Senior Column: Giving voices to the voiceless through writing

If you would have told me that my post-graduation plans were moving to Kentucky to write for a media company that publishes fitness magazines while getting my masters from West Virginia University, I would’ve laughed and said “no way.”

I never had any intentions on being a writer. Did I like to write? Sure, I liked to write, but I didn’t think I’d make a career out of it — that is, until I took what is often seen as the dreaded newswriting class. I went in the first day with a notebook full of story ideas and that’s when I realized I loved journalism. How cool is it, that for a profession, you get to meet and talk to new people who are doing cool things and then write their stories?

I want to tell everyone’s story, including mine. I wrote about people who traveled the world, people who opened up local businesses, people who survived illnesses. It was inspiring, to say the least.

Writing got me through a lot. It’s my passion and it’s my therapy. My sophomore year, when I was writing for The Parthenon, one of my friends was murdered. I was heart-broken and I sat there, looking at an empty Word document, trying to figure out a story to write for the day. I just started writing. I wrote about my friend, I wrote about our memories and then I turned it in. I didn’t expect it to get published or to get any recognition.

The next day, I got a message from his family members, thanking me for sharing the memories, saying how much it helped them. I’ve always wanted to help people. A lot of my family is in the medical field and I’ve always admired them because they get to help people every day. But me, a writer? How was I supposed to help?

That’s when I realized my writing gave me an opportunity to give voices to those who may feel voiceless. It gave me an opportunity to document memories and stories that hold close to people’s hearts. It gave me an opportunity to give hope to people and shine a light in their lives in their darkest times.

Since then, I’ve tried to focus my writing on social issues. I’ve written about sexualizing breast cancer, stigmas on mental health, stereotypes on the Islamic faith, sexual assault and so many issues that may not be recognized as often or as thorough as they should.

I am so thankful for The Parthenon and the freedom it’s given me to express my (very often controversial) thoughts and views. Thanks for letting me be an editor and represent the newspaper, and thanks for helping me find my passion.

Karima Neghmouche can be contacted at [email protected].