As someone who is a mainstream representative of the “faces of dissent,” I find your cover story angle and photo of a covered antifa activist both offensive and counterproductive [“Everyday People: Local Activists Strive for Social Change” Nov. 8, Xpress]. It is a surefire way to reinforce conservative people’s preconceived notions of “the Other” and delegitimize the valid, broad-based — and mostly mainstream — tranche of citizenry fighting the “good fight” in these troubling times.
I don’t know what your aim was, but it certainly backfired with me, a voter/activist dedicated to helping see through the quickest, most effective end of Trump, his ilk and all he/they represent. It backfired equally, if more so, with my evangelical mother. Your cover photo choice is not the best way to facilitate a healthy dialogue, which is the best way we can start to heal the unhealthy divisions in our society, neighborhoods, workplaces and — at its most intimate and painful level — families.
You would have done far better to put my 70-year-old mother-in-law on your cover. She’s a college-educated, water-aerobics-loving church choir singer and volunteer at her community’s medical supply donation center. She, who has all her life not had the slightest activist bone in her body, has joined a group in her community who gather regularly to phone and email politicians, holding them to account for their divisive and damaging positions and votes. That cover photo might have actually made it easier for someone like my mother to validate the myriad dissenters among us, as well as reinforce to those needing nudges to join our ranks and help turn the tide.
— Liz Siena
A visiting American expat
and member of the “faces of dissent”
Editor’s response: As the words that appear on the cover suggest, the person pictured represents just one of many “faces of dissent.” In the article, Xpress sought to provide local activists and organizations a chance to speak to their motives and methods and to address negative stereotypes. We hope readers will take these local perspectives into account as they explore their own viewpoints on the various issues touched upon in the article. We are also appreciative that readers have taken the opportunity to voice their opinions, since one key goal of the article was to stimulate dialogue.