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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.