DOWN Magazine emerged out of the silences intentionally and unintentionally created by the overwhelming whiteness of Yale’s journalistic landscape. These gaping holes motivated us to create a publication that would not only enrich the communities in which it is grounded, but also create an outlet for the news, voices, and arts that have been pent up inside students of color for so long.
In the past these efforts were housed in individual cultural communities, but DOWN is unique because we strive to create a space that both honors the specificity of the many cultures our writers bring to the table while also drawing connections between them.
An organic intersectionality has always been one of our guiding principles. And that sensibility is even more essential in the face of campus conversations where identity, when it is mentioned, is often understood as static and one-dimensional. DOWN seeks to write from a perspective where the intersections are at the forefront of the writing rather than an afterthought.
It is true that race is central to DOWN, but more than that our writers – who are also gay, straight, bisexual, low-income, wealthy, funny and articulate – are what ground this publication. They’re smart. And their insights on all issues, racial and otherwise, are going to change the way we all view the world.
Yale should be the last place for this kind of talent to go to waste. But in the case of campus publications, there is so much lost potential for important narratives, perspectives, and even breaking news because of the lack of inclusivity and respect for writers of color and the issues about which they are passionate that many students of color choose not to write at all.
DOWN is also a space where these writers in waiting can find the encouragement, constructive criticism, and room that they need to get started. The results so far have been badass – if you do not believe us, browse this website and see how powerfully students of color communicate truth in written form once we find a space that values our contributions and us.
If journalism is the pursuit of truth, then the “objective” aggregation of facts, often produced by institutions invested in a certain status quo, hardly fits that description. DOWN is part of a larger journalistic movement that seeks to challenge our society’s woefully flawed notion that corporate or elite publications are invested in telling the whole, objective truth.
We seek to transcend and redefine the possibilities of the place of journalism in shaping American society – and what better group of people to bring this perspective to our campus than we, the students of color, those with the ability to critically analyze this white supremacist world objectively, using our position as outsiders looking in to our empirical advantage. We are here, we have carved out our space, and we are not going anywhere.
by Eshe Sherley and Sebastian Medina-Tayac, Managing Editors for DOWN Magazine