From the Pen of the Editor: On Charlottesville and Journalism

Note: While not a conventional editorial, this statement by the Editor-in-Chief, in response to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, was approved by all members of the Clerk’s Editorial Board.

First and foremost: to my fellow students of color, and all members of the Haverford community affected – I stand in solidarity with you. You are in my thoughts, my prayers, and we will rally, as we always do.

As a Black man, I feel both frustration and exasperation at the atrocities committed in Charlottesville. Sometimes I feel powerless, that all I can do is wait for the inevitable next incident to come. How long will I have to contend that my life matters? How many times, in how many ways, do I need to be reminded that to many it doesn’t? And why does an issue have to make national news in order to get people’s attention? After events like these, I spend hours reading, scrolling through articles, searching for answers to these questions, only to find none. I pull out my laptop, I write furiously, trying to find the words, and create my own answers. Sometimes it feels like the words that reach the page are hollow, that they’ve been said, and that therefore they have no meaning. I realize though, the words must be said, again and again, until there is change, until we create meaning. Thus, this piece.

I feel moved to use this platform, as the Editor-in-Chief of our campus publication, to speak out and speak against discrimination in all its forms. What happened Saturday night in Charlottesville is not “news.” It’s the cycle of systemic racism continuing to perpetuate itself. Its blatant Anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant, and homophobic sentiments revealed a bastion of white supremacy that is a stain on everything our country purports to stand for. Times like these, when even our national leaders fail to respond appropriately, are too important to be passive. It is imperative for us as individuals, and as members of this community, to continue to call out bigotry, racism, and hate in all of its manifestations. This should not just occur when issues reach the national news; acts of discrimination occur every day on our campus, and it is on us all to work toward its end. The stakes are too high, and the costs of silence too severe.

Consequently, the Clerk’s Editorial Board will act.

The Clerk’s values explicitly state the desire for our publication to be a means of strengthening the Haverford community through journalism that expresses concern for community stakeholders on all levels. This semester, and for the duration of my time as Editor-in-Chief, the Clerk will aim to be a form of activism on campus. It is dedicated to upholding the values of the Social Code, and giving a voice to students, staff, faculty, and administrators, particularly to those whose voices have not been heard.

In the coming weeks, the Clerk will review commentary submitted in response to the Charlottesville incident, and may choose to publish some pieces that meet our standards. And at the beginning of this academic year, the Clerk will work to solidify its relationships with Haverford’s affinity groups. In addition to covering news across campus, we will ask, what issues are affecting their members, and need to be shared with the larger community? By including more community members in these conversations, we hope to continue to be a platform for voices across campus.

If you would like to contribute to the series about the Charlottesville incident, or if you have any questions or concerns, please email Maurice Rippel at mrippel@haverford.edu.

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