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Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh was a columnist for On Being in 2016. She is a journalist who has covered socioeconomic class, politics and public policy for The New York TimesThe Guardian, and many other publications. Her 2018 book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is a frequent media commentator and a former Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Kansas. 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.