Honor our homeless vets by providing them housing!

Homeless vet holding sign asking for helpWar & Peace. Some say that to appreciate the benefits of peace, one must first understand the horrors of war. Sixteen years into the 21st Century, I think we have had enough war and conflict; we need more peace. I am grateful for those who choose to serve our country through military service.

On this Memorial Day, it is important that we take time to remember and honor all who have died protecting our nation’s security and the freedoms we expect and rely upon each and every day. And it is time to increase our national commitment to honor homeless vets by providing them with housing.

Today is the first Memorial Day Holiday since our role in the war in Afghanistan ended, a 13-year-long war where over 2,200 US military women and men were killed. When we honor our military, it is also important to lift up their families for whom this holiday is a time of painful grieving.

Veterans and their families have earned a special place in our community, yet we as a society fail them too often – ignoring the many traumas of war and the unique needs of veterans and their families for support post their service on the battlefields.

One important measure of our success in supporting veterans is meeting our commitment that “every veteran who has fought for American has a home in America.

We are making progress toward the national goal to ensure that all veterans and their families have a home, yet on this Memorial Day, there are still over 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States whose live are defined by living on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing. It is unacceptable that in our own King County community, there are over 675 veterans who are homeless

So when we remember, honor and celebrate our veterans who have died in service to our country, let’s also remember our veterans who have served, come back to the United States, and who need and deserve our gratitude and a home.

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Call for submissions for Footsteps 步: A poetry anthology honoring homeless veterans

Footsteps: Poems for Homeless Veterans (due out on Cave Moon Press, 2016)

Footsteps: Poems for Homeless Veterans (due out on Cave Moon Press, 2016)

Since 2006, Cave Moon Press (CMP) – a family-owned publishing company out of Yakima, WA – has been “bridging global and local issues through the arts.” Solid Ground has been fortunate to partner with CMP over the past four years.

Editor Doug Johnson says, “The model of CMP is simple: We ask poets and artists to collaborate with the cause of their choice. Poets. Books. Community. Why such a simple model? Because complicated erases our humanity. There are so many causes it is easy to lose track of the people we are helping.”

Call for submissions for Footsteps

To celebrate 10 years of helping communities, Cave Moon Press will produce a new book to aid homeless veterans in 2016 and is requesting original poems centered around the theme of footsteps. They encourage poets to take license in interpreting whose footsteps you honor, and translations are welcome. To apply:

  • Submit poetry anytime between April to September 2015
  • Send to: cavemoonpress@gmail.com
  • Subject line of email: Footsteps for Homeless Veterans-Poet Name
  • Include your name, physical address and email as a cover letter
  • Submit 2-5 poems in one MS Word document, and name the file with your name and the date you submit (ex: FirstLastName_041515)
  • Preferred fonts: 12 pt Garamond in Latin alphabetic languages; SimSun preferred in Asian Kanji

More about the Footsteps project

Doug writes, “This is a book of witness to the invisible. As a poet holds their duty to the page, soldiers hold their duty to serve. Others hold their duty to the environment. Cars wage war on the environment. Politics change like the newspaper wrapping fish. We all know of someone setting out on their quest without ever getting the homecoming of Odysseus. When duties disillusion, people wander. The invisible still wander. Write to honor the ignored. Write a poem. Help a friend.”

This book intends to honor people, not causes. After publication it is hoped that each accepted poet will combine readings around food and music with proceeds going to the local homeless network of their choice – e.g., your local VA, YMCA/YWCA, or nonprofits with programs that serve formerly homeless vets (such as Solid Ground’s Santos Place, etc.).

Cave Moon Press & Solid Ground

In 2011, CMP published Denise Calvetti Michaels’ Rustling Wrens, and she chose to donate a portion of sales proceeds to Solid Ground and also spread the word about Solid Ground during her readings. Similarly, when poet Esther Altshul Helfgott published Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems in 2013 and Listening to Mozart: Poems of Alzheimer’s in 2014, she designated proceeds toward Solid Ground’s Penny Harvest youth philanthropy program (which her granddaughter participated in before the program sunsetted in summer of 2014).

As Doug puts it, “Poets write. Poets read. So far poets have found a home at Solid Ground, and CMP is grateful and happy to bring awareness to their great work.” He adds that, “CMP has been able to help other groups around the country. Each nonprofit and poet set up what works in their community. They know their needs. They have passions for their people.” With the publication of Footsteps 步 in 2016, CMP will continue their commitment to creating poetry and art partnerships that support social change.

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