I became curious who my co-leaders for the January 19th NYC “Write to Change the World” Op-Ed Project seminar would be a few days before the event. An avid social media consumer, I perused the Op-Ed Project website, Twitter feed and Facebook page but was still in the dark. Reading about the many success stories of graduates of the program and the power of the op-ed got me even more amped up for the event, but I still didn’t know who would be teaching my seminar. I was moments away from sending a tweet to inquire when I decided to leave it as a surprise.
And what a surprise it was! One of the women hosting the exciting seminar I attended last month was none other than E.J. Graff, a journalist who I’d been in touch with through e-mail and Twitter but never met in person. The seminar got off to an exciting start when she walked over and introduced herself to me! The serendipity of this meeting put me in a hopeful mood.
I’ve been blogging seriously for almost two years and am now beginning to pursue article writing. As someone interested in writing about women’s rights, human security, LGBTQ politics and animal rights, op-ed writing struck me as an excellent tool to add to my trade. I’d heard about The OpEd Project’s publi seminars from a number of feminist media sources and made a commitment to attend in 2013.
Participating in “Write to Change the World” was inspiring and also challenging. The event brought incredibly diverse and intriguing individuals together to hone our skills and I think it’s safe to say we all pushed the boundaries of our comfort zones. All the same, the room was always supportive.
Throughout the seminar both E.J. Graff and the co-project leader Jennifer Block impressed upon us the importance of the ability to share our expertise with a the public through the use of well written and pitched op-eds. “Take your knowledge as far as you can go. Give up being selfish and safe and be generous. Be mouthy!” were some words of encouragement all of us received during the seminar.
The title of this post are the words I scribbled at the top of my notes and boxed in to signify their importance. While writing an op-ed about my expertise is inherently political, it is even more so for me as a woman. Sharing my voice through writing op-eds is a powerful feminist act.
Now that I’ve completed the seminar I’m especially excited to work with a mentor to develop an op-ed to take it as far as I can, reaching the broadest audience. It’s incredibly encouraging to be a part of a group of women actively addressing the gender gap in op-ed writing. Stay tuned, my contribution to the solution in the form of a published op-ed is soon to follow.
Jamie J. Hagen is a freelance writer and researcher living in NYC. Visit her website or follow her on twitter. Read more at jamiejhagen.com and here @jamiejhagen