In January 2018 an essay I wrote was published in the Savannah Morning News, my hometown newspaper. I was in the middle of writing my recently published memoir, “Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism,” and the subject of conversations across racial lines was on my mind. I wanted to help open a dialogue among people in my community.
The column, entitled “A call for a conversation about race,” followed recent racial incidents. The piece didn’t get much traction at the time, but I was reminded recently that my words — published more than two years ago — might be more appreciated in these days of “Black Lives Matter” and examinations of police brutality against African Americans.
In my career as a newspaper editor, a good amount of my professional time was spent creating and teaching programs to increase content and staff diversity in newsrooms. I wish I could say newsrooms have advanced to parity with people of color in the communities they serve and content that is fair and equal for African Americans. We’re still not there, but conversations I have had in recent weeks give me hope that change is on the horizon. Perhaps a 2020 focus on conversations about race may advance the cause not just in newsrooms, but in work and relationships in all aspects of our lives.
Here is a link to the 2018 essay.