“Write For Justice” workshop blends social awareness, creative writing

MiNT Magazine and Students Against Social Injustice held a collaborative writing workshop entitled “Write For Justice: Part II” on March 9. Pictures from campus social justice events such as the candle light vigil—hosted by SASI, Zeta Phi Beta and Black Student Union—were used as prompts for students to create a piece of writing, as well as photos from the series of Black Lives Matter events.

MiNT chose to focus on social injustice as a way to bring back the main purpose of the club: a creative outlet for students to talk about issues in diversity, culture and race. MiNT president sophomore Lizzie Pellegrino emphasized her hope that this would encourage students to address social issues.

“[MiNT] kind of lost [the multicultural aspect] over the years,” she said. “[I want] to get writers to think about those kinds of things; I think a lot of times writers get stuck in their own lives and forget to look outward for inspiration.”

The audience was shown an image of an event and asked to jot down how the pictures made them feel, to interpret emotions, focus on smaller aspects that could have been overlooked and create their own opinions on the photos—regardless if they had been there or not. A quick description of the event would be given and then the furious scraping of pencils on paper echoed around the quiet room. Most of the attendees appeared to already have an interest in creative writing and seemed to impressively avoid writer’s block when coming up with their pieces.

Students made observations on the facial expressions of the people in the photos and the signs protesters held, each coming up with different insights. Some mentioned how tired some of the supporters looked while others noted how the lighting of the photos created different moods.  For example, many expressed that the editing of the pictures to black and white gave the photos a very “serious” and “real” feel.

Participants volunteered to talk about their pieces, with many students choosing to write poems. In addition, many were interested in hearing from the students who had been a part of the events and they shared stories about their own personal emotions while attending.

Pellegrino explained that MiNT hopes to continue to reach out to other multicultural and social justice groups. The club wants more students to feel encouraged to submit to the magazine and to create conversations about these controversial, yet crucial topics.

“I think it’s important to write about these topics because … it’s important to add to the conversation especially through writing—[it] has physical significance to it,” she said. “If you write it down, there’s something very special about that.”