Our Community Supports Independent Media

Our Community Supports Independent Media
Robin McGehee is the new LGBTQ+ liaison with the City of Fresno. She was the keynote speaker at the 2023 Fall Fundraiser for the Community Alliance newspaper. Photo by Peter Maiden

Every time the Community Alliance asks for support from this community, you come through with the love and do-re-mi that keeps this newspaper humming. Not just printing every month but growing, expanding and moving in new directions.

Paulina Cruz, Community Alliance writer and staff member, was the emcee.
Paulina Cruz, Community Alliance writer and staff member, was the emcee. When introducing Robin McGehee, Cruz said she had been in a public speaking class that McGehee taught at the College of the Sequoias. Cruz did a spectacular job as our emcee.   Photo by Peter Maiden

The purpose of the fundraiser, of course, was to raise money for the newspaper, and we are pleased to announce it was a huge success. This was one of our most successful Fall Fundraisers ever. Executive Director Mike Rhodes said that more than “$11,000 was raised, which will keep us going in the right direction in 2024.”

At the fundraiser, Rhodes talked about the past, present and future of the newspaper. “We have gone from being a small photocopied newsletter in 1996 to a newspaper that is building a progressive movement and telling the story of those working for peace, social and economic justice.”

Rhodes believes the future of the paper will mean hiring younger journalists who will create a social media project that can deliver the news from a progressive perspective to a whole new generation.

“Even my own children get most of their news from social media platforms,” says Rhodes. “We need to reach young people where they are at and only young journalists are able to do that. That is our challenge, and with your support we will be a vibrant part of this community for many years to come.”

Eduardo Stanley, editor of the Community Alliance newspaper, updated us about what is going on with the newspaper and our plans for the future. Photo by Peter Maiden
Eduardo Stanley, editor of the Community Alliance newspaper, updated us about what is going on with the newspaper and our plans for the future. Photo by Peter Maiden

The other significant area of expansion for the newspaper is the Spanish-language section. With small regional newspapers collapsing all over the San Joaquin Valley, having content in Spanish is more important than ever. We are expanding our reach in rural areas where the need is greatest and will continue providing high-quality content for our monolingual Spanish-speaking audience.

Other notable developments with the paper are our ability to receive grants through the San Joaquin Valley Media Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We have already received multiple grants that have allowed us to grow and expand.

The Stop the Hate grant we received from the State Library system made possible the four Stop the Hate town halls we organized. Each event exceeded our expectations. The next event will be on Jan. 24. 

Another project, also made possible by a grant, is “The Cycle of Exclusion in the San Joaquin Valley,” which will feature information about the incarceration of the Japanese in this region during World War II.

The Community Alliance Fall Fundraiser was held at the SEIU 521 union hall and was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who came and contributed. Photo by Howard Watkins
The Community Alliance Fall Fundraiser was held at the SEIU 521 union hall and was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who came and contributed. Photo by Howard Watkins

Our keynote speaker at the fundraiser was Robin McGehee, who gave a marvelous presentation. McGehee is the new City of Fresno LGBTQ+ liaison. She was instrumental, on a national level, in getting marriage equality laws passed.

McGehee told us how she came from Mississippi and ended up in Fresno. She was an important part of Meet in the Middle, an exciting organizing project that brought out 7,000 people to the steps of City Hall. McGehee said “at that time we were fighting against Alan Autry (the former mayor of Fresno), who was taking our City Hall and using it as a bully pulpit for Jim Franklin to speak out against our families.”

That demonstration at City Hall resulted in some dialogue with the powers that be about the issue of LGBTQ+ rights, but McGehee and Meet in the Middle organizers realized that a larger action was needed. They helped organize a march in Washington, D.C., with 250,000 people.

You can view McGehee’s entire presentation at our fundraiser at youtu.be/dAwJyspQiSg.

Retired Judge Dale Ikeda identified two Fresno locations where Americans of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and sent to concentration camps during World War II. Photo by Peter Maiden

Retired Judge Dale Ikeda, our other primary speaker, said that more than “125,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were interned for approximately three years during World War II.” These people did not stand trial; they were forced to leave their homes and businesses and were put in concentration camps around the country. Two gathering locations were in Fresno: one at the Fairgrounds and the other in Pinedale.

“I think the topic is relevant today because of 9/11 and, more recently, former President Donald Trump has stated that his goal is to round up and intern hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are in the country without papers,” Ikeda said.

More details about events related to this civil liberties issue will be available soon.

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Pissant Millenial
Pissant Millenial
1 month ago

I was surprised to read that the Community Alliance is trying to reach out to a younger audience on social media considering that every time I’ve tried to engage on social media I’ve just been ignored. I had written the Alliance off as basically a social club for boomers, so I’m glad to hear you guys finally took a look around the room and realized the problem.

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