The deadline for haiku submissions is Halloween 2012. The winner will receive a Tiffany's Jazz Diamond Ring that retails at $3,000.00. In addition, the winning haiku shall be tattooed upon the left forearm of Joseph Carman (by the 555's partner, Pens and Needles Custom Tattoo of Colorado Springs). Also, winner and finalists will be published online at 555c.org, and in the widely distributed homeless newspaper, The Denver Voice.
The contest judge Kansas journalist Dawne Leiker, who
"has accumulated a couple of decades in the newspaper business, both on the advertising and news side. Currently a local government reporter and performance arts reviewer for The Hays Daily News, Leiker also writes features and general news stories.
She attained both her masters of liberal studies degree in journalism/public relations and undergraduate degree in political science at Fort Hays State University. "
Inspired by the story of Sitting Bull's grandson, a Vietnam veteran who lived homeless in Denver from 1986-1989, the 555 seeks to spotlight homeless veterans as a prime example of the horrible consequences of PTSD and other trauma related mental illnesses. The issue of veterans without housing is significant and growing larger by the day. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that on any given night, 76,000 veterans go homeless. Only 8 percent of the US population can claim veteran status, however, male veterans comprise 33 percent of the general homeless population. In addition to these current numbers, 1.5 million veterans are presently at-risk for homelessness in the future.
Homeless veterans are only one of the many populations that suffer extreme loss and mental anguish because of trauma. But they're a good place to start. The 555 Collective utilizes the arts (humanity's greatest resource) to combat trauma (humanity's greatest challenge to its well-being). The format of a haiku contest has been chosen due to the haiku's demand of brevity and poignancy from the writer. The diamond ring is offered as a prize because it is the most valuable item in Joseph's possession at this time. The tattoo component exists to signify the commitment of the 555 to compassion for humanity, as well as innovative art.
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