“Voices, founded in the fall of 2017, is a daily, student-run news and media publication that witnesses, teaches, and listens to the multiple truths of Swarthmore. All news and media is deeply political, and the creation of Voices was as well. This is the story of how and why Voiceswas created.
In September of 2017, The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s former online daily student news publication, released an opinion piece titled “Kaepernick’s Well-Intentioned but Ineffectual Protest.” The insensitivity to Black protest, along with the ill-timed publication of this piece – the day before, Swarthmore varsity volleyball team members Emma Morgan-Bennett ‘20 and Lelosa Aimufua ‘20 knelt in protest during their volleyball game – and the lasting hurt caused by the previous year’s “The Admissions Office Doesn’t Care About Your Values” piece, sparked campus-wide outrage.
Almost immediately, Lindsey Norward ‘18, then-Assistant Arts and Features Editor for The Daily Gazette wrote an op-ed titled “Silenced No More: The Dangers of Policing Black Bodies in Sports,” while the Swarthmore African-American Student Society (SASS) called for a boycott of the publication. Noward took further action, taking on the challenge of building Voices, an online news publication solely dedicated to centering marginalized voices and creating space for them to tell their own stories.
From there, Voices grew rapidly as student groups published letters of solidarity for SASS and its boycott of The Daily Gazette. The publication also quickly became a site for campus activism as the Swarthmore Indigenous Students Association (SISA) shared its perspective and published its demands for the Swarthmore administration through Voices after an administrator accused Indigenous students of stealing land during an event they held on Columbus Day. At the same time, Voices has centered joy, beauty, and art, highlighting the works of marginalized peoples and publishing photo series celebrating those same people.
Voices has been and continues to be a source of campus protest and dissent, publishing pieces written directly by the core organizers of Organizing For Survivors (O4S), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Coalition to End Fraternity Violence, and Swat Hunger Strike. In the spirit of understanding that no one person or entity holds the corner of knowledge, Voices continuously evaluates its impact on campus and how it has lived up to its mission. The question remains, whose stories get told and why, and that extends directly to the question we must ask ourselves: who and what are we publishing and why? Voices pays homage to its roots in remembering the Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) who first led the drive towards better campus journalism, and commits first and foremost to providing a platform for their voices as they continue to lead.”
– Swarthmore Voices Board