Updated: Sep 16, 2021
I don't feel calmer these days. But I feel hopeful. I feel engaged in the community more. Some global and local situations call for action. One way I take action is by speaking up through writing.
I offer questions. I realize one of my strengths is that I'm a writer of questions not so much a writer of answers or solutions. I write poems that ask open-ended questions in the hopes that people have time and space to reflect. I post on social media and contact local government and elected officials with my questions, my concerns. I have a solid, positive correspondence with my mayor and county commissioner.
On a lighter note, I am delighted to share that a poem of mine has been included in a published international anthology. The book's indie publisher Blood Moon Poetry Press just published its first anthology, Faces of Womanhood. I am grateful that the editors chose to donate all proceeds to Womankind Worldwide and Women for Afghan Women.
My current online project is a small way to help ensure more safety in public schools for children. I look one-by-one at each of the 254 counties in Texas to see which independent school districts already have COVID case counts or dashboards updated daily or weekly on their websites. Harris County was the first to have 100% of its districts with dashboard info. If a district doesn't seem to have the info posted, then I contact their administration and explain, for example, that they are only one of 3 out of all 20 school districts without dashboard info. I explain that I'm aware this is not a Texas Education Agency requirement but I suggest that transparent communication during a crisis can be effective leadership strategy. If they squirm or refuse my request, I'll just continue to politely apply pressure because the school families deserve to have this measure for accountability purposes. It might be coincidence but I've seen websites get updated after I contact them.
I ask the school boards questions about their plans to respond to this pandemic. How do they measure what percentage of their school population has to be sick or directly exposed in order for the school to close? I remind elected officials of their sworn oath or their office's mission statement.
In the near future, I will be establishing a correspondence with a Texas State Board of Education elected official who lives in the same town as me. I would like to find out her explanations of the recent legislation on school course material. I have grave concerns but I am open to hearing new information and other points of view.
I would love to hear what writing is keeping you engaged during these times? What ways have you found to engage in local community activism?