Diversity Activism in NWU Chapters

Fall 2002 to Spring 2003

Compiled by Barbara Beckwith of Boston

The San Francisco Local's Fiction and Poetry Caucus held a reading related to disability. Readers included Sue Doro on carpal tunnel and workman's compensation, Alice Rogoff on "lazy eyes," and Geoffrey Cook.

The NY-based SPIN caucus for writers of African heritage, held a several-hour memorial to celebrate the life of poet June Jordan.

The NWU organized a "Unions in the Newsroom" table, shared with AFTRA, CWA and Pride at Work, at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Philadelphia.

The NY Local held a National Coming Out Day reading that featured a special tribute to late poet June Jordan. The reading was co-sponsored by Pride At Work (AFL-CIO), the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, and the New School Graduate Writing Program.

The Los Angeles Local held a meeting with Marcela Landres, a Simon and Schuster book editor who specializes in Latino/Latina manuscripts, which drew 60 writers to University of California/Riverside.

The San Francisco Local's Fiction and Poetry Caucus held a reading focussed on Native American subjects, featuring Abena Songbird and Jack Forbes.

Southeast Michigan Local members joined the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday peace walk and celebration in Southfield.

Los Angeles Local activists tabled the West Hollywood Book Fair, which draws from the area's large LGBT population.

The Twin Cities Local's "Radical Writes" subgroup launched a series of public forum, with a discussion of issues raised by Harryette Mullen's "Poetry and Identity," followed by a second forum on C.D. Wright's book-length poem, "DeepStep Come Shining." The April 2003 forum is on Joy Harjo's "In Mad Love and War" and on issues of language, gender, resistance to dominant culture, stereotyping of the Native community, and the post-Colonial atmosphere in which Native authors right.

The New Jersey Local organized a two-day "Writing for Our Rights" conference at the Rutgers Newark Campus, featuring Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim-American writers speaking on topics issues as threats to civil rights and the impact on writers, self-censorship, writers as activists, writers and writing on the Israel-Palestine struggle. Co- sponsored by the NWU's New York and Philadelphia locals, and by the Socialist Party and Workers Democracy Network. Participants included members and activists of writers' groups, immigrant groups, unions, student organizations, anti-war and socialist organizations. The conference, drew 100 participants, and its "activists plenary" set up an on- going "Writers and Activists for Civil Rights" network.

The NY-based SPIN Black Writers Caucus hosted a February 2003 Writers and Artists Dinner and Discussion in Manhattan.

The San Francisco/Bay Area Local declared its support for journalist Roger Callero, the associate editor of Prospectiva Mundial, a progressive Spanish-language news magazine, in his struggle against the INS to remain in this country.

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