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From the editor: Stories that matter

From the editor: Stories that matter

[photo of Andrea Gunn by Bernard Clark]Sometimes, stories take time to come to fruition, as people’s lives take unexpected new directions. Sometimes, life comes at you fast.

Our cover story comes to us courtesy of Anita Jack-Davies. Anita is a writer, a professor, an alumna, and an elected member of University Council, for which she also works as equity adviser. She is also a Black woman who has experienced and witnessed racism and exclusion to a degree that I, as a white woman, will never know. I am honoured that Anita has shared her story with us in “After the fires burn.” She writes about some very painful subjects, and I hope you will read this article with an open heart. Anita also raises the issue of the stories of Queen’s that we, as a community, have lost because of systemic racism.

Kate Kemplin and I started communicating, via Twitter, back in October. We planned a story on her work studying traumatic brain injuries in military personnel. There were many layers to Kate’s personal and professional story. In April, she added another one. I got an email from her then, saying, ‘I’m headed to New York to set up a field hospital for patients with covid-19. I’ll be in touch.” I thought about Kate during that time, hoping she was safe. I was so happy to reconnect with her again she wrapped up her work in New York, which you’ll read about in “This is what nurses do.”

Paul Sawtell’s story (“From feast to famine”) was slated for our May issue. It was supposed to be a good news story, that of Paul and his wife, Grace, making their dream business a reality. In mid-March, Iwas awaiting the first draft of the story from writer Andrew Stokes, and Paul and I were discussing photo possibilities. And then, of course, everything changed.

We shelved the story: Paul and Grace almost had to shelve their business, like so many other small business owners whose livelihoods were threatened by the pandemic.

And then, in early June, I got an email from Paul. They had, tentatively, turned a corner, reinvented the business, hired back some of their laid-off staff. I’m so happy to share their story with you now.

Through phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings, I have been privileged to work with each of these three alumni to bring their stories to you.

[graphic of CCAE gold medallion]Recently, the Queen’s Alumni Review was honoured by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education at its annual awards program. We received a gold award in the category“Best feature writing: English” for Wanda Praamsma’s 2019 article on Principal Daniel Woolf, “A decade at the helm.”

[cover image of the Queen's Alumni Review issue 3, 2020, featuring Anita Jack-Davies]