We’re getting our folk reporters program going, and that’s just sort of a blending of my background as a folklorist and as a journalist, and I love the fieldwork. And I truly believe that if we just document the stories and talk to people—let’s talk to our elders, let’s talk to folks, let’s talk to young people—that there’s power in that. And so, developing a folk reporters program—to me—is how we can create accountability.
“I truly believe that if we just document the stories and talk to people—let’s talk to our elders, let’s talk to folks, let’s talk to young people—that there’s power in that.”
And then I’ll pair that beside some of the work that Black By God does. I’m very proud of a story that ran last year during the legislative session. There was a comment casually made in a committee meeting. As things do in lawmaking, it all goes down in the committees. And on this particular committee meeting, they were working to ban Black folks and gay folks and women from buying car dealerships. Now, this is a true story I’m telling you, because it’s on the record and it is recorded, and Black By God was the only publication to cover that.
And a lot of the work that Black By God has been doing around accountability has been around ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] funding. And I’m sure folks on here have heard of ARPA and how that was distributed through [the] COVID [crisis]. So, we’ve really kind of kept ourselves on a beat.
So, I stay encouraged that although our readership is growing, we are small, but we are potent, and people are paying attention to Black by God, and we are changing the media landscape in our local communities just by existing.
So, to me, our accountability comes with first, as Jourdan [Bennett-Begaye] was saying, our ability to be sustainable. Without that, we don’t have the stories; we don’t have the community. So, accountability to me looks like sustainability, but it also looks like how we encourage the community to participate in the journalism.