From The Southern Fried Board of Directors: We stand together
For inclusion and equity for all.
We reconvened board meetings last week, and seeing what has transpired at the start of this week, we feel it is important to reflect on what is going on across the U.S. recently following the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the ugly confrontations between police and protesters, and many other acts of racism and violence that have occurred throughout our nation’s recent history. These incidents are disturbing and inexcusable, and we feel compelled to speak up in support of equity for all.
When we think about why Southern Fried Poetry exists – to give voice to the voiceless and to respectfully embrace each other’s differences so that we may enrich the well-being of everyone – it applies to how we as poets help everyone, everywhere in their pursuit for a better life.
Our purpose is a promise, and it’s why we firmly believe that even our differences make us a stronger team, and it’s why for almost 30 years we have celebrated the differences that make us all unique, and it is also why poets always raise our voices in support of those who are treated unfairly.
We are all experiencing a range of emotions following these tragic and painful incidents – sadness, anger, frustration, fear – and our black and brown communities in particular are hurting. You are not alone; together our hearts are breaking, and together we stand as one Southern Fried Poetry community. We will need to be respectful of how we each deal with and process what’s happening. We cannot let these incidents divide us or define us. We can instead use this as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to come together as a positive model for change within our communities.
Additionally, we ask you to join us on June 19 for a show of global solidarity by wearing your Southern Fried Poetry t-shirt and holding 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in protest of injustices against the black community. We selected June 19 – also known as Juneteenth – for this observation because of the date’s historical and personal significance to African Americans.
In these times of discord, your community may call upon you to lend your voice as a poet. If taken to task, we encourage you to reflect upon your conversations and experiences with other Southern Fried poets, who have demonstrated the potentiality of speaking truth to power. Poetry is about naming things: it is about naming the injustices in society and naming the people we should honor. Poetry is about naming the monuments that should be torn down and the ones that should be put up in their place. Remember that our work stands on the foundation of thousands of brilliant artists and intellectuals, and we are never alone when standing at the mic in front of a crowd desperate for the good word.
Now more than ever, we need to do what is right and stand together for justice and equity for all. We all have a responsibility to work together to foster fair, safe and healthy communities where everyone can live, grow and thrive. We’re confident this is how we can continue to showcase the best of the spoken word community. We encourage you to continue to engage each other in dialog on our website community and other social media outlets while being aware of your personal health and wellness.
If you or someone you know would like to support visit the Southern Fried Poetry Online Resource Center, we will be making regular updates there. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Directors
Southern Fried Poetry, Inc.