I would be remiss not to address what’s been transpiring across the United States and the Wheel’s role within this larger movement. Throughout the past week, I wanted to take time to center Black voices in this movement before I commented as a white woman, but in truth, this letter is beyond late.

The country is grieving and demanding systemic change. Black Americans are forced to protest for their rights and risk COVID-19, a disease already killing them at disproportionate rates. They are dying. And their lives matter.

The press has an ever-important duty to uplift the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) without further endangering their livelihoods. 

I will not sugarcoat. This paper is guilty of sustaining problematic practices since its inception. Our staff — writers, editors, our executive board — is predominantly white. The Editorial Board, which authors the official opinion of the paper, is composed of six white student members out of eight total members. We purport to accurately cover (and author opinions on) the communities of which we do not belong, but the truth is we may never genuinely do so if we continue to operate as a majority-white newsroom. To continue on this way would constitute an injustice, a complicit acquiescence.

The Wheel, like every other majority-white organization on Emory’s campus, must reform. As a white person, I will not claim to head this movement, nor will I attempt to enact change by myself or alongside other white colleagues. But I will use my privilege to amplify other voices in highlighting the shortcomings of the Wheel and work with willing BIPOC to change our practices, our recruitment and our coverage. The Wheel is not seeking to be educated from BIPOC, however, we are asking for concrete feedback to improve and examples of how we’ve failed in the past. Whether it be our coverage, our staff or our policies — if you want to comment — submit feedback anonymously through this link: https://forms.gle/XsjFiyUjCA5LLc146. 

In support of Black journalists, we are pledging to match up to $500 in donations to the National Association of Black Journalists. Venmo our Business Manager Mileen Meyer @mileenmeyer or PayPal [email protected] with the caption “NABJ” to support this cause.

Here are some Black media outlets everyone should consider donating to or supporting their coverage: