Blogging with Conscience: How Your Voice Can Make a Difference

I have a confession to make—

I’m at a loss—

A complete, honest-to-goodness, in-a-good-kind-of-way loss—cause I have no idea—no earthly idea (in a world where sometimes bad things happen to good people) how to thank those of you who reached out and supported Haiti yesterday.  Whether you yourself posted about the earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince a year ago, commented on my blog, or simply read any other Haiti post, whether you’re reading for the first time today or for the twenty-seventh, I thank you.

Whoever you are, where ever you are, if you are reading this, you are, at least indirectly, supporting the recovery effort in Haiti.  And, good God, please know how grateful I am for that—so truly thankful for your caring, your sharing, your giving voice to the voiceless!

I’m one of those people who believe writing has the ability to make a difference in the world.  In fact, I created a program called “Writers without Borders” that took a group of university writing students to India, where we completed a service learning project with Habitat for Humanity.  We spent two weeks in the slums of New Delhi this past May, interviewing families and creating promotional material that Habitat India could use on its website.  We wrote feature articles, photo essays, even created an audio slide show.  It was a profound experience for all of us, but more importantly it was an opportunity to realize how writing, in very practical ways, can make the world a better place.  It was an opportunity to be that difference.

Mother and child in New Delhi slum (photo by Kathryn Reid)

As someone who teaches composition, I believe it’s important to emphasize to students (and by extension to all of us who write), that good writing amounts to more than style, that quality writing can also be a matter of conscience, that we, as writers, are obligated to use our gifts wisely and sometimes that means using words to benefit others, to speak for those who are otherwise silent.

Given this, I’d remind those of you who blogged for Haiti yesterday, and all of you who write for any reason, that words have power—power to change the world—power to make Port-au-Prince a better place—power to make a difference in your home town, on the street where you live.

I don’t know exactly what we as bloggers can do for Haiti, how concretely we could organize to make the world a better place, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Do any of you have ideas, dreams, strategies?

Alone, I am only one voice, but together we’re a chorus capable of greatness.

43 thoughts on “Blogging with Conscience: How Your Voice Can Make a Difference

  1. Kathy, you use your voice wonderfully to highlight Haiti in such a powerful and real way. And you reach out and touch so many people with your words. I love the program you devised for Habitat in India – with social media being as it is, there’s so much we can know, so thanks for sharing Haiti’s plight with me and us.
    Sunshine xx


    • Thanks so much, Sunshine. Yes, social media is indeed changing the world–and, accordingly, a powerful tool for soical change! If only we could figure out how to channel our energies most effectively! It’s wonderful to have your voice back in the blogosphere!
      Hugs from Haiti,


  2. Very well said. Just an early morning idea. Could we put something togther like “Bloggers for Haiti”. With the idea of keeping awarness up. Just a thought.


  3. Pingback: Blogging with Conscience: How Your Voice Can Make a Difference (via reinventing the event horizon) « Duke1959's Blog

  4. Pingback: One Voice for Haiti « Duke1959's Blog

  5. You’re so right, Kathy. I thought all day about blogging something, but I knew my words wouldn’t be uplifting. I was angry and frustrated. About Haiti. About the world. About us as human beings. When I used to go Facebook and post something funny or inane, I would get tons of comments. When I posted about the need for awareness of modern day slavery or about the abuse of women and children throughout the world, I got nothing. I want to believe that bloggers can make a difference. The issues seem so overwhelming. But I do love the idea of “Writers Without Borders.”


    • I’m so sorry your serious FaceBook post were ignored–have you found boggers to be different?

      Also, what about a group called “Blogging Beyond Borders?” Is that better than “Writers without Borders?” Sara thinks there are too many “. . . without Borders” groups in the NGO and that because of that the impact of that name has been diluted–become almost cliche.


    • I’m actually own the domain name for “Writers without Borders,” (not yet used), so I could plant a blog there, but I wonder also about calling a group “Blogging Beyond Borders.” I’m curious to get more feedback. Let’s see what folks say. The blogging group could be a part of the “Writers without Borders” umbrella.

      Feedback anyone?

      others say.


    • Me too, but you’d be amazed how this idea is not taught in the classroom. It’s sad, really, but when kids begin to understand that their writing can actually make a difference in the real world, they get excited!


  6. Wow. Agree with what you say about people speaking up for those that don’t have a voice.

    I don’t have any good ideas about how to do that though. Not sure if anybody else has mentioned this, or maybe this is what you were thinking of, but how about creating a separate blog and invite contributors?


    • I don’t know either. A separate blog is a good idea. My question also involves where to park it, as I own the domain name for Writers without Borders, which is not being used. I will email you more about this. I’d love your input.


  7. Hi Kathy,
    Don’t know if this will be helpful .. . if you don’t want to use “… without Borders”, then maybe something along the lines of:
    -Borderless Bloggers / Blogging
    -Blogging the World
    -Blogging without Divide
    One can also mix and match the words, or combine the phrases?


    • All excellent ideas. I’ll play with them. What do you think about “Blogging beyond Borders?” That would eliminate the “without” part my Sara finds problematic and deviate from “Doctors without Borders,” “Architects without Borders” use of the profession as the first word in the phrase, allowing the first word to describe what’s done by the group, rather than who’s doing it.

      Yes, I think you’re right–it’s a matter of fiddling with the combinations. I like your “Borderless Blogging” too. Thanks so mcu for the suggestions!


      • These are great questions, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answers yet. Maybe I should just start with a series of guest posts on my blog to see where it leads. Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about what to call it or where to park it. Maybe I’m getting the cart before the horse.


  8. Don’t know where your domain is currently hosted, but will they allow you to add a subdomain? It might come in handy if you decide not to use “Writers without Borders” title. Just a thought 🙂


  9. I just found your blog after reading a comment you left on my blog today. I feel your heart, and I love what you’re doing here. It’s good to see caring and compassion when in my day-to-day life, I often witness quite the opposite 🙂


    • Thanks for this support! Blogging for me requires a balance between what I love and what I think readers will enjoy–but even more important than either sometimes is giving voice to the voiceless–perhaps my biggest passion!


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