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Vox Launches a Week-long Examination of Forgiveness in America

Amanda Northrop/Vox

America doesn’t know how to forgive.

By its very definition, forgiveness puts the burden on victims to figure out a path forward, to move on from the harm they endured. That conception of forgiveness is limiting. Over the next week, Vox is publishing a series of pieces exploring the theme of forgiveness: its role in society, its potential for catharsis, its challenges and limits.

Contributors to the package include Marin Cogan and Madeleine O’Neill on finding forgiveness when you’ve been wronged by a power structure; Jerusalem Demsas on restorative justice; Sean Illing, with an episode of the Vox Conversations podcast featuring Johns Hopkins philosopher Lucy Allais; Jen Kirby on the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Rachel Wilkerson Miller on how to forgive someone who isn’t all that sorry; and Aja Romano on why we’ve never successfully forgiven a famous person.

The goal of the series is to spark introspection, start thoughtful conversations, and make the case for the construction of a more forgiving American future.