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Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh is a columnist for On Being. Her column appears every other Tuesday.
She is a journalist and memoirist who writes about socioeconomic class, place, and other boundaries in America. She has reported on public policy for The New Yorker and Harper’s online, The Guardian, Guernica, and many others. Her essays and cultural criticism have appeared at Aeon, Longreads, McSweeney’s, and more. Her book In the Red, on the American working class and her upbringing in rural Kansas, is forthcoming from Scribner. She lives in Kansas and Texas. Read more about her work at


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It is a privilege to feel that this is a time of unusual turmoil. Sarah Smarsh points at our responsibility in this revelatory moment: not just to look at the injustice we live amidst, but to act on what we see.
In the age of “hashtag activism,” standing in place together remains a powerful symbol of collective strength. Sarah Smarsh reflects on the gravity of steadfast presence in bringing about change.