Based on our readings of Declarations, Statements, and Petitions, and our discussion of Purpose, Tone, and Audience when considering the Rhetorical Situation, Part I of this assignment will be somewhat of a creative exercise: you will write your own Declaration where you can 1.) state your own values, ideas, or goals; Or 2.) protest some injustice and petition for a change. Of course, it is very possible that your document will do some combination of the two. As you craft this document, think about your purpose, your intended audience, and tone. You might also want to think about addressing opposing viewpoints and then overturning the assumptions through your own reasoning.
There is flexibility with this assignment, but the primary goal is to communicate something about yourself, your values, and/or your social world or community. This document can take different forms depending on your own personal, professional, or social commitments. Here are some examples:
A personal statement about your own academic or professional goals. Here are some examples of what personal statements look like. Don’t feel like yours has to look like this–I’m just giving you models to consult!! 2
A statement about your own commitment to a form of social justice. For instance, you might compose a statement in response to Black Lives Matter, or you could talk about the pandemic response, immigration reform, or some other pressing social issue. Here is an example of the Black Lives Matter statement from the SGA (Student Government Association) at Hostos.
A petition arguing for some concrete change in your community, workplace, or school environment. Here is an example of a petition from change.org that seeks justice for Breonna Taylor.
For the second part of this assignment, you will describe how and why you constructed the document the way you did. You should make especially clear what purposes the document serves, what kind of tone(s) you are trying to establish and why, and what audiences you are considering when writing your document.In other words, what decisions did you make in terms of the word choice, examples, and tone you used to convey purpose and convince your audience to understand your point of view and positions?
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