The foundation of civic and community engagement is in critical reflection – a process of thinking about circumstances that help us to learn, grow, and deepen our civic commitments.

Titled #ThisCivicMoment, this online series is open to submissions from Washington University students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We invite you, as individuals or groups, to share your perspectives on the implications of the civic moments of our time including COVID-19, the Movement for Black Lives, 2020 Census, and 2020 National Elections. 

We invite you to engage with the following perspectives.

I wish I could explain each choice here, but mainly I hope any reader will sit with the blunt despair of the speaker and reflect. With high drama, the speaker yearns to be heard­.

Charlyn Moss, ’20

With each additional day that COVID-19 forces his nursing home to remain closed, I lose yet another chance to sit at his bedside…As America continues to count the dead, it is overlooking the lives of those who are running out of time.

Joel Anderson, ’20

My mind is a cloudy day

and I can’t help but wonder what does the future hold.

Two plagues cross my head

and I am not sure which I fear most.

Yohanes Mulat

Our democracy may be infected…However, we don’t have to wait for a vaccine. The cure to this illness lies in the transformative power of the public to bind these wounds through civic and democratic engagement. 

Taylor Brown 

Recent Submissions

Poem / Charlyn Moss

In “Spare Me The Mask” by Charlyn Moss ’20, the speaker offers to lose their identity for a life. By the close, the reader must think in the same mode of the speaker…What would you trade for your liberation? Read the poem.

Essay / Joel Anderson

Alumnus Joel Anderson ’20 provides a timely and personal narrative about the way we consider the impact of COVID-19 in the essay “The Human Toll of COVID-19 Can’t Be Quantified”.

Read the essay.

Poem / Yohanes Mulat

The poem “Matters of Life and Death” by Yohanes Mulat, an undergraduate at WashU, attempts to capture today’s frustrations and fears when it comes to balancing the risk of the Coronavirus and the desire to participate in protests.

Read the poem.

Essay / Taylor Brown

In the essay “We are the Cure: How to Help Our Democracy Recover from the Pandemic” by Taylor Brown, the reader is called to examine our humanity and civic health amidst COVID-19. 

Read the essay.

Inspired to create your own submission or nominate someone?

Washington University encourages all members of the University community to be informed, actively engaged citizens.  We welcome submissions representing a diverse range of views and beliefs and want to empower you to share your ideas and perspectives. Submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis and are selected based on their alignment with to #ThisCivicMoment’s purpose and submission guidelines. Submissions that include harassing or threatening content or that otherwise do not align with the Gephardt Institute’s mission and values, as determined by the Gephardt Institute, will not be posted.

Please note that as a non-partisan, tax-exempt institution, Washington University itself may not advocate for the election or defeat of a particular candidate or political party, nor can the University promote or encourage such advocacy by participants in university-sponsored events. Submissions posted reflect the individual views of the author and do not constitute University sponsorship, support, or endorsement of any political candidate, political party, or political action committee.