Almost a year ago, Wim Laven, Editor in Chief of the Peace Chronicle, and I discussed the theme for the summer 2022 issue, for which I had agreed to be the guest editor. We agreed upon Courage, not knowing that this one word would become the most important word in our heads and hearts starting this third week of June 2022. A week during which the country’s highest legislative body, the Supreme Court, handed down three significant decisions that rocked the nation.
The first ruling argued in support of using public funds to pay for tuition assistance programs in private religious schools, which maintain policies against gay and transgender students and staff. The second was a ruling that struck down New York’s law requiring applicants to have a ‘proper cause’ to obtain a license for carrying a gun. Finally, the third ruling in the week overturned the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, which strips women of the right to an abortion. In just one week, our vulnerability as women, gay or transgender persons, and as ordinary citizens has increased exponentially. We will all feel the impact of these decisions for years to come.
Courage is what we all need to survive, fight, and thrive in a world where our rights are threatened not by outside forces or enemies but by our own democratic institutions. The task before us is mammoth and overwhelming, but I hope you will, like me, feel hope, get motivated, and experience joy as you read the compelling words written by this issue’s contributors. Every story, every research, and every work is a testimony to the strength in us humans to strive for the change we need in our personal, social, cultural, and political lives. The articles also emphasize our interdependence as humans and systems and the need for solidarity in initiatives and movements. Students, scholars, practitioners, and activists from around the world contributed to this issue. I wanted to retain their unique storytelling and writing styles and keep my editing to the bare minimum.
My dear friend, P.K. McCary, designed the cover art for this issue. P.K. writes about the courage shown in the powerful words of one young woman, poet Amanda Gorman and it is Gorman who P.K. had in mind when designing the cover. However, I believe the person in the picture could be any of us, standing or sitting anywhere, in front of an audience or without an audience, reciting a poem or being silent, leading others or following leaders – and every one of those images of any of us would be a symbol of courage. We need to put ourselves out there, which is all we hope to convey through this issue. Red is the color that symbolizes courage, and we are using shades of this color to introduce each piece.
I want to thank all the contributors for sharing their excellent work, painful stories, and uplifting experiences. To Wim, much gratitude for inviting me to guest edit this issue and for all his support. Many thanks to Emma Lovejoy, our production manager, for taking all the materials I sent them into a beautiful, readable magazine and an easy-to-navigate site.
Enjoy, and keep up the courageous fight to uphold our personal and shared values.
Guest Editor (Summer Issue) and PJSA Board Member