Monday, November 14, 2016

Activism & the Arts in Post-Election ATL

My daughter (in the box) & her friend K. @ the Teardown
If you read my blog at all, you know my position on pot. I am one of its most vocal parental proponents. I think all adults and patients should have the right to responsible use. I also have chosen this as a personal cause because the call to end cannabis prohibition also calls attention to basic human rights (especially for mothers and people of color), as well as to the need for criminal justice reform. This all remains of paramount importance to me. (I'm even writing a book about it, if you haven't heard. There's more info. on that available here.) However, I recognize that these are some powerful times for change and that my local activism extends beyond NORML. I also recognize that now, in the wake of Donald Trump's presumptive presidential nomination and the Standing Rock protests, I've become surrounded by people who suddenly feel:

1. More inspired to take direct action.

2. More inspired to use creative expression as a means of action.

3. Physically and mentally drained, much in need of self care and support.

With these things in mind, I've put together the following list of helpful resources within Atlanta.

The Teardown Community 

Headquartered in the Edgewood area of ATL near Hosea Williams, the colorful community house is regularly home to Food Not Bombs, the Free Store and East Atlanta Cop Watch. More recently, the Teardown has organized protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and has been gathering donations and support for Standing Rock. After going to cast our vote last Tuesday, my daughter and I headed to the Teardown to drop of supplies for the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock. She's pictured with her friend (& somewhat seasoned protestor) K.

Charis Books & More

Presently located in Atlanta's L5P, Charis reigns as the South's oldest feminist book store. It is a safe space and motivation central for Atlanta's feminist and gender-nonconforming community.


Located on Memorial a short distance from L5P, WonderRoot provides valuable resources to local artists. 

Herbalista Herb Bus @ The Big House

The last Wednesday of every month, people can participate for free and reduced costs in this comprehensive herbal clinic and alternative health fair.

The Land Trust

This space within Candler Park offers nature and solace in the center of the city. 

Deer, Bear, Wolf 

 A self-proclaimed "multi-faceted platform celebrating and connecting Atlanta’s arts, music, and literary scenes," DBW acts as a gateway for creatives seeking to connect with more people and ideas. 

 In addition to all that is unique to Atlanta, national organizations offer plenty of opportunities for local action. Some of my favorite organizations are summarized here.

Finally, the towns outside the city have their own voices too, of course,  and it can be rewarding to look deeper and listen well. For example, I grew up in Rome, Georgia, where Jessie Reed formed the organization Turn Your Back on Hate earlier this year and is now hosting a series of awareness raising art pop-ups called PERCs. I'm happy to have shared poetry at the inaugural PERC last Saturday. More on that to come! 

For now, remember: Showing up to life is difficult. Take it one step at a time and celebrate all victories you see, large and small.

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