Editor’s Note: The publication before you is unlike anything we at Williams Magazine have attempted before.
It’s a special issue focused on two major forces shaping our campus and our world: a pandemic that has upended nearly every aspect of daily life, exacerbating systemic, structural inequalities; and the ongoing horrors of racism and brutality against Black Americans. You can read more about Williams’ responses to these forces in a letter by President Maud S. Mandel.
This issue of the magazine also creates space for more contributors than ever. At a time when our community was reeling and raw, we asked Williams people to help make sense of where we are now. Their poems, essays, stories and interviews fill this magazine. We thank them for entrusting their words and ideas to our care.
Williams Magazine is the result of measured and thoughtful writing and thinking on topics that defy easy explanation. One aspect of that work is presenting “the first rough draft of history,” as journalism has been described by Washington Post Publisher Philip L. Graham and others.
The magazine also aspires to what Claudia Rankine ’86, whose poem “Weather” appears in this issue, calls “unknowing.” As she defines it in an interview with LitHub.com, unknowing is “the will to keep questioning the things that work against the potential for a better life, a more equitable one, a more inclusive, justice-filled one.”
Both in print and online, Williams Magazine will continue to make space for complex conversations and the diversity of voices and experiences of our communities.
There’s so much more to be written. We hope you’ll keep reading.
—Amy T. Lovett, Editor in Chief
A Williams professor once told me, “Don’t use your poetry as a soapbox”
Almost fifty years after a racist incident drove his father out of Williamstown, a son begins the work of helping him—and the Williams community—to heal.
Political theorist Juliet Hooker ’94 discusses movements, monuments and the long struggle to achieve racial justice.