Giving the Check to NACASA

So it's been almost a month since the Siren Slam, the FlagSlam's celebration of women's voice in poetry. It was hosted by Suzy La Follette and Andrea Gibson as part of their Siren's Iris tour and was a huge success: over 15 women from all over NORAZ threw down to a crowd that was the biggest we've seen all spring. Check out the audio that I recorded to hear what I mean. All of the proceeds, plus donations made during the slam were to be given to NACASA, the Northern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. When we decided on the NACASA donation idea, I really didn't know as much about them as I thought they did. Actually, I still didn't until today. Today I gave the check for $288.10 from NORAZ Poets to Nancy Hiatt, the executive director of NACASA.

It was absolutely one of the most positive things that poetry has ever allowed me to do. Nancy's eyes lit up, her hand found her mouth, "I really didn't think it would be this much," she said, "we were expecting around $100." I told her the story of the night, how the donation jar came back with $80, filled with 5's and 10's, how Suzy decided on the spot that the Siren Slam would be a yearly event, the explosive crowd, the laughter. Then she stopped me, as we were joined by Sara Thome, who is the SART Advocate/Coordinator.

"I don't want you or anyone else to think that this is a small amount of money," Sara said. "$288.10 pays for half of the training we give to a nurse so that they can work here. $288.10 helps us pay our staff." She went on to say that the money would go toward a prophylactic given to women when they come in after an assault to help prevent the transmission of STD's.

This was, and is the real thing. There I was, handing the money to the people that fight for the things so many of us believe in. We have quite literally put our money where our collective mouth is.

Sara and Nancy also spoke of how much they loved the Siren Slam poster, so much so that one of their copies was currently being framed to hang in the front room. They were both still disappointed that they hadn't been able to make it to the slam, there had been an important board meeting that night. They wanted to make up for it by coming to next month's Grand Slam, where they'll have a table with literature and information.

I tell this story in thanks to everyone in our community who made the Siren Slam so incredible. Sure, I went to NACASA today, but it was all of us who handed that check to Nancy.

Thank you.