From the Editor – May 2017

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Hannah Brandt holding new Community Alliance banner at the 2017 Women's March. Photo by Vic Bedoian

By Hannah Brandt

On April 9, we held our annual fundraiser. This year’s theme was Growing Community Alliance. Here is the editor’s update I presented that night.

Thank you all for coming! It’s so good to see everyone here committed to progressive ideals, independent media, and positively transforming our community. Things have changed a lot since we were here together in this space last year. A lot of that change has not been good, to put it lightly. But in a short span of time, we have also achieved a lot through various forms of resistance and engagement. As the stakes have grown higher, our community has rallied together to support one another, to protect the vulnerable, and to challenge one another to grow in understanding, awareness, and action.

As you know, this fall was the paper’s twentieth anniversary. It has been no small feat, as Mike Rhodes, Community Alliance’s longest serving editor will tell you. As he told me when I interviewed him for the September anniversary edition, it was against the odds that the paper survived in this region where the people are progressive, but those in power have tended to be conservative. It was also against the odds considering that so many papers around the country have been cutting back or shutting down. So many of you, too numerous to name, have contributed in a multitude of ways over the years to make that happen. Thank you all very much.

One of our goals has been to get some new blood on our editorial board. We are happy to have several new members in the last year, most of whom are here tonight. Sandra Celedon-Castro, Amanda Tripp, Patty Bennett, Linda Kobashigawa, Dillon Savory, and Daniel O’Connell. We also welcome Michael D. Evans in the new position of executive director and have a new volunteer photographer, Peter Maiden. As we look ahead, we are formulating some long-term goals. We are always looking for ways to reach more people. Our Spanish section is something we have been working to bring back. We have been trying to find 2-3 people to work on Spanish content, translation, and advertising. If you or someone you know is interested please contact editor@fresnoalliance.com. We also hope to expand to more parts of the Valley. We rely on volunteers to deliver papers. If you are interested in delivering papers or if you know a location where people would like papers delivered, please contact our distribution coordinator, Vic Bedoian at vicbedoian@gmailcom.

For a couple of years, we have been working to improve our website and digital end of things. We now have a more user-friendly website and active Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Currently, we are in the process of creating a more frequently updated digital community calendar than what we print monthly. If you have ever been involved in making a calendar for any organization, you know it is harder to make than you’d think. We plan to have it up and running soon. We are also working to get the full volume of the newspaper’s back editions archived, both preserving each issue of the physical paper and digitally archiving them. We hope to find a partner to accomplish that in the next few months.

All the while, we continue to work toward our original mission which states that Community Alliance is an independent voice for workers and progressive groups in the Central San Joaquin Valley. The goal of this monthly newspaper is to build a powerful progressive movement that will support social, environmental and economic justice; immigrant rights; and a living wage for all people. We seek to expose social and political injustices and to link the diverse network of activists working in our community. Thank you for your contribution to making that happen.