Introduction: Personal Journeys
Your work starts with you.
Dear beloved YES! readers,
I’m filled with many emotions as I write the letter for this issue, as it is my last to you. By the time you read it, I’ll no longer be at YES! The decision to leave was not an easy one to make, but all things considered, it was the best decision for the journey I have ahead. What that is exactly, I don’t know. However, I’m making myself available to the unfolding.
It’s apropos then that this issue is “The Personal Journeys Issue.” It’s been a long time coming.
As you know, YES! just celebrated 25 years of publishing solutions journalism, reporting on communities organizing to solve problems created by the extractive and exploitative systems and institutions that govern us. And as you have been inspired by many of these stories, for years, many of you have responded to them with questions of “Yes! But how do I … ?” Or “What can I do about … ?”
This issue doesn’t answer those questions exactly, meaning the stories don’t tell you what to do or how you can do it. They do, however, share the personal journeys of others, which include the challenges and obstacles they’ve faced, the mistakes they’ve made, and sometimes the harm they’ve caused or harm that has been done to them on their journeys to becoming.
One of the things you’ll learn through their stories is that your work starts with you.
In this issue you’ll read work by authors who are modeling change to shift global consciousness, rediscovering themselves in nature, writing prison reform legislation while still incarcerated, and those who grew from rage to mindfulness and learned about building community from bees. You’ll also learn about the four pivots to social change, healing generational trauma, and how vulnerability creates change.
Since I’ve been leading YES! Magazine, we’ve included a Reflection Page for you to jot down your takeaways from the issue: what gives you hope, what you’re inspired by, good ideas you can use, and what you can do based on that inspiration and those ideas. I hope that, at least for this issue, you begin your reflecting on this page and continue beyond it, to guide yourself into your next steps on your own personal journey.
Your change is imperative to how we move forward together toward transforming this world into one where we see each other and respect each other, so that we can work together collectively toward building a more equitable, compassionate world.
Zenobia Jeffries Warfield, YES! executive editor
Feature photo: Tanya Taylor, the producer of the documentary Black in Mayberry, stands tall on the roof of the El Segundo Museum of Art, where her film, which documents the stories of Black Lives Matter protesters in her small California town, premiered in May 2021. The week before the show, Taylor received an anonymous bomb threat. The FBI opened an investigation and local police provided plainclothes officers for additional security. The museum went on with the show. Read more about Taylor and others who found their role in movements by witnessing them in the article “When Witnessing Becomes Activism” by Kelly Clancy at yesmagazine.org/witness. Photo by Lee Tonks.