Stephen Wing: activist . . .

As a writer, much of my activism naturally takes the form of writing. This includes letters to public officials and the press, public comments on regulatory proposals, and what I call "activist journalism" – public prose that makes no pretense of so-called "objectivity." But I also write poetry on political and environmental issues that inspire me, which I frequently perform at protest rallies and other political events. This gives the gathering a break from listening to speeches, as well as a break from the intellectual approach most speeches tend to take. Poetry offers a different perspective on the issue in question, one with the immediacy of things seen, smelled, tasted and felt, giving emotions and imagination their proper place in what it means to be a full-spectrum human who cares about the world.

Click here to read my essay "The Poet as Activist."

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My main focus as an activist these days is the Lake Claire Community Land Trust, a community greenspace near downtown Atlanta founded by a group of visionary neighbors 30 years ago. I moved to Lake Claire in 1993 to live closer to this beautiful oasis of green and its community of caretakers. In 2009, soon after it was anointed an official 501(c)3 nonprofit, I joined the board and now serve as Secretary. My duties include wordsmithing for the Land Trust website, our monthly update in the Lake Claire Clarion, our brochure, our bulletin board, meeting minutes and more.

Click here to visit the Land Trust website.

Click here to see the Land Trust brochure I designed.

Click here to read my article "What the Lake Claire Community Land Trust Means to Me," published in the January 2011 Lake Claire Clarion.

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Another recent project (now apparently defunct) is 50 Artists, a collective of socially and politically aware artists in all mediums – visual, literary, musical – working to raise funds and awareness. Each of our events focused on a different issue: police violence, prisons, education, and homelessness. Starting with the second of these, I helped with organizing and set-up, performed poetry, and handled recycling for each event. To learn more, visit our website and our MySpace page.

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I support the following organizations on an ongoing basis. Click these links to find out what's happening in the Atlanta area:

Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition — coordinating local efforts to end the war on Iraq

Environment Georgia — defending our state's natural heritage against pollution and overdevelopment

Women's Action for New Directions — resisting our society's pervasive culture of war

School of the Americas Watch — working to close a school at Ft. Benning, Georgia, that trains Latin American soldiers in "state-sponsored terrorism"

Environmental Defense — national and international efforts to preserve the natural world for future generations

MoveOn.org — organizing electoral campaigns and holding elected representatives accountable

Dogwood Alliance — protecting the beautiful forests of the Southeast

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Re-Elect the Antichrist!

(click the link above to enjoy my first self-designed web page, a political spoof for the 2004 election)

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Anyone can be an activist these days, thanks to the endless opportunities available on the internet. Responding to an online alert is fast and effective, adding one more voice to thousands on the issues that matter to us, making sure our elected and appointed officials know that their employers— the American public— are watching their every move. Here is a sampling of some recent ones I've received, most of which I have taken action on:

Stop playing politics with the economy! (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee)

I wrote: Speaker Boehner --Why does it seem you would rather see America fail than see Barack Obama succeed? Why is it that everything you stand for benefits wealthy people at the expense of ordinary citizens like me? Do you really have no concern at all for the judgement of history and future generations of Americans?

Irradiated food should be clearly labeled as such! (Food & Water Watch)

I wrote: What are they so ashamed of? Aren't they proud of their advanced technology? Don't they want everyone to know how concerned they are about our health? If irradiation is as beneficial as they claim, why don't they want us to know? Exactly what is it they're trying to hide?

NO to a new generation of nuclear weapons (Women's Action for New Directions)

Encourage International Paper to fix our paper packaging problem (Dogwood Alliance)

I wrote, Natural forests provide clean air, clean water and all of our topsoil. Please think beyond next quarter's profits and do what's right for both present and future generations of all living things. Thank you.

Ask the FCC to preserve limits on Big Media (U.S. Public Interest Research Groups)

I wrote, Diversity of opinion is what made this country great. Only a diversity of media outlets can keep the conversation of ideas alive and well. Naturally, the big media outlets wish to swallow all smaller ones to increase their power, but this would be a disaster for democracy and for future generations of Americans. Please prevent big media from getting any bigger and instead encourage a more diverse, independent and minority ownership. This is why our democratic system of government has established regulatory agencies like yours. It's called "a balance of power."

Kindly let me know if you find any of these alerts has expired!

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