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Buzzer Thirty calls on Artists and writers to respond ….no right to assume otherwise

Below is an important call for work from Alex and Rob at the Queens-based art organization Buzzer Thirty.  I hope that you NYC-area-folks will consider participating.

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Dear Friends,

There has been a great of activity recently by extremist groups across the country–Tea Party rallies and extremist militias.  Health care reform seems to have escalated these movements, but they have been growing since the election of Obama.  While the issues on which these groups focus are not uniform, immigration and race seem somewhere very near the core of it all.   The Tea Party generated a much attention over the weekend, often being portrayed as a respectable political movement. In the past year “Patriot” militia groups have surged in numbers, centering on issues of conspiracy theories and racism.  The message pervading this rhetoric is “take back our country.”  One may ask: take back from whom?  In an NYT Op-Ed piece, Frank Rich (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html) makes the case that the Tea Party and militia movements are primarily concerned about losing America to people of color, gays and immigrants. Are thousands (more?) of Americans arming themselves out of fear of a non-white America while many millions passively watch on.  Will immigration be the topic that further divides the nation and pushes these groups to more serious action?

Buzzer Thirty is calling on our artist and writer friends to offer a reflection, response or defense to this movement.   We will host a group exhibition and event around these works. 

We request that all interested artists and writers notify us of their intent to participate by April 16 (works do not need to be finish by this date, just a proposal–final works will need to be submitted by April 22).  I know this is not a lot of time, but we want this response to be timely. The opening of the exhibition and the reading will be on April 24th at 6pm and show will run through May 15. 
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

The show does not have a definite name as of yet.  If you are interested in helping curate or organize the show, please contact me ASAP [robmaitra@gmail.com].

For more information on these movements, you can check out these links:
http://www.splcenter.org
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S38VioxnBaI
http://vodpod.com/watch/3305282-stop-the-tea-party-racism
http://vodpod.com/watch/3290704-axel-w-caballero-latinos-launching-campaign-exposing-tea-party-racism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr-0088ZLno
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30militia.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-webster/racism-and-the-tea-party_b_515854.html

“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”    James Baldwin

In response to extremist protesters hurling bigoted slurs at civil rights hero U.S. Rep John Lewis,  U.S. Rep Barney Frank and  Rep. Ciro Rodriguez and spitting on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at the health care vote on Capital Hill, Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center asks, “Will “the best of American instincts,” to use Dr. King’s words from 45 years ago, once again arise “passionately from across the nation to overcome” the hate and fear that threatens to engulf us?”

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Rob and Alex

Michael Leong is the author of the poetry books e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge. His creative work has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and Bettering American Poetry, Volume 3. His co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s long poem Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven is forthcoming from co•im•press in late 2019. His critical monograph Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in May 2020. He has received grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.

3 thoughts on “Buzzer Thirty calls on Artists and writers to respond ….no right to assume otherwise

  1. …and to reflect a bit more on this urgency– this Cohen quote at the end makes me think of Yeats’ negative example in “The Second Coming”:

    …everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  2. I love that they asked for “Public Defenders”, now they know about the undercover FBI agent. The simpleton Tea baggers keep missing the point. These are the same whiners that were crying when the McCain/Bailin ticket lost. Now they are crying again because their yelling and screaming (because they are haters not debaters) did not stop health care debate or the bill from passing. They think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something they are not the only ones that are armed and not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey then the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. So it’s only fitting that their leaders are Sarah Bailin, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and their turn coat Glenn Beck. So if you are bothered that there are some misconceptions of your group, well then I think you need to be more careful who you invite to give you speeches.

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