“Claremont Progressive” Provides Political Forum

The Claremont Progressive is a new bi-weekly publication meant to provide a forum for a wide array of social issues, ranging from pollution in the Inland Valley to concerns from Pomona’s staffing practices.“We were looking for some sustained way of creating a political discourse, not just to report what’s happening, but to show how people can get involved and take action,” said founder Alvin Sangsuwangul PO ’10.Many of the writers are members of other organizations on campus that share a similar ideological perspective. Nick Gerber PO ’10, a member of both the Workers’ Support Committee and the Progressive, has published two articles so far, one on diversity at Pomona and another on treatment of staff.“[The Progressive] kind of came out of Stand with Staff, the experience at the end of last year. We tried to get information out to students, but found it sort of difficult to work through existing channels,” Gerber said.Sangsuwangul came up with the idea for the Progressive over the summer. After calling several classmates he thought might be interested, he began brainstorming for the first issue.“What we saw was a niche that wasn’t being filled—a paper that has a specific mission, which isn’t to achieve a journalistic neutrality, but looks to highlight people who are working for environmental and social justice issues on campus,” Sangsuwangul said.A group of about 10 students meets every Sunday afternoon in the Students of Color Alliance lounge to put the paper together and to plan future issues. Members pay the printing costs out of their own pockets, though the paper has submitted a grant proposal to Campus Progress, a division of an organization called American Progress, which sponsors progressive publications at colleges nationwide.“I think it’s very well-intentioned,” said Tommy Li PO ’12. “It’s necessary to represent the views of the underrepresented.”Other newspapers on campus examine social issues, but members of the Progressive contend that their publication provides a new perspective. According to founding member Samuel Pang PO ‘11, the publication has an activist rather than a journalistic orientation. “We’re more interested in getting people involved in action than just having endless discussion without an outcome,” Pang said.In anticipation of their first issue, members of the Progressive posted flyers around campus. Each had a slogan and the paper’s logo—a turtle emblazoned with the word “progressive” and propelled by a rocket attached to its back. One flier read, “Because not everyone is rich, white, and male.”Despite criticism from students who have complained about the tone and message of its advertising, Progressive writers defended their decision.“I can definitely understand if people are offended, but the signs were meant to get conversations going,” Pang said. “If people are talking about them, that means they worked.”A sentiment that many members of the Progressive echoed is the need to transform and expand the school’s dialogue on such issues.“It’s very easy within a small liberal arts college to get very focused inwards on our own campus and personally on our own lives. But I think part of an education is also understanding where you are and what’s going on around you,” Sangsuwangul said.While leaders of the Progressive hope the paper’s staff and readership will expand throughout the 5Cs, distribution and membership are currently concentrated on Pomona’s campus.Describing the reception of the publication so far, Sangsuwangul said, “I’m not sure, but the issues are disappearing somewhere!”For more information, contact the Progressive at theclaremontprogressive@gmail.com or attend their weekly meetings at 3 p.m. on Sundays in the S.O.C.A. Lounge.

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