Monica Williams edits Guest Commentary for Bridge Magazine.
How much better the silence, or at least that’s what my Detroit Public School teachers often told me when I was younger. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out that it isn’t necessarily so.
If you’re a rural farmer, a person of color, a woman or a millennial, you may feel your voice and your views often are dismissed. In fact, how many times do you wish you had spoken up, said more, stood your ground? Here’s your chance. Bridge Magazine wants to hear your perspective on Michigan’s critical issues.
The Guest Commentary feature of Bridge is perhaps our most democratic part of the publication, because anyone has an opportunity to reach a wide audience of intelligent, informed and receptive Michiganders. Of course, we’d like you to have some expertise or knowledge in the subject on which you’re writing — government, policy, health care, environment, education — but a doctorate isn’t required.
Unlike our news stories, Guest Commentaries aren’t written by our staff members. They also do not reflect the opinion of Bridge Magazine, its owner, the Center for Michigan, or its donors. Rather, the Guest Commentary page is where individuals with no connection to the publication can raise their voice, which can and should counter the stance of the owner, any sponsor, editor or reporter at Bridge.
Bridge’s Guest Commentary page has always been an open forum and we welcome the opinions of all readers but we want to hear from more of you. We urge more people of color, Yoopers, northern Michiganders, Detroiters, millennials, conservatives and women to write sharp, thoughtful analysis for Bridge. (Ditto goes for Democrats, seniors, downstaters and men.)
We want — need — to provide the broadest possible range of opinions — from the left, from the right and, somewhere in the middle. We’re nonprofit and nonpartisan; our sole agenda is to provide provocative, thoughtful, fact-based opinions on a variety of vital state issues.
We are at a critical juncture in the history of our nation — and our state. I’m a Detroit native and a veteran of the mainstream media and know all too well how journalists have missed the mark and marginalize (or underestimate) those who don’t look, think or speak like us. Very few political journalists saw Trump’s victory coming. He wasn’t off-base: He had a silent majority that the media overlooked. We’ve relied too often on polls, office reporting, and sources who espouse values and views that align with ours.
Bridge Magazine wants to diversify the chorus of voices who contribute to public discourse. It’s time to crawl out from our echo chambers, for it is in reaching and hearing the views of others that we can find common ground and work together to move this state forward. Fact-based journalism is for everyone.
We’re open to new and provocative ideas. In the past few months, thought leaders have written Guest Commentaries that explored alternatives to flunking lagging third-grade readers, what it’s like to be a 7th-generation commerical fisherman; pondered whether we need a tax increase; accused the governor of using citizens as pawns; made a case for Line 5; and taken us to task for the use of the words “anti-abortion.”
The only unifying characteristic is that all our commentaries have a point, are intellectually stimulating and are relevant to Michigan.