What a year 2018 was. This time last year, we were still reeling from all that had happened to us, wondering how anything could ever get better. But we entered 2018 with renewed vigor. Members of our very own Tempest team marched on behalf of women in the US and in Rome, and we campaigned for LGBTQ rights when we launched our Spirit Day campaign. We fought for immigrant rights while throwing the spotlight on environmental injustice, too. Moreover, we started holding each other (and our politicians) accountable to the greater good. And through it all, we remained steadfast in our vision for justice and equality for all.
The News and Social Justice sections also made a concerted effort to cover more international topics this year. To do this, we took a hard look at politics around the world; we analyzed the way WOC and minorities were disproportionately affected by the agendas of the wealthy and elite. We told the raw stories of immigrants and those living in the most dangerous parts of the world to be a woman. The conversations we had about mental health, sexual assault, and police brutality were also difficult, but necessary. Nonetheless, women and the LGBTQ community saw some serious gains in politics and around the world, giving us hope for a brighter 2019.
I’m so proud of the work that our incredible team of staff, fellows and contributing writers have put out this year. The News and Social Justice verticals have certainly benefitted from their passion. Not to mention, the wonderful Dominique Stewart joined as Assistant Social Justice Editor this year and breathed fresh, new life to the vertical.
Dominique and I will continue to work hard to push the sections forward in the coming year, and we’re so excited to see what it holds. Here’s to more glass-ceiling smashing, determination, incredible activism in 2019.
Now, without further ado, here are the top picks of 2018 from the News and Social Justice sections at The Tempest.
Amidst an era of political uncertainty, Laura Muth gives us an in-depth look at what it looks like to live in the US right now. “To live in Portland right now is to engage in an endurance test of your capacity for cognitive dissonance,” writes Muth. Beautifully written, Muth portrays the strength and resistance of the queer and black communities in a way that ignites hope for the future of activism.
Shahrazad Encinias goes straight into the heart of an Arizona detention facility to interview undocumented women who’ve been there for almost two years. They’re being held without a clear picture of when they’ll be released: “I’m locked up. It’s the same as being in Guatemala,” says Rosa*. These women tell Encinias of the fear, discrimination, and violence they face on a daily basis. Harrowing and powerful, this piece by Encinias is a must-read.
Lahore-based Momina Naveed ventures into Pakistan’s red-light district to find out what daily life is like. She interviews Munni*, a single mother doing sex work as a form of survival. Munni works so that her daughter doesn’t have to: “I will go to great lengths to make sure my daughter doesn’t have to suffer at the hands of the same fate as mine,” she says. Naveed’s reporting is somber, earnest, and fresh. This piece might make you cry, but you will come away with a new perspective on sex work that we’re sure you’ve never read before.
In this piece, Katie Kaestner-Frenchman confronts the European Union in its entirety. With all its imperfections, flaws, and snafus, the Union is a “project in progress,” but an essential part of maintaining order in the world. Kaestner-Frenchman speaks frankly about what we lose when we begin to lose sight of what the European Union is supposed to stand for.
Of course, not everything we faced this year was rosy. Biased legislative procedures around the world make it incredibly difficult for women to report and obtain justice for sexual assault. The stigma attached to women who’ve experienced sexual assault and harassment compounds the issue. What happens when judges don’t believe survivors? Meg Leach gives us a powerful call to action: Vote. Them. Out.
Assistant Editor for Social Justice Dominique Stewart provides readers with a frank perspective on anthem-kneeling. A practice used by some athletes as a peaceful expression of political frustration, anthem-kneeling has nonetheless been sharply criticized by President Trump and American voters alike. Stewart sees this criticism as fundamentally misplaced – find out why in this honest and raw piece.
What does mental health in South Asian communities look like? It’s often difficult to say since there’s so much stigma surrounding its discussion. Mariyam Raza Haider combines her personal experiences with an expert interview to sketch out how Indian communities can foster more empathy towards one another. “A public health crisis like this demands a pivotal shift in the way our parents think and understand mental health,” writes Haider. While this piece focuses on the Indian community, this piece is nonetheless relatable to all.
Grace Wong explores the practice of “artivism” (art activism) in this fresh and inspiring piece. To do this, Wong interviews artivists Ameya Okamoto and Renee Lopez — women of color working in photography and digital media — to better understand how art communicates and sheds light on their life experiences. Through their art, Okamoto, and Lopez fight for inclusion, ally with Black Lives Matter, and push for greater intersectionality. Featuring original work graciously provided by the artists, this article underscores the power of art as a social justice medium.
When we said that we entered 2018 with renewed vigor earlier, we meant it. Women of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials made unprecedented gains in US politics this year, and we believe the government (and lives) will be better for it. These strides have made Sara Marshall feel empowered and ready to hit the ground running in 2019. The only question is – will you join us?
Happy New Year! Our appetite for all things news and social justice at The Tempest will never slow down. Here’s to another year of determination, vigor, and activism!
*names were changed to protect the identity of individuals interviewed