Following the printing of our last issue, we made the terrible mistake of running a rainbow-colored “All Lives Matter” photo with the story “LGBTQ Organizations Unite to Combat Racial Violence” on our website and in our e-newsletter. The photograph did not accompany the print version of this story. This error was immediately brought to our attention and the images were changed to reflect our understanding that this statement cannot be true until Black Lives Matter.
We recognize the gravity of this situation, and we apologize for using any image that may imply anything less than our full support and solidarity with the black community. We also stand with the current movement that we hope will bring about real change in our society.
Since our founding over 34 years ago, qnotes has expressed our deeply held belief that diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to our local reporting. These past few weeks, we have again been reminded that there is still much work to be done in our staff, our institutions, our city and our country. As the publisher of qnotes, I am saddened by the use of this image and its meaning. I stand committed to strengthening the voice of the black community through the pages of our paper and through our website.
This newspaper and I personally, not only stand by the black community, we stand by the brown community and the transgender community. We stand by any marginalized and oppressed peoples. We also stand with the good people who work in law-enforcement. Especially our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
With that said, we stand with our family friends and neighbors who protest against police brutality. We took the same stand in the 1980s when it was police policy to entrap men in our community. We have taken a stand many times in our pages. We stood against the late Sen. Jesse Helms and many other political figures from the mayor’s office to the White House.
We deplore the tactics of rogue cops who murdered black and brown men and women. We deplore the use of chemical agents against protesters, and we understand the systematic racism that must be challenged. We stand with Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said “…somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.“
We as a society, both LGBTQ and the overall community, need to promote dialogue with those we have issues with. I believe that Charlotte Pride should have had an open dialogue with law enforcement before barring them from Pride events. People who have complained about qnotes not doing enough to cover the protest should open dialogue directly with us. In today’s society we often take to social media to combat each other rather than have dialogue and work together.
The City of Charlotte has a black mayor, a black police chief, a black sheriff and a black district attorney. Where has the dialogue been, on both sides, all the time these folks have been in office?
I have found that the saying “hurting people, hurt people” is so true. We all have to find ways in which to heal our pain. Sometimes that is with a simple conversation. In the words of Maya Angelou, “You may not control the events that happened to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Let us not reduce ourselves by hurting others when we can be a true community and work together by simply communicating with each other.
I then ask that if qnotes does something wrong — feel free to tell me. Hold me accountable. At the same time, please do it with the community in mind. By working together, we have more strength. Pitting one against the other just creates more pain for us all.
Whether you’re a black person in pain or an LGBTQ police officer in pain or a staff person working hard to serve you, all deserve the opportunity for dialogue — the simple process of talking and listening.
Finally, some people complain that we don’t do enough. I agree. I want to do more. I want to have reporters on the ground with photographers and videographers to tell the stories that we, and you, are passionate about. Providing important news in order for you to have the facts about what is going on in our community has always been our mission.
I want to have daily stories on our website. I want to stream video of important issues. I want to have a larger and more diverse staff. I recognize the need for our presence and the importance of local media. LGBTQ local media is especially paramount. No one can tell our story, our truth, like we can ourselves. It is vital to our democracy that we continue our struggle to cover the news of the day.
It takes resources.
If you don’t think we do enough, help out. Complaining doesn’t get any of us anywhere. One story costs between $50 and $250. The printer bill is about $2,000. The cost of distribution for one issue is about $1,100. I could go on, however, I think you get the point. I push the resources to the limit, and I will do all that I can do with what we have. What can or will you do to ensure that you have this vital resource?