Recent events have exposed an underbelly of America that has been writhing, unacknowledged and largely ignored, like maggots under a rotting log. Many of us are shocked, while others are terrified by the unfolding of seemingly accepted hatred. Recently, onlookers watched as a young Muslim woman was harassed and grabbed at in Grand Central Station. Not one bystander intervened or called for help. Not one.
We believe that silent bystanders are as guilty as the perpetrators. We also believe that no change has ever occurred without the persistence of writers. With that in mind, we’ve created this space to do what we do best: write as activists. We will not be bystanders who look the other way; we will not overlook hatred and fear; we will not let our voices be quieted by the normalizing of marginalization.
Every week in this forum, a new voice will speak out. It may be black, feminist, Jewish, Muslim, gay–no matter, because it will be a voice that believes we find solidarity and unity in our collective differences. The power of story builds empathy, and empathy is at the root of acceptance. And as a culture, we need to work a little harder at that.
We see what is happening around us, and we won’t be bystanders. We see what is happening around us, and we are here.