You might have noticed that this issue of the Community Alliance newspaper is a little thinner than normal. Instead of the 24 pages that we normally run, this issue has only 20. We have also cut our print run from 13,000 to 10,000 and eliminated four pages of color. These cuts are not what we would prefer to do but are the result of financial realities that leave us no choice.
But a smaller Community Alliance does not have to be permanent. It is entirely in your power to turn this situation around and give us the support we need to speak truth to power. We need you to subscribe, donate and/or become a monthly sustainer.
I’m constantly impressed with the generosity of our readers who subscribe and donate beyond the suggested subscription rate of $35 ($10 if you are low income). We have supporters who give us $10–$100 a month because they know the value of keeping this progressive voice alive in Fresno and the surrounding area.
Last month, I spoke to the Oakhurst Democratic Club about the Community Alliance and in preparing for that talk I was reminded of why I have been working on this project for the last 15 years (our first issue was published on September 20, 1996).
I told the Oakhurst Democrats that we started out as a photocopied newsletter with the goal of linking the many progressive activists in the community with organized labor, in support of building a labor/community alliance. On page one of that first newsletter, we wrote “it is our goal to link the labor movement with community and social justice groups in the Fresno area by providing a monthly newsletter and calendar of events.”
The Community Alliance has grown enormously over the past 15 years because we have successfully reached out to and linked people who are working on a wide variety of progressive causes. Before we started this paper, it was difficult for someone working on, for example, environmental justice issues to know what another person working on police accountability issues was doing. Peace activists did not know what organized labor was doing, and there was minimal solidarity between various groups. Now people that share progressive values can see what their natural allies are doing and help each other out.
Before the Community Alliance existed, many activists would complain that the Fresno Bee and the rest of the mainstream media did not cover their events or that when they did they got the information wrong or it was distorted. One important service that the Community Alliance provides is to give a voice to progressive groups and activists to say, in their own words, what their political struggle is all about. Rather than be ignored by the mainstream media, the work they do is validated and their message can get directly to the community.
If you talk to activists who have been in the Fresno area for the past 15 years they will tell you that the number of events and groups working on progressive issues has increased dramatically. I believe that having a publication that is dedicated to supporting social change has played a significant role in supporting and building this movement.
The Community Alliance has also been able to frame important issues and even change public policy. Shining a light on the injustice that has been done to homeless people in this community led to the discontinuation of bulldozing of their encampments and destroying what little property they had. Our attention to police accountability issues will hopefully help lead to new processes being implemented that will provide independent investigations into allegations of police misconduct and all officer-involved shootings. The goal is to have civilian control over the police department.
The power of the press is that we can alert readers to important community issues, investigate injustice and mobilize people in the community to take action. When media is not under the control of corporate and government interests and the primary goal is not to make money, alternative/independent media can be an agent for change.
The Community Alliance is not about making money (we are a nonprofit 501(c)4), but we absolutely need enough money to pay the printer every month. If you support what we are doing, I’m asking you to do your part to help us to not only survive but also thrive. Subscribe, donate and, if you can, pledge a monthly contribution in support of peace, social and economic justice. Your support of this paper will amplify and strengthen all progressive groups in this area. We believe that another world is possible.
The Community Alliance is indispensable to me because it carries in-depth information and analyses about happenings in our community by informed writers who are not afraid to challenge the establishment explanations and conclusions.
I refer to Lloyd Carter’s series on the water situation in our valley. To Vic Bedoian’s expose of the consortium trying to bring nuclear power to our area. To Mike Rhodes’ refusing to let the ongoing plight of homeless people in Fresno be brushed aside and questioning police behavior with regard to shootings and the use of excessive force. At the same time, it gives voice to ordinary people who need to express their concerns, anger and ideas.
Now more than ever, we need this forum where we can help each other figure out the best way to resist the forces of greed, corruption and downright meanness that are attempting to put us down and shut us up. I don’t know how the Community Alliance manages to get bigger and better all the time, and still be available to the entire community, but we need to support it in every way we can.