Writers House to Host Special Event Highlighting Lived Experiences of Marginalized veterans

By Tom McLaughlin

The Writers House at Rutgers University–Camden and Philadelphia-based Warrior Writers will bring together scholars, journalists, and creators whose work concerns veterans for a special event focusing on the lived experiences of veterans themselves.

The discussion will focus on the stories of veterans whose experiences aren’t as often highlighted, or in some cases silenced entirely, such as Black veterans, women, and members of the LGBTQIA community.

“Speaking Out About Marginalized Experiences in the Military,” which is free of charge and open to the public, will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 in the Multi-Purpose Room, located on the main level of the Campus Center, at 326 Penn Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Register here.

The discussion – part of the ongoing “Outside the Wire,” a programming series highlighting veterans’ narratives – will focus on the stories of veterans whose experiences aren’t as often highlighted, or in some cases silenced entirely, such as Black veterans, women, and members of the LGBTQIA community.

The talk will feature area veterans, as well as Samuel Black, curator of African American programs at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh; Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving In Iraq, a journalistic account of sexual assault in the armed forces.

“Outside the Wire,” which encompasses monthly writing workshops, a public program focusing on veterans’ experiences, and an exhibit of wartime communications, recently earned a $9,100 action grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

The Writers House at Rutgers University–Camden

The NJCH grant – a second year of funding from the nonprofit – enables the Writers House to maintain a consistent schedule of generative writing workshops for veterans on campus, as well as public programs that feature prominent journalists, scholars, and other thinkers whose work relates to veterans’ experiences.

For the 2019-20 academic year, the program is focusing on race, gender, and sexual orientation in the military.

Creative writing workshops, led by Warrior Writers, offer veterans the opportunity to work in a supportive environment with writing prompts that encourage them to reflect upon issues and experiences common among veterans and service members. Veterans interested in joining upcoming workshops can register by contacting Leah Falk at leah.falk@camden.rutgers.edu or (856) 668-4980.

The Writers House is also working with the Office of Veterans and Military Programs at Rutgers University–New Brunswick to produce an exhibit in spring 2020 that features communications between service members and their loved ones, a continuation and enhancement of a project begun last year.

Rutgers University–Camden, which was designated the first Purple Heart University in New Jersey, has a history of offering programs designed to meet the unique needs of veterans and military personnel.

For additional information about the “Outside the Wire” veterans’ narrative series, visit the Rutgers–Camden Writers House website.

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