This weekend was the inaugural meeting of Writers Resist Philadelphia -- you know, the inaugural before the inauguration. Writers Resist is a new national movement that hopes to protect civil rights and freedom of expression under the incoming Trump administration. On Sunday, Writers Resist rallies were held around the United States, and here, the National Museum of American Jewish History hosted an event organized by Stephanie Feldman, Alicia Askenase, and Nathaniel Popkin in an overflowing house.
The revolution will not be televised
Broad Street Review was well represented in the audience. I attended, as did BSR associate editor Alaina Mabaso, podcaster Darnelle Radford, and freelance writer Stacia Friedman. If I missed some others, it's only because the crowd was so big. The event lasted three hours, and featured nearly 40 professional writers -- including such local literary lights as Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Lorene Cary, and Leonard Gontarek -- reading excerpts from some of their favorite poems, speeches, essays, and more, all celebrating the spirit of freedom.
If you're unfamiliar with Jameson Fitzpatrick's 2016 poem "I Woke Up," read that day by author Lauren Grodstein, get familiar with it. If you've never considered Elie Wiesel's 1999 speech at then-President Clinton's Millenium Lecture series, "The Perils of Indifference," which Temple University writing professor Kelly McQuain chose to read, it's time to start considering it. If you haven't thought of Langston Hughes's poem "Let America Be America Again," in the context of our President-elect's campaign slogan, which poet and memoirist Thomas Devaney did when he dedicated his reading to civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, get thinking.
But even more important, scroll down to meet some of the people in your city who have chosen the pen over the sword, and who are using their words to make a difference.
To hear Darnelle Radford's podcast interview with Writers Resist organizer Stephanie Feldman, click here.
To read Stacia Friedman's essay about her experience at the Writers Resist rally, click here.