Last night, I attended the launch event for the 30 Poems in November Campaign at the Center for New Americans offices in Northampton. A man from Ethiopia who is one of the students in the Center’s free English as a Second Language Program, spoke to us about how his life had been changed by the work of the Center for New Americans.

He ended off by saying, “Sometimes we look at small things and don’t realize they are big. I will explain. The Center is not such a big organization, but they have changed my life, and if they have changed my life they have changed my children’s lives and all the generations that will come from me. That is a big thing.”

Every year in November, The Center for New Americans, a non-profit organization, runs the 30 Poems in November initiative in order to raise money for their important work of supporting immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Western Massachusetts.

I signed up for this year’s challenge. My goal is to raise $5,000. Why? Two reasons. I love poetry, I think it’s awesome whenever artists come together to support a worthy cause and I’m new to the United States.

 

The first two reasons are self-explanatory. I’ll talk a bit about the third one. While I haven’t had a reason to use the services of The Center for New Americans, I think it’s a great and much-needed initiative.

Moving house is acknowledged by psychologists to be among the most traumatic events that routinely happen to us. Moving country is in a whole league of its own. But imagine moving country and not having any sort of support structures, or any one to welcome you or help you settle in and help you understand the new culture you find yourself in. Imagine sometimes finding yourself in an environment that seems hostile to you because you don’t speak the local language fluently or because you practice a different religion? Imagine facing all this after fleeing hostility or adverse conditions in your own country?

These are scenarios faced every day by immigrants around the world. The Center for New Americans, which I only found out about this week, provides a landing pad that avails a lot of this support here in Western Massachusetts. Their work provides a model that should inspire similar organizations in other countries.

As soon as I read about the work that the Center does I knew I had to take part in the 30 Poems challenge.

So here we are. I will write a poem a day and share them on Facebook during the month of November. ‘Writing’ a poem in this instance includes finding my old ideas and notes for poems, dusting them off and finishing them.  Above is the first one.

I will share the poems in various formats; video, audio and text, depending on how the creative winds blow. 

If I make my goal, I will thank everyone who participated by doing 100 pushups on Facebook Live. That means I need to do some training as well this month, lots of it… just in case. 

Here’s the link to the campaign: cnam.org/civicrm/pcp/info?reset=1&id=336&component=contribute. Please donate and share. Thank you! 

 

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Poem: You’ll Find Me Brave (© 2019 Fungai Tichawangana aka Iz Mazano)
Picture by Wolfgang Claussen on Pixabay 

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