In the aftermath of this election, many of us are feeling hurt, confused, and fearful for the state of the US and the future. Today’s youth are far from immune to this pain or ignorant of the work ahead, and millennials might be feeling this with a particular force knowing that our generation will be held responsible for cleaning this mess up in a few short years. It may seem overwhelming or impossible to know where to start right now, but a publication like Civil Dissent aims to provide a foundation of unity among our community of children, teenagers, and young adults who all hold the same values and goals of equality and justice among everyone with whom we share this country. We may not all be writers, or experts in political science or economics, but we all live in this world and, thus, are MORE than qualified to have thoughts, feelings, and ideas on how to make it better for everyone.
Civil Dissent (name subject to change) has three primary purposes: (1) to provide an outlet for us youngsters (namely those aged 14-25) who are trying to make sense of what’s happening, who have the energy and motivation to play an active role in creating a future we can be proud of, and have a lot to say right now; (2) to become a resource for all of us in need of exposure to points of view besides our own and seeking comfort and solidarity with one another; and (3), to exist as an exercise in the kind of media that will not continue the damage done by what we’ve seen on TV and online in the last year; to practice writing that is not exclusive or condescending, not destructive or aggressive, but plain and simple expression of thoughts that help you make sense of this and may help others. (Maybe like a collaborative Common Sense for 2016.)
In its web form, Civil Dissent intends to invite contributions on a rolling basis that offer any and all perspectives which help YOU make sense of what’s going on. Possibilities for essays and sections could include:
– historical perspectives–what’s happened in history that offers parallels, hope, or guesses as to what might happen next?
– pop culture connections–what are the books, movies, TV, fictional settings or characters, etc. that shed light on your feelings or your situation?
– personal experiences–what happened in incidents that illuminated some aspect of today’s political climate or social culture to you? What happened in the moments, large or small, that made you optimistic?
– reflections/reactions to the news–is there a particular news story that struck you or gave you a new thought?
– coping mechanisms–if you are feeling hurt or confused, how are you getting by? how might others do the same? (a “Survival” playlist is already in the works, to be public on Spotify and open for suggestions with regular updates!)
– ARTWORK–while any illustrator/graphic designer who would like to regularly provide artwork to accompany essays is more than welcome, Civil Dissent also welcome submissions from any artist who has work (visual, audio, audiovisual) inspired by the recent turn of events.
The primary goal of Civil Dissent is to collect the real, immediate reactions of those of us living in this time for reflection in the present, but also in the future, when this will hopefully look like an inexplicable blip in modern history. As such, in order to accommodate as many authentic voices as we can, Civil Dissent hopes that even those who do not think themselves writers will submit their thoughts. Even if you have what seems like a sloppy rough draft, we hope you will send it in and let us know if you don’t mind editors revising for grammatical clarity; all credit will be given to the original author and the integrity of your words will remain fully intact.
On the subject of credit, another idea is for all contributors to publish under pen names. This would (1) protect the identity of those who might receive any kind of backlash for their words, (2) create stylistic consistency in the publication and hopefully encourage every writer to be more honest in their work without fear of this potential backlash, and (3) offer another element of creativity, fun, and maybe even silliness in the process of contributing. We want Civil Dissent to become an ultimately positive resource for readers, and an extra dose of lightness probably won’t hurt what is sure to be a significant amount of bleak subject matter, right?
These are only the earliest of ideas for what could become a significant source of optimism and unity in the youth community–but it will cost money if we want it to be good and nice to look at, not to mention taken seriously! A year of the very best website quality is around $300–and while Civil Dissent does not need to be best-of-the-best to begin with (the $100-$200/year quality will be plenty), any and all donations received will go directly into the progress of the publication, with excess from the website contributing to the possibility of print issues. I’m very happy to make the first payment myself, but if we want this to become a community resource, ANY contribution or show of support will help get it there <3
Risks and challenges
risks? I mean I guess this idea could totally fail and no one could contribute writing or art or money but…I would just do it all myself. So there are no risks!