May 2017 graduates Taneasha White and Brandon Clarkson recently created online publishing platforms to highlight their own writing and that of others. Although the two students have never discussed their publishing efforts, their platforms share the common goal of widening social and political discourse.
Taneasha White is the co-founder and co-editor of Better Futures Press. According to Taneasha, she and her co-founder created Better Futures as a platform for marginalized genres, such as science fiction, speculative fiction, and cyber punk, as well as for marginalized voices. As the press’ website proclaims, “No one is going to silence you here.”
At the moment, Better Futures has two publications–Black Ice, a fiction journal, and UnSung, a journal spanning poetry, creative nonfiction, and miscellaneous prose. The first issue of Black Ice was published in March of this year and is available for purchase on MagCloud. Submissions are currently open for the first edition of UnSung, which Taneasha says will feature the work of people of color, immigrants, and those who identify on the LGBTQ spectrum. Looking to the future, Taneasha hopes that Better Futures Press will expand beyond publishing to offer writing workshops and writing-related events.
Brandon Clarkson is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Sojourn Review, a journal that offers commentary on politics and international affairs. According to Brandon, he and his co-founder created Sojourn to provide a home for non-partisan, evidence-based political arguments. While most of the pieces that Sojourn has published so far have been center-left, Brandon hopes that in time the journal will publish essays that respectfully argue differing points of view. Such respectful arguing, he believes, will provide a model for positive political discourse and possibly even shift the world views of readers.
Since its launch earlier this year, Sojourn Review has published essays on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the political left’s ideology, and recent U.S. military actions in Syria, among other topics. Brandon encourages readers to respond to the essays through letters to the editor, one-time opinion pieces of their own, or by joining the Sojourn Review team of staff writers. As with Better Futures Press, a variety of viewpoints are not only welcome at Sojourn, but desired. In the words of the editor-in-chief, “Only good can come out of debate.”