At the end of October 2021, the first refugees from Afghanistan after the recent takeover of the country’s government by the Taliban, started arriving in Western Massachusetts. They are part of the 1,000 Afghan refugees that will settle in Massachusetts.

The Center for New Americans, a nonprofit that helps new immigrants settle in Western MA by providing English classes, acclimatization support, assistance with school placement for children, and other resources, has already started working with Afghan refugees. They join the refugees and new immigrants from other countries that have recently arrived here.

Thanks to the work of over 100 poets who took part in the recently ended 30 Poems in November fundraiser, the Center now has over $100,000 more to help it provide its essential services.

I was one of 101 poets who took part in this year’s poet-a-thon which sees poets committing to writing a poem a day to raise money for The Center for New Americans. It’s surreal linking the writing of a poem to being able to help families make a new life, and linking the images of displacement on the news to real people who are here now, as neighbors. And it’s the most heartwarming thing to know that these poems that we write for the love of it can make such a big material difference.

The record-breaking figure of $100,000 that has been raised so far consists of over $85,000 raised from donations through efforts by the poets and a number of matching donations from generous donors. Final donations are still coming in for a few more days.

Last year, the total amount raised was around $60,000.

To the other hundred poets who took part in the fundraiser and to Lesléa Newman who initiated 30 Poems in November 13 years ago, all I can say is wow. Awesome freaking wow.

And to everyone who donated; to my campaign and to the other one hundred; thank you, thank you, thank you.

Poetry Reading & Celebration

On Thursday, December 9, The Center for New Americans will host a hybrid reading and celebration to mark the end of this year’s edition of 30 Poems in November.

Find more information about that event at this link.

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