What’s worse: writing and publishing an opinion piece that may have consequences, OR being inconsequential?
This question loomed in front of me and 19 of my new Ford Public Voices Fellows as we kicked off our year-long program with The OpEd Project to ensure our ideas help shape the important conversations of our age. I’m joined with some of our nation’s top thinkers working in economic and social justice.
Despite their top-notch thinking, individuals like my fellow fellows are often underrepresented in main stream media and public debate. The root problem is not a lack of knowledge or experience, but a culture in which minority voices (especially women) rarely have the inside information, high-level support and inside connections to become influential on a large-scale.
Well, it’s time to change that! But how do we do that? Is it straight forward? After the past 12 hours together, I’ve concluded that it actually isn’t! In fact, there are many considerations that run through our minds before putting pen to paper. Do I have the time? Will this have impact? And strikingly, will this have consequences? Consequences can include formidable things like lack of safety, polarization, termination of funding. So that leads fellows like us and others like us, making measured decisions.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Because we believe that not sharing our expertise will have more negative consequences than not doing anything at all.
Get ready to read this space!