Announcing new Freedom Forums Memoir Writing Workshops
in four Long Island Communities.
Can 100 new justice stories born on Long Island make a difference?
Come to our Freedom Forums Community Workshops in Patchogue, Wyandanch, Huntington Station, and Hempstead to find out.
Or, start to share the stories that Long Island Wins will posting on their website every week, hoping that they will help stir our communities to compassion and action. To read our first story, click here.
At Saturday’s Freedom Forum In Patchogue, hosted at the Patchogue/Medford library by Herstory Writers Workshop, the Patchogue Arts Council, Patchogue People Power, Long Island Language Advocacy Coalition and Building Bridges in Brookhaven, there was a group decision to try to generate 100 Long Island stories by the end of the year, to be connected to legislative priorities and circulated widely on the websites, social media and newsletters of a growing coalition of Long Islanders, in order to give a face to those who are too often demonized and build bridges of empathy, compassion and inclusion to counter the recent violations of our most basic human rights. On November 1st Long Island Win’s initiated a series of immigration that will be appearing weekly on their site.
We are asking those of you who started to write at the Freedom Forum and those who wish to write to devote a few Wednesday evenings or Saturday afternoons (see our calendar below) to shaping your story so that It can help in our movement to change, hearts, minds and policies, and to help us reach those Long Islanders who have stories that need to be heard.
If you are part of an organization, please extend the call for story-shapers around the issues that matter the most. Extend the invitation to a friend or a neighbor. We are providing workshops in four Long Island locations, free of charge, to help meet this collective goal. Write in the language of your choice. No long term commitment is needed as each story is meant to add to the fabric of Long Islanders writing for a change.
November 8th, 15th, 29th and December 6th
The Patchogue Arts Council
20 Terry Street
Patchogue, NY 11772
November 4th and 18th, December 2nd and 9th
Huntington Public Library
1335 New York Avenue
Huntington Station, NY 11746
November 4th and 18th, December 2nd and 9th
Wyandanch Public Library
14 South 20th Street
Wyandanch, NY 11798
-Hempstead (Fridays) – Ongoing
Hofstra University Center for Civic Engagement
Oak Street Center, located north of the Netherlands Complex, Room 116 or Room 112
Taking our Stories into the World
It is our hope that the stories generated by this project will be widely read and passed from one person to another, through our websites and the websites of our partners, though social media and newsletters, that they will be taught in high school and college classes, and used as sermons in mosques, synagogues and churches, in interactions with legislators and human service providers, wherever they might make a difference.
We ask you to reach out to any organizations that might be interested in posting these stories to support their justice work, to weave a web of interconnectedness, action, strength and peace. Our collaboration with Long Island Wins is an important first step.
The literary arm of the Patchogue Arts Council was born with live spoken word performances during PAC’s Annual Autumn Arts Festival. Local poets raised their voices and the audience’s spirit during this day-long event held in the lobby of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Over the past five years, the PAC literary committee cultivated a wonderful partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop. Through weekly workshops held in our gallery, writers of all skill levels are learning to harness the power of memoir writing circles and to use their stories to inspire the Patchogue community. Memoirs of Motherhood: Connecting Through Our Stories was a women’s writing circle that brought mothers of all ages together to share their joys, sorrows, hopes, hardships, and dreams. Bridges to Justice: Connecting Through Our Stories continues to unite human rights activists, high school and college students, and community members with the goal of crafting first-person testimonies of their struggles to create a more equitable and inclusive world. Excerpts from these memoirs have been featured annually at public readings held at the Plaza Mac Media Center and the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The literary committee is thrilled to announce that, through our partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop, PAC will be hosting a Freedom Forum, representing the Long Island Region in a statewide literary event designed to spotlight the ongoing struggles to preserve our democratic values such as freedom, equality, and justice under the law. On October 28th, we will be joining forces with Herstory and other partners at the Patchogue-Medford Public Library to host this day-long event featuring a presentation by poet Kathy Engel, followed by selected Herstory Writers reading memoir excerpts highlighting their journeys towards justice. The program will then shift to a town-hall format wherein participants will discover how they can turn their own personal story into a literary work that will help mend the bridges in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.
The Freedom Forum will serve as a springboard for subsequent workshops during which participants can complete their stories. The over-arching goal is to bring together members of Suffolk County’s hidden communities to cultivate empathy and a deeper understanding of the challenges confronting them in the current climate. With the writers’ permission, the stories will be shared in various formats ranging from Herstory’s Digital Archive to local newspapers to sermons in churches, mosques, and synagogues.
In the future, the Literary committee looks forward to continuing its partnership with Herstory Writer’s Workshop while also returning to its roots by focusing on spoken word. It is our goal to expand on PAC cultural offerings to the community by promoting poetry in Patchogue. Stay tuned!