As 2018 comes to a close, the Inquirer Opinion department looks back on some contributions from writers outside our newsroom.

Want to submit an opinion piece to the Inquirer? Email Deputy Opinion Editor Erica Palan at epalan@philly.com and/or Opinion Coverage Editor Elena Gooray at egooray@philly.com. Submissions should be about 650 words long and should include links to pertinent sources. Please paste your work into the body into the body of an email. We’re mostly looking for newsy opinion and commentary submissions — the pieces below are great examples. We give priority to highlighting voices from under-represented communities.

Safe Injection Sites

A view inside the pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park in Toronto, Canada on October 3, 2017.
DAVID MAIALETTI
A view inside the pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park in Toronto, Canada on October 3, 2017.

In January, city officials announced that the city won’t stand in the way if a private entity wanted to open a safe-injection site in Philadelphia. The announcement put Philadelphia on track to become the first city in America to have such a site. The announcement drew a mixed reaction:

Criminal Justice Reform

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins speaks about Meek Mill's imprisonment during a news conference before a panel about criminal justice reform at the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Tim Tai
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins speaks about Meek Mill's imprisonment during a news conference before a panel about criminal justice reform at the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer

Criminal justice reform was a big topic in Philadelphia in 2018. Larry Krasner started his tenure as DA after running on sweeping reform, Meek Mill who spent months in prison for a probation violation was released, a homicide in Rittenhouse divided Philadelphia, Malcolm Jenkins and the Player’s Coalition continued their advocacy for reform, just to name some of the issues that populated our pages.

Transportation

Traffic backs up on Broad Street near Allegheny Avenue in Philadelphia, PA on November1, 2016 as commuters deal with day one of the SEPTA strike. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Traffic backs up on Broad Street near Allegheny Avenue in Philadelphia, PA on November1, 2016 as commuters deal with day one of the SEPTA strike. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

How we get around is a topic that never ceases to spark debate in this city. This year was no different. Here’s some of our most-discussed issues around transit and transportation from 2018.

Gun Violence

Hundreds of students gather at City Hall as part of a national student walkout in support of gun control on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Hundreds of students gather at City Hall as part of a national student walkout in support of gun control on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer

In 2018, Gunviolencearchive.org reports that there were 338 mass shootings in the U.S. In Philadelphia this year, 1,358 people were shot in Philadelphia, according to the most recent city data available (which ends on December 27, 2018). How to deal with the gun violence epidemic is an important topic every year. Here’s a selection of some pieces we ran in 2018:

Starbucks

Local Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, left, uses a megaphone inside a Starbucks on April 15, 2018, demanding the firing of the manager who called police on two black men who had entered the store, but didn't make a purchase, resulting in their arrest. The arrests were captured on video that quickly gained traction on social media. (Mark Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Michael Bryant / AP
Local Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, left, uses a megaphone inside a Starbucks on April 15, 2018, demanding the firing of the manager who called police on two black men who had entered the store, but didn't make a purchase, resulting in their arrest. The arrests were captured on video that quickly gained traction on social media. (Mark Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

On April 12, two black men were arrested inside a Philadelphia Starbucks after a barista called the police on them for requesting to use a bathroom without purchasing anything. The arrest was captured on camera and the video went viral and sparked a national conversation about race and public spaces.

#MeToo

Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before testifying the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)
TNS
Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before testifying the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)

In 2018, a record number of women spoke out about their own experience with sexual harassment and assault. Two high-profile cases this year ended in opposite results Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for sexual assault and Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in spite of allegations made against him.

Catholic Clergy Abuse Scandal

Daniel J. Dye, center, Senior Deputy Attorney General, center, reaches over and comforts Judy Deavena, right, mother of Joey Behe, a victim of sexual abuse from a Catholic priest, as Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro unveils a grand jury report into abuse at six dioceses across the state.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Daniel J. Dye, center, Senior Deputy Attorney General, center, reaches over and comforts Judy Deavena, right, mother of Joey Behe, a victim of sexual abuse from a Catholic priest, as Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro unveils a grand jury report into abuse at six dioceses across the state.

In August, after a long legal battle, Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests in six dioceses across the state. The horrifying description made some grapple with their faith and called into question on how to prevent these types of abuses from happening.