It is amazing and disheartening to watch someone forget about or ignore their talents and achievements, and I mean achievements of all types – from famous awards to healing from trauma to doing what one loves to do. This was just one of my perspective-widening experiences at the Write To Change The World seminar that I attended on December 5th and 6th.
Throughout life, many of us are taught to minimize our skills, our achievements, and our visions of what we could accomplish. We live in fear of the disapproval of others, and often when the opportunity arises to speak up, we stay quiet even when we know that our knowledge can contribute to a conversation. Among many issues, it is this broader social pattern that The Op-Ed Project is trying to confront. Yes, the seminar will teach you the components and basic structure of an op-ed, but much of the time is spent looking inward at passions and life experiences, and the knowledge gained from them. Ironically, the expertise and perspective that we gain from life experience is what needs be shared with others but is usually minimized and kept inside.
After the seminar I felt empowered to speak up and contribute to the greater social discourse. I plan to write about the need to end the war on drugs and mass incarceration, and the role that empathy and non-violent communication can play in building a culture based on respect and love. Within less than a week after the seminar, someone from my group had an op-ed published. This is just one sign of what an amazing organization The Op-Ed Project is, and I’m delighted to hear about its national and international growth!
— Katie Grimm