Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Calling Poets to Resistance Part of an On Going Tree of Life Commitment

The Social Justice Committee of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry will sponsor Poets in Resistance, a public reading and rally on Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7 pm.  The Committee is issuing a call to poets and writers to participate in public notices and invitations to writers’ groups and students at McHenry County College and local high school.
Interested poets should prepare 10 minutes of original material or selected readings from other sources.  Work can be in any genre or style and the widest possible variety of viewpoints is encouraged.  Poets with published material or audio media can display and sell them on shared table space.
Poets should contact organizer Patrick Murfin, a published poet and long-time local social justice activist by e-mail at or phone 815 814-5645 to reserve a spot on the program. They can also contact the Tree of Life office at or 815 322-2464.
“In response to the many threats to civil liberties, social justice, women’s rights, marriage equality, voting rights, the ecology, and the basic economic security and medical care of millions of Americans arising from the election of Donald Trump as President and radically reactionary majorities in Congress, we are calling on poets in McHenry County and surrounding area to join a growing and active Resistance,” Murfin said.
The program will be free and open to the public with light refreshments served.  
It will be the fourth event of the New Year marking a commitment to ongoing Resistance in cooperation with a wide range of communities and organizations.

On Saturday January 21, many members of the Tree of Life Congregation will join the Women’s March in Chicago, part of a national and even world-wide protest including the Women’s March on Washington which is expected to be the largest demonstration ever held in the Capital.  People are invited to meet at the Crystal Lake train station Saturday morning for a group trip into the city. The march starts at 10 am in Grant Park and the contingent will march behind a Standing on the Side of Love banner.  For more information call Judy Stettner in the church office at 815 322-2464.
On Saturday 28, the Social Justice Committee will host The Anti-Inauguration Ball, a fun social event that also reaffirms Resistance to the Trump agenda.  The public is invited to join in their best thrift store ballroom attire or whatever costume for a party with others who are dismayed with the work we have ahead of us due to the election results. Activities will include live music, dancing, games, and socializing with appropriate beverages and snacks.  Admission will be any donation to an organization of your choice by check or a donation to a local food pantry, PADS, or the Diaper Brigade.  Call the office for more information.

Tree of Life Music Director Forrest Ransburg will bring Musicians for Change to the Church for a Rattle the Walls Benefit for the ACLU.

On Saturday February 11 Tree of Life Music Director Forrest Ransburg and Musicians for Change, a new activist group of talented Chicago area musicians  will present the Rattle the Walls Benefit Concert. With proceeds donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.)  It will be the second in a series of concerts by the group at venues all over the Chicago Area, each one dedicated to raising funds for an organization engaged in the struggle for social justice.  More details on the concert will be forthcoming soon.
Poets in Resistance on March 10 recalls a successful Poets Against the War reading and program that Murfin organized in 2004 at the congregation’s former home, the Congregational Unitarian Church in Woodstock.
Poet Patrick Murfin reading at Tree of Life's Haystacks Coffee House Open Mic and Jam.

Murfin is the author of We Build Temples in the Heart, a collection published in 2004 by Skinner House Books of Boston.  His poetry frequently appears in his daily blog, Heretic Rebel, a Thing to Flout where he also curates an annual National Poetry Month feature. He often reads verse at Tree of Life’s quarterly Haystacks Coffee House Open Mic and Jams.  As a local activist the 67 year old Crystal Lake resident has been an organizer of and spokesperson for many social justice campaigns.  He is perhaps best known as an organizer and annual host of the Diversity Day Festival held in Woodstock Square for a dozen years.

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