Writing is generally seen as a quiet, well-behaved enterprise.But that’s not necessarily the case when it’s being used to speak out against injustice. To that end, a group of writers will read from historical, contemporary and original works at “Writers Resist Hate” on Sunday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow.
Historically, writers have played an important role in bringing societal change. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., around whom the event was organized, have long used their writings to speak of wrongs, propose solutions and call people to action.
“The big idea of the event is that this can be an affirmation that there have already been writers speaking out for centuries,” said Alexandra Teague, a writer and professor of poetry at the University of Idaho, and one of the event’s coordinators.
By looking at past and current writers who have sought social change through their writing, Teague hopes people will be inspired to continue reading and writing on the subject.
In addition, the event is meant to affirm what is hoped are the values of the community, Teague said.
“We want to protect our most vulnerable citizens from hate crimes and hate speech,” she said.
“Writers Resist Hate” is part of a national and international movement of writers standing in support of social justice in conjunction with King’s Jan. 15 birthday.
“It’s a response to the recent rise in hate crimes and misinformation and concerns for upholding truly inclusive democracy,” Teague said.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with area musicians who are part of the long tradition of protest songwriting. At 6 p.m. around 15 writers — including professors, students and community members — will read historical and contemporary selections on social justice as well as their own writings. The event will conclude with a half-hour open mic for those who wish to read a brief piece; signups will be at the door.
“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. … Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
— “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (excerpt), Martin Luther King Jr.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: “Writers Resist Hate”
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, Moscow
COST: Free; donations