I sort of fell into my work at the Reveille. At times it feels like I tricked my way into the Opinions section somehow and just haven't been found out yet.
I never thought of myself as someone with opinions worth sharing, so I was shocked when I was hired to do just that. It seemed ridiculous, bordering on comical. I was elated and grateful, but I doubted myself.
After all, my authority is painfully limited. I’m no figure of sociocultural or political importance. Fiction writing was, and is, my first love. I have roughly the same amount of knowledge and life experience as the next reasonably watchful English undergraduate.
I know what’s in the news. I know what my instincts are. I’ve rarely ever been unequivocally right about something. Sometimes I’m fantastically wrong. My opinions are my own, passionately dedicated, researched over days to weeks but fallible still and subject to change.
When I first came into the position in January I believed this to be a weakness of mine; a problem that would need solving. But as the year wore on, I settled into my job with more ease than I anticipated; I realized I’d been thinking about it all wrong. It wasn’t about me personally.
That's the kind of thing you pick up on once you find yourself on an elevated platform in the midst of concurrent social and public health crises. I've lived and worked through this. I've witnessed up close the suffering and strife and the influence that words can truly have on the world.
It's become clear not only that the media is an increasingly powerful force for both positive and negative change but that I myself am an agent of the media and that my responsibility is to the people; I cannot become too caught up in my own selfish concerns.
As a columnist the majority of my work involves finding ways to highlight other people's stories rather than tell my own. So often, as was the case for my recent Juneteenth article, my opinion is secondary to the larger narrative. So often it is about being a messenger, a mirror to the world.
I wasn't hired to form opinions that are better or more worthy than anyone else’s. It isn’t my or any columnist’s job to say perfect things about a society which itself is imperfect, fallible, altogether human—that would be impossible—but to reflect these larger moments in time; to feel and believe, and to speak, unreservedly, in the face of all self-doubt and presumed insignificance.
To speak not for everyone but to everyone. To anyone who will listen, at least; anyone who might join the conversation. Let me take this moment, as we march blindfolded towards an uncertain, certainly unprecedented future, to say that it’s an honor to speak.
Grace Pulliam is a 19-year-old creative writing senior from Zachary, LA.