Writing and Activism—Where the Pen Meets a Cause, featuring Daisy Hernández

Dec 10, 2018

Daisy Hernández

In this episode, Brooke and Grant examine activism and writing, and consider the various ways in which the very act of writing is activism—even if writers might call it something else. Guest Daisy Hernández shares her experience writing and creating in various forms—books, articles, radio spots, and more—and talks about how urgency shapes what she chooses to take on in her own activist writing. Tune in to discover the ways in which you might be an activist without even realizing it.


Daisy Hernández is the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has reported for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, and she has written for NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays and fiction have appeared inAster(ix), Bellingham Review, Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, and Rumpus among other journals. A contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, Daisy is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio. Find Daisy on Twitter @daisyhernandez.

Writing Action: What You Care About as Activism

Think about what you’re passionate about. Consider activism outside of the traditional political and policy boxes. If your own passions fall there, perfect, but if not, what are the core messages you care about? Are there any prevalent messages that shine through when you’re writing, and what happens when they do show up? Do you move toward those ideas or shy away from them? Are you conscious of being assertive around issues you care about, or do you tend to tamp them down for fear of alienating your readers? There’s no right or wrong in this exercise, it’s just about taking a look at how activism may be informing your writing, even the absence of activism. Sometimes figuring out where your passions are can also lead to supplementary books, too, since you may discover you have more to say about the issue you’re writing about. There are many ways to be an activist, and if the word itself doesn’t ring true to you, that’s just fine. Call it something else. But don’t be afraid to articulate in your writing your ideas and opinions that align with your passions and/or your values.

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