By JULIA KASSEM, Staff Writer
There are beginnings and then there are beginning beginnings. Sure, my mother began as a salaried teacher at some point, but the longtime literature aficionado mentored four younger brothers and sisters in between readings and rereadings of Shakespeare and Kahlil Gibran pre-paycheck. The accurate time that life begins, whether at conception or not, is a major heated political issue. And likewise, my beginnings as a columnist and Staff Writer precedes my time with the Michigan Journal, as it was for years that I was captivated by journalism and the written word.
Journalism -real, raw, and far reaching- is, I believe, a sort of underground work. It is the work of resistance and the work of freedom. Journalism, as I envision it, is the work of rebooting the status quo and downloading a more equitable version of our world and its reality-one more consistently aligned with our vision of a healthier community and a more pluralistic and democratic existence.
Because writing is resisting, repelling and rebooting reality, it best befits the trenches where its primary end. Writing’s noblest purpose is mythbusting. I see mythbusting as a true writer’s master business, and a necessary prerequisite to educating for equity. In each column I read across sections and topics, I saw myth-busting at work through the diligent outreach and presentation of different narratives put forth by the staff at the Michigan Journal throughout the years.
I began at the Michigan Journal at the University of Michigan Dearborn in spring 2014, publishing my first piece on Snowden and civil liberties. Just a year later, Arab America Online, a digital provider of content to Arab Americans, accepted me as a contributing writer. I submitted original news content and opinions pieces weekly, publishing content online. I have been publishing content on three different platforms and newspapers since, contributing content about politics, individual rights, culture and opinion.
And though perhaps, I cannot always identify beginnings, I became determined not to make writing and publishing come to an end. Writing trained me to seek out perspectives and narratives, and try to strive to find the nuance in my own. I cannot thank the Michigan Journal enough for being the microcosmic medium that allowed me to explore writing further.