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Washington DC Poets Engage in "Walk of Shame" to Embassies of Countries Where Poetry is Banished

September 16, 2011

MEDIA ADVISORY – Event Saturday, 09/24/2011, 11:00 AM ET
Sarah Browning, Split This Rock Poetry Festival, (202) 262-4036 mobile, browning@splitthisrock.org
Lacy MacAuley, Institute for Policy Studies, (202) 445-4692 mobile, lacy@ips-dc.org

When:  Saturday, September 24, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Where: Meeting at Embassy of Yemen, 2319 Wyoming Ave NW, Washington DC
March Route: Embassy of Yemen, Embassy of Burma, Embassy of Turkmenistan
Who: Split this Rock, Foreign Policy in Focus (a project of the Institute for Policy Studies), Washington DC area poets

Washington DC – Area poets will march from the Embassy of Yemen, to the Embassy of Burma, to the Embassy of Turkmenistan to call attention to the repression of artistic expression, including poetry, in those countries. At each embassy, participants will read poems in translation by poets from that country whose free speech rights are suppressed. The Washington DC event is sponsored by Split This Rock Poetry Festival and Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. The event is part of a global day of action organized by 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

“Even while poets in 450 cities in 95 countries are organizing 600 events – the largest poetry reading in history – September 24, poets in too many countries around the world will be silent, out of fear for their safety,” said Sarah Browning, Director of Split this Rock. “Join Split This Rock and Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, as we give voice to some of those poets for one day.”

100 Thousand Poets for Change is the brainchild of Bay Area poet and publisher Michael Rothenberg. Events planned for September 24 range from poetry and peace gatherings in strife-torn Kabul and Jalalabad to 20 collective poetic actions in Mexico City where poets, painters, filmmakers and musicians will spread the word of peace and non-violence with day-long readings and workshops.

There are over 270 events in the United States, 29 in India, 7 in Nigeria, 17 in Canada, 19 in Great Britain, 5 in China, with more being added each day.

All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

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Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.