Written By: MO JUENGER
It’s difficult for some people to protest right now.
Those who are immuno-compromised, have close friends or family who are, or who are otherwise at risk to contract COVID-19 might not be able to join protestors on the front lines.
As advocates for justice, this feels wrong. When I aim to enact change in the world, protest is an extremely common method. But with the summer of coronavirus, I created anxiety about my own health and my family’s health when I left my home.
Being one of approximately ten million immunocompromised adults in the U.S., I struggled this summer with how to express my penchant for social justice without putting myself and my loved ones at risk.
People around me took different approaches. Friends joined protestors in marches and rallies, but the high density of people made me worried about my health.
Others posted tips, studies, how-tos, and hundreds of other articles on social media. This route felt performative to me, though it often functions well for many people who have many politically-different followers.
I educated myself about how to protest from indoors. I signed petitions and donated what money I could to the causes that I believed needed it most.
These methods felt incredibly impersonal. In a protest, I was surrounded by like-minded people and I felt as if I had the ability to make direct changes. Now, I was helping from the sidelines in a way that felt once-removed.
I felt like my typical avenue for justice — in-person protesting — was no longer feasible, and its remote counterpart didn’t satisfy my ethical standard for change. Social justice was and is an integral part of my identity, but it no longer felt like I was actively contributing to it.
That’s why I decided that this year, I would protest differently. 2020 is the year of the op-ed.
I may not be comfortable screaming my opinions at a rally anymore, but I can still scream my opinions in a word document sent to a Newswire editor. I can still donate and sign petitions, but this way I can be personally involved with sharing resources, information and writing for justice.
For me, it satisfies my standards for local protests. An op-ed that I write is directly read by, and therefore impacting, my community. It doesn’t feel performative, because I put significant effort into its creation and express active methods in which people can join me.
The Newswire is an avenue to tell the Xavier community what you think is just, why you think it’s just and how they can join you. With a smaller audience than a protest, it allows you to change minds at a more personal level.
Writing in general tells the world your experience, your beliefs and your outlook. This information can enact change when shared with open-minded readers.
I urge all social justice advocates, especially those who are immunocompromised, to consider writing for the Newswire this year. Your words can change the way people think. If you’re reading this far, that’s proof.
Even when you can’t go out into the world, you can make it a better place. If you want change, write.