First Writing Workshop Reflections
Here are some reflections from participants of Amherst Soul’s first ever writing workshop. Each participant had roughly eight minutes to write a reflection that speaks to one of Amherst Soul’s three themes (community, diversity, and identity). Stay tuned because we intend to host a couple more writing workshops before the semester comes to an end!
“I remember doing a photo campaign shot with Romina for a photography class she was taking last semester. This was post-Amherst Uprising, and so tensions were high everywhere on campus. Tension and anger ceased to be only emotions for me—they became words that would form sentences all over my body. Like a tattoo, permanent and exposed to the elements whenever I would take my clothes off and look at my angry, brown self in the mirror. I single-handedly found a sense of clarity that years of mentoring before college could not do. And that clarity was in realizing that I was meant to speak for and represent those without a voice. But not in a condescending kind of way—never that.”
–Sharline Dominguez ‘17E
“When my adult teeth grew in, I acquired a gap right in the center of my smile. My gap was quite big, I could stick capri-sun straws through it, and it was a distinguishing feature by which my friends and family identified me. However, I never considered it a permanent part of myself. I always wanted braces because I didn’t think I could be considered pretty with a gap. I never saw any pretty girls with gaps. The lack of diversity in TV shows and children’s books when I was growing up made me believe that there was one standard I had to strive for. That anything else was ugly, fat, abnormal, other. Now things have changed. While shopping online I see more models with gaps, and companies are making an effort to include more POC in commercials. But why is it taking so long?”
–Eden Lynch ‘18
“I remember someone saying that a white man brings no diversity to a community. At first, this assertion seems perfectly valid but if we think critically about what it suggests, that some people have or do not have diversity, we feed into the idea that diversity is a commodity exclusively possessed by the disenfranchised and marginalized. Instead, shouldn’t diversity be imagined as people from different walks of life coming together to form a more dynamic whole? So, yeah, maybe white men have the most social privilege, but I’m afraid to claim that they can’t contribute to the diversity of a community. There is a danger in calling one group of people more “diverse” than another. Individuals don’t have diversity on their own, but they generate it in relation to their interaction and presence with others. I want to live in a world where diversity isn’t just a politically correct way of saying people of color. I want to live in a world where diversifying a community doesn’t mean taking away something from those in power but instead enriching both their lives as well as those who are marginalized.”
–Matthew Randolph ‘16