Writing as Activism:
Some of the greatest reforms the world has ever known were sparked by the writings of passionate women and men. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in an attempt to end racial segregation and the inhumane treatment of African Americans in the South. Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own to advocate women’s rights, especially their right to creative freedom and economic independence. The Declaration of Independence sparked the Revolutionary War that enabled America to gain its freedom from England. If you explore, you will see that almost every major event in history has had its flame fueled by writing.
I encourage you to set your own fire. Pick something about the world that frustrates you, that you know needs to change, and find a way to do it. Use our Corkboard for inspiration if necessary. You can write an editorial to a local newspaper, send a letter to your congressman, or draft up a project proposal for a charity event. You can create a blog (complete with entries) or start a website. You can start a documentary or podcast and write a script. Everyone must complete a final project of at least 1250 words of writing regardless of the medium chosen. You will also be required to have at least THREE outside sources cited in MLA format (APA is also a possibility). If you’re settled on a project, but can’t figure out how to meet the word requirement, we can absolutely discuss your options.
Remember, no one wants to hear whining. If you want to convince someone that change needs to happen, you are going to have to sound well-read and professional. This means doing research and using your best writing. You are also going to have to consider multiple sides of the argument. One-sided rants are usually just as ineffectual as whining. It will be helpful to you to consider the role you want to take and the audience you want to address. Furthermore, it isn’t always necessary to have the solution to your problem. You may just expose what’s not working, what is, and what questions we should be asking.
This project is not just theoretical. Everyone really will send out their letters, publish their blogs, forward their project proposals, etc.
Submit a one-page project proposal to me by Thursday, March 22 posted to your blog. On that day, there will be mini-presentations of the proposals.
Final Presentations of your projects will be held on Monday, April 23.