By Dr. JOHN E. WARREN
The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint
Sometimes it’s necessary to be reminded who we are and who our friends are. It’s also important to remember from whence we have come. Such is the case this week with the Black Press. Our Black newspapers are now celebrating 194 years of being the keeper of the flame of liberty and the source of information in “our” struggle for freedom and equality.
With the advent of the recent pandemic and the visible disparity of Blacks dying at greater numbers than others, getting fewer vaccines, working the most high risk occupations and death at the hands of law enforcement, our need for a “trusted” source of information is greater than social media which has become an alternative for many.
At the same time, the interest in reaching our communities has increased on all levels.
The question has become “who is in touch with the Black community” as injustice, murder and social disparity continues to grow among Blacks. The NAACP and the Urban League gave the impression that they were in touch with the Black community.
But the reality is, neither organization has ever been in touch with the Black community without the Black Press. It is Black newspapers and not CNN, ABC, NBC or CBS that carries the articles and commentaries of these organizations to the Black community.
Yet, neither of these ever mention the Black Press when taking both credit and dollars for outreach to the Black community.
The African American and Black communities of America should not be duped into believing that social media has become a substitute for the Black Press. The Black Press is now both print and electronic, its a newswire service as provided by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, providing coverage of both news here in America and around the world. It is the Black Press that has been the “Trusted Messenger” to our communities for 194 years and that says a lot. Our newspapers are the rear guard, the battleground against the efforts to re-segregate America and return “Jim Crow” racism.
As we celebrate Juneteenth, let us remember that we are not only free, but capable of defending and determining our futures if we get serious. Let’s remember how we got here, on the backs of those like the Black Press who bought us thus far; let us not forget in the words of James Weldon Johnson: that “we have come over a way that with tears has been watered, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.” We are still being slaughtered today by others as well as each other.
Let’s remember who is truly telling our story and our obligation to keep and support that effort. Pick up a Black newspaper and get involved. You owe that and more to keeping the Juneteenth principle of freedom alive today.
By Dr. John E. Warren is the publisher of The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.