BEG: Changing the world

I have worked at the Marquette Wire since my first year of college, starting on the Opinions desk as a columnist. Now at the end of my time at Marquette, I will finish my four-year journey on the Opinions desk. Others may find it strange that I dedicated my entire college journalistic career to a single desk,  working in the same exact position most of the time as a columnist for three years.

Unlike most seniors, a drastic change in my role at the Wire was not for me. I was more than content staying on the Opinions desk and writing columns about issues occurring locally, nationally and globally that were important to me. The Wire and the Opinions desk gave me the space and opportunity to do that, and for that, I am thankful.

Not once were any of my column pitches shut down or dismissed, in all my four years. Every editor I have worked with always supported me and my stories no matter how controversial or unpopular they may have been. After some of my first column pitches or stories, my timid, unconfident first-year self would be fearful that the managing editor of the Tribune or faculty leader Mark Zoromski would scold me for the topics I wrote about. Instead, I got applauded and praised for the stories published every week.

In fact, one week in 2019 I wrote a controversial story criticizing the beloved and admired daytime host Ellen DeGeneres. I assumed not only would the public disagree with me, but those at the Wire would as well. To my full surprise, during one of our weekly all-staff meetings, Sydney Czyzon, executive director of the Marquette Wire that year, awarded me “best story” that week.

I think about how fearful I was as a woman of color entering a majority white organization my first year at Marquette. I was fearful that the ideas I were passionate about did not fit into the Wire “box,” ideas that may not appeal to a predominantly white institution. I now look back recognizing the journey I had and feel pride with every word I have written and continue to write.

The leaders at the Wire, both student and faculty, helped me improve my confidence through every story. No matter what it was about, I felt proud of the work I was creating because of those at the Wire who supported me through it. My voice was not only validated, but encouraged. From diversity trainings to public forums, the Wire ensured that my voice was heard.

I want to take this column to thank the Marquette Wire, specifically the people, who gave me a space.

I am happy leaving the beloved Opinions desk with those who continue to write strong, fervent columns every week. It has been amazing to see the growth of the writers on my desk as an assistant editor this year.

To Hope, Max, Lucia and Jenna, continue to be the fierce writers you grow into every week.

To Morgan, Maya and Alex, thank you for always letting me write what was necessary and for giving me the confidence to use my writing to change the world from the little corner of it that is the Marquette Wire.

This story was written by Aminah Beg. She can be reached at [email protected]