Sing Out about One UNsung Woman
Sponsored by ArtRoots, a Writer in Residence Project
Submitted by Mark M Giese
Elaine Kinch is an advocate on behalf of the human rights of all, especially those whose rights are neglected or denied, and we celebrate her volunteer work for over fifty years.
Starting in the 1980s, Elaine was an early member and then the longtime organizer of the Racine/Kenosha Central America Solidarity Coalition (CASC). In 2002, she was a founding member of the Racine Coalition for Peace & Justice (RCPJ). She has participated in numerous public demonstrations calling for peace and social justice and has helped bring public speakers to town to talk on peace and justice issues.
As an activist for social and economic justice for people in Latin America and the Middle East, Elaine said, “Justice is the necessary condition for peace. If peoples’ rights are violated, if they are systematically impoverished and coerced into obedience, then there can be no sustainable peace.”
As a critic of U.S. government conduct abroad, she’s long agitated against unjust U.S. foreign and security policies, support of repressive anti-democratic regimes, and its direct and indirect intervention in other nations.
She actively supported Nicaraguan’s revolution and was against U.S. intervention there, as well as against U.S. support of the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador. Elaine opposes U.S. intervention in Cuba, Venezuela and other sovereign states including Afghanistan and Iraq. She also supports Palestinian rights.
As a volunteer, she’s participated in cotton and coffee harvests in Nicaragua and in the olive harvest in Palestine. Elaine’s traveled extensively in El Salvador, Mexico and Peru and advocated for the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.
Elaine organized the RCPJ entry — the White Dove of Peace marchers in the Racine’s 4th Fest Parade. Besides her other accomplishments and activities, she enjoys gardening and is an accomplished musician and played guitar and accordion in the Racine-based musical ensemble Wylde Thyme.
As her nominator, Mark Giese writes that Elaine Kinch deserves the honor to be acknowledged as woman who promoted peace and justice for decades and continues to do so in the present.
Judy Chicago inspires
By Jeanne Arnold
What empowering inspirations we are — all of us — at the National Women’s Musical Festival in Bloomington, Indiana. Beautiful sounds here, youthful to elder — and proud. All of us building a culture of women who will eventually inspire others to make the earth a better place to be.
Among hundreds of events during this long weekend, our final choice was to hear Judy Chicago, the epic-producing artist who honors women’s lives with The Dinner Party, The Birth Project and more.
Nearing the end of her remarkably empowering talk, Judy Chicago blessed us with tears choking back more tears that started when she read her “Merger” poem projected as a mural on the huge auditorium screen. It is a prayer for humanity broken so cruelly by abusive patriarchal power manifested and symbolized by the Nazis against all who opposed them.
She read slowly from the podium while we silently read from the screen.
“And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind.”
After almost three decades of being our most prolific feminist warrior artist, her voice broke when she read her emotional prayer. It broke after years of research into the abuse of power and patriarchal dominance, yet it rang still hopeful. She spoke of the courage of the women and children and the traditions of their lives: to be reverent, thankful and creative by leading others through the Rainbow Shabbat into a whole world healing together. She wants the world to change her mural’s image of rigid, sharply pointed triangles framed by barbed wire and focus on the beam of light shining on an old Jewish woman lighting the candles for the Sabbath with a prayerful focus on her healing power.
Chicago actually started to cry. From the podium with its light reflecting back onto her face in the darkened auditorium, she struggled to continue. Two women in the room picked up on her quiet words and spoke with her from the poem projected large behind Chicago.
“And then both men and women will be gentle”
Spontaneously, more women joined their voices. “And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied.”
All vowed aloud in accord with Chicago to heal the wounds and make the earth and our civilization whole again.
“And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will cherish life’s creatures
And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.”
And this wise and wiry woman artist whose inspiration has nurtured me for years stepped quietly and quickly down from the stage through a standing-ovation gauntlet of women. She passed right beside me.
I turned to Barbara whose tears matched mine, and we embraced each other in quiet and firm devotion and dedication to our women-oriented lives, rich in spirit, intense direction and joyful appreciation of women’s power and magnitude.
Graphics by Mary Nelson