The Indicator’s Statement of Solidarity and Action

June, 2020

We, as The Indicator’s Chief Editors, would like to take the space to pledge our commitment and solidarity alongside the Black community and people of color. While there are no words that can encapsulate all the pain and frustration so many feel, we want to acknowledge the suffering and outrage of those who face these injustices and feel these losses the most.

The Indicator is not only a creative magazine but also a space of friendship, validation and vulnerability. Our hearts ache for our friends, for ourselves, and for every single individual devalued as human beings as a means to exert hateful oppression. We acknowledge that structural racism has not escaped our own organization and we commit to actively deconstructing these systems. The magazine’s project is one of decolonial love–and a place for togetherness and creation that allows us to dream of a future different than our past. 

We value art as a powerful instrument to express and communicate differing narratives, allowing us to expand our own understandings of the world through the words and images of others. The Indicator is designed to be as inclusive of various writing forms as possible, accepting excerpts of academic papers or thesis work to short stories, poetry, essays to campus-news articles and interviews. This magazine is for anyone who has something to say. 

At the same time, given the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery in the process of “arrest” and past unjust killings of other black people, we must recognize that our legal system and culture have historically excused these heinous acts. Within the scope of a literary magazine and a part of Amherst College, it is our obligation to make note of the fact that the Amherst College arts and writing spaces lack people of color, particularly black people. The Indicator, Circus, and the Amherst Student never appeared to have more than two or three black members at a time. It is also worth noting nationally, the publishing industry lacks black members. From writers to marketing, no more than 5% of any sector is black. It is crucial for black narratives and for identity groups to be in control of their stories. The publishing industry must be more inclusive to all marginalized identities. We hope people of color will soon be the ones to shape the conversation and drive the standard of writing in the future. 

With all this in mind, The Indicator hopes to be more inclusive of people of color moving forward. By diversifying the voices of our magazine, we will challenge the ideologies, assumptions, and biases that have unrelentingly silenced and suppressed marginalized and underrepresented communities for centuries. Writing and art have the ability to restructure our narratives and make people see the complexity of our intellectual and emotional lives, to see the varying demands the world puts on us and the ways we deal with, build on, and uplift our communities. Writing has the capacity to create joy for ourselves and others, to help us reimagine better living. Everyone should have access to a platform, and to writing itself. As such, we seek and will continue to seek submissions on any topic from non-staff members, Black writers and other marginalized writers/artists for our digital platform. That being said, remember that writing can be emotionally taxing work. Do what’s best for you and your health, and feel free to submit older work.

We strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves (we have included a compilation of resources including reading lists, artwork, donation and petition links, and activist organizations), speak up (especially with those who do not share your same point of view), and take direct actions through whatever means possible — donating, attending protests, signing petitions, and any other forms of actionable support. 

Take care during these times. We hope that self-expression may be a space of healing.

Kiera Alventosa ‘21 Editor-in-Chief

Kalidas Shanti ‘22 Vice Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Zhang ‘22 Vice Editor-in-Chief

Heather Brennan, ‘20, Former EIC

 

A Letter from The Editor

Dear Readers,

As you may notice, we are back online. Our intention here at The Indicator was always to keep up our online presence, but with the distractions of a print magazine, passwords were lost, attentions were fixed elsewhere, and certain people (meaning me) did not want to tackle the beast that is WordPress. But, recent changes in the Amherst College community (and the wider world) have made this website crucial. As many of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a series of preventative measures by governments around the globe, and Amherst College has not been immune to these changes. As of March 9, Amherst College students were instructed to return to their homes if they were able and to continue courses entirely online. Amherst being the first college to implement such measures, this announcement came as quite a shock. For myself, being a senior, I was stunned to realize that what precious few weeks I still had left on campus were now suddenly and irredeemably stolen from me. I had one week to pack up my whole life here, find a flight home, say goodbye to all of my friends and professors, and do everything I told myself I had to do before I graduated. Of course, these tasks were exhausting and emotionally charged. I know that for all students, leaving campus (or watching all of your friends leave campus while you have stayed) was a heavy and possibly heartbreaking experience. My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by these changes and the greater changes we face every day as the news of this virus develops. 

Consequently, the dispersal of our student body meant that The Indicator would not be able to publish a print issue this semester. As Editor-in-Chief, this realization was saddening. All of my preparation for timelines and content and outreach were essentially nullified; my last opportunity to hold in my hands a magazine full of brilliant and beautiful work that I helped to bring about was gone. Everyone on the Indicator staff knows that I grieve this opportunity for all of us, and I apologize for not being able to deliver on my promises of seeing your work in print this semester. 

Yet, these changes do not necessitate a complete halt to The Indicator’s production: we have our website! For this semester (and the summer, if possible), The Indicator will be entirely online. I would like to provide a platform for our now disparate staff members to continue to contribute their amazing work, since I know many students had plans for articles and art pieces that they would still like to share. Granted, some of these projects may now need to be modified–stay tuned for my own contribution to our online content–but that does not mean they will be lessened in caliber or creativity. In an effort to be attentive to and considerate of the varied circumstances in which our staff members now find themselves, there will not be a scheduled timeline for the release of content, nor will the usual constraints on word count or content type be imposed. In short, I want The Indicator to be available for whatever our staff–or any eager contributors!–would like to say, whenever they want to say it. I entreat you to follow us on this journey and perhaps to even partake in it yourself.

That being said, I would like to acknowledge that our content has a hitherto unspoken theme guiding its production. Before our campus’s closure, it was our intention that the theme of the Spring 2020 issue would be “Metamorphosis.” Strangely enough, this theme was decided way back in the fall, though it seems fitting now more than ever. This certainly is a time of intense change and growth for us all, regardless of where we are and how COVID-19 is impacting us. The new can so often be confused with the disconcerting, that many times metamorphoses are only appreciated once the transformation(s) are well behind us. I hope that, even when disoriented, frightened, worried, or struggling, we can acknowledge the metamorphoses of our present moment and–if not gain appreciation for them–to at least give a nod to the ways that they are contributing to our identities and our ways of being. While the staff is not required to speak to this theme in their content, they are nevertheless able to pursue this option. I wonder how what follows will fit into our theme, intentionally or otherwise. I am excited to see what we can make, and again I invite whoever wishes to join us to reach out to me at my email at hbrennan20@amherst.edu.

I will be thinking of all of you during the coming months, whether you are a member of my staff or a reader of our magazine. I send you all my best wishes for health and happiness, and I thank you for giving me the honor of being The Indicator’s Editor-in-Chief over these past two years. It has been my most sincere pleasure.

With love,

Heather Brennan