity – From the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop recognizes that the 2016 election failed to acknowledge climate change, racism and homophobia, and the denial of human rights therein. 2016—encompassing the presidential election, Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, the continued efforts and actions to defund Planned Parenthood and the continued acts of police brutality against people of color, at large and in Standing Rock—was a year of mourning, protesting and solidarity. Now, in 2017, the list of injustices only continues to grow, and Trump’s presidency has only just begun. We will not be complacent.

Today, on the inauguration of President Trump, we mourn for—and protest—the violent manifestations of racism in the United States, as evidenced by the murders of Terrence Crutcher, Khalid Jabara and, still, more. We mourn for—and protest—the Pulse Nightclub Shooting and the continued dehumanization, discrimination and violence against Transgender People and other members of the LGBTQIAP+ community. Considering our VP-Elect, Mike Pence’s  track record of anti-LGBTQIAP+ policies, we are afraid that the progress made for LGBTQIAP+ rights will be stripped away—that those who identify under different sexualities and genders will face discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.” We are afraid that “law and order,” that vague but governing ethical principle in the United States, will continue to enable devastating acts of violence, particularly against people of color.

We mourn for—and protest—the minimization of climate change throughout the 2016 presidential election, both in debates and beyond to news and media coverage, as well as the devastation we have brought upon our earth and, most recently, made manifest in Hurricane Matthew and continued drought in California. We mourn for—and protest—the continued pollution of water in Flint, Michigan and the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline and its inevitable contribution to the wreckage of our earth, as well as its denial of the rights of those at Standing Rock, and the implications of the American attitude towards Native peoples therein. We understand, too, that climate change’s devastation extends beyond the United States. We won’t let the Trump deny the grave manifestations of climate change. We protest our nation’s “collective cowardice,” per Kerry Emanuel. We at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will do our part to support environmental organizations to ensure our concerns take constructive shape.

Similarly, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop rejects the rise of hate crimes in the wake of the presidential election. We find it extremely disturbing that swastikas are appearing across the country and hateful acts are being committed in the name of President Trump.  Even if Trump does not openly condone these acts, the language and policies of his campaign have paved the way for racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and biased behavior to become disturbingly normalized.  Trump is the first president to be endorsed by the KKK, and neo-Nazis, white supremacists and members of the alt-right have all praised him.  Many supporters of Trump would change his slogan, “Make America Great Again” to “Make America White Again.” With the appointment of people like Stephen Bannon, formerly of the white supremacist Breitbart News, to Trump’s cabinet, people are realizing that the President Elect is surrounding himself with a team of people who have a history of supporting white supremacist politics.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is a sanctuary organization that is actively anti-bias and does not discriminate against members of our community based on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or ethnic background.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will not turn away from combating climate change, racism and homophobia, and will engage in meaningful conversation with our peers to ensure that continued awareness and action persists.

We believe in art and provocation that crosses borders and challenges institutions.  Each writer, each instructor, each visionary, and each provocateur, who walks through our doors, creates, interrogates, and redefines the culture in which we live.  Our goal is to make America queer, female, multi-ethnic, immigrant, undocumented, multilingual, multicultural, heterodox, unafraid, self-aware, nonviolent, secular, and communal.  As writers, our goal is make America a welcoming, self-reflective, and dynamic location of culture. As an organization with queer, female, immigrant, multicultural and multilingual members, we welcome and accept those of different creeds and ways of life and aesthetics. We welcome and encourage all writers to express themselves through art and their unique narratives, to move culture forward just a little bit, and to be a part of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.

Signed,

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
Diana Norma Szokolyai, Artistic Director
Rita Banerjee, Creative Director
Emily Smith, Programming and Arts Manager
Alexander Carrigan, Managing Editorial and PR Intern
Anne Malin Ringwalt, Programming and Development Intern
Anna-Celestrya Carr, Media Development Intern
Shannon Sawyer, Media Arts Intern

January 20, 2017

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