For Senior Class President Carlos Campos ’22, providing students with a platform to share their stories in a safe, inclusive, creative space is a priority. His new project, “People of the Global Majority,” a student-run publication supported by Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) and its president Ryan Britt ’22, aims to give a voice to historically marginalized students on campus.
“I … believe that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to teach, inspire and share, [thus] the ‘People of the Global Majority’ project was born,” Campos said. “It is a platform dedicated to sharing the stories of Bowdoin students who would consider themselves ‘non-white’ or non-American.”
Campos’ vision for more representation of students’ stories came from his experiences with The Orient. Both Britt and Campos were columnists for the paper last year and explored themes of first-generation, low-income identities and whiteness in their writing.
Campos said he started writing for The Orient because he wanted to change the fact that Orient publications can feel distant to him.
“I was like ‘where are the real stories’ that I really, really want to read,” Campos said.
The positive reactions that Campos received on his column also contributed to his desire to publish stories that traditionally remained unpublished. Through the project, Campos wants to give his peers the same rewarding experience of feeling validated.
“When I was [writing for] the Orient, every time I would write a column it would be validating … and even if it changed a singular person, if no one else read it, I would be very happy,” Campos said. “I’m hoping that in that way the writers themselves can also feel validated.”
The inspiration for the project’s title came from an Instagram story that Campos saw over the summer, which proposed the term “People of the Global Majority,” as a replacement for the term “people of color,” or POC.
“[The term] de-centers whiteness as the norm and affirms our inherent power as people of the global majority because not everybody is rich, American or white,” Campos said.
The final product of this project will be a manuscript of the pieces of writing and a foreword by Campos along with pictures and illustrations. In addition to this manuscript, there will be an accompanying exhibit in Lamanche gallery which will include portraits of the contributing writers holding white boards with brief reflections or messages about their personal global identity.
“Writing is an art, and art can be visual or it can be read. Thereby, we want to have both,” Campos said.
The project aims to put the agency in the hands of the writers in terms of how their story is shared by providing the options to either remain anonymous or to submit their own accompanying images. It also aims to provide writers with a voice to share their stories with the greater campus community.
“There are some students who of course have some very, very deep stories to share and they wish to remain anonymous and that is good too,” Campos said. “I hope that the writers themselves have an intrinsic motivation to write their stories, and hopefully it makes them feel validated.”
Campos described the frustrating experience of debating with people taking on a “devil’s advocate” stance while tending to ignore real-world struggles faced by some identities.
“Instead of talking to a brick wall, why don’t we talk to the people who will actually listen. And this is where the global majority is a platform that is suitable,” he said.
For readers, Campos and Britt hope this can be an opportunity to learn, reflect and empathize.
“I really hope that the readers themselves also internalize these experiences and manage to connect empathetically to it. There’s a big difference between sympathy and empathy to me,” Campos said. “Sympathy is understanding but empathy is putting yourself in one’s shoes and truly, truly feeling it.”
So far, the project has received around 20 submissions but is still eagerly taking submissions.
“I just hope [readers] get a better understanding of the kind of students that exist at Bowdoin and that our voices are important and that they see a wider expanse of who exists here,” Britt said.