I have sat down to write my first editorial as executive editor of The Record many times over the last week, hoping to find the right words to usher in an unprecedented semester.

But what do I write, when a ‘welcome back’ implies some sort of return to what once was, when the masked faces I see on campus remind me we are far from returning back to a semester of campus events, musical performances in Sauder Hall or filled classrooms.

What do I write, knowing we have all witnessed and lived a new reality these last six months, with both similar and wildly different experiences and struggles.

For now, I know my own story. 

In July, I sat in a hospital, a testing swab probing around my nostrils, reminded of the way COVID-19 continues to alter my life: an abrupt end to the semester, a virtual graduation, a cancelled summer internship, a summer warehouse job.

But even though my life has changed, the two minutes it took to decide whether I was positive or negative was the extent of my discomfort. 

Since then, I have watched the reality of COVID-19 uncover the systemic racial injustice in our nation, evident in the increase of positive cases among minority populations. And as Americans took to the street, marching in response to incidents of police brutality, there was and still is a bigger cry to be heard, one that demands more than my handmade sign of a Black person’s name.

My story, alone, is not enough to bear witness to the realities of these times, nor should it be.

That’s why I believe that we, as The Record, hold a responsibility to report the many truths of this time, with narratives that hinge themselves upon those who not only speak them, but who also live them.

So what do we write, here at The Record, this semester?

As a newspaper dedicated to informing the Goshen College community and uplifting its voices, our responsibility is to engage in the fight for justice – among races, within the healthcare system, for our climate and in our broader world – with everything we publish.

Advocacy will tell the story of this time.

It’s been five months of hiatus from The Record, but we are back and committed to doing the work that is ours to do, the work that calls us to hold accountable those in our community of Goshen and those in leadership across the country, all while highlighting the voices among us.

This issue of The Record seeks to honor the tension found as we live between difficult realities and hope for what is to come. 

As I sit here writing, I find myself in the newsroom of the communication wing attached to Newcomer. There is much to celebrate about this new space. There is much to celebrate about all the spaces we now share, together. 

But the fragility of this moment calls for unselfish decision-making and collective choices. If the pandemic has exposed anything, it’s that our country, this state, this campus is not an equal home for everybody. Not yet. 

So, we continue to write, elevating truth that pushes for change.