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Loudoun Attorney Launches PAC, Black Republican Declines NAACP/AKA Forum, Local News OpEd, Nadarius Fish Fry
➡️ Early voting in Virginia begins in 6 days on Sept. 22, 2023.
➡️ Senator L. Louise Lucas’ Afternoon on Crystal Lake is in 14 days on Sept. 30, 2023.
➡️ Nadarius Clark’s Power of the 757 Gala is in 14 days on Sept. 30, 2023.
➡️ Election Day 2023 is in 52 days on Nov. 7, 2023.
Black Attorney and Civil Rights Advocate Launches PAC Focused on Black Candidates
On September 15, veteran attorney and civil rights advocate Phillip E. Thompson announced the formation of a political action committee to support Black and minority candidates in Virginia.
Thompson is announcing the roll out of the Competitive Advantage PAC, and he will serve as Executive Director. Thompson was Executive Director of the National Black Nonpartisan Redistricting Organization and and a past president of the Loudoun County Branch of the NAACP.
Competitive Advantage PAC will be dedicated to seeking inclusivity and diversity in Virginia and champion minority candidates in state and local government races. Their stated mission will be to “amplify the voices of underrepresented communities by providing financial support and strategic assistance to black and minority candidates seeking public office in state houses, county governments, city halls, school boards, and other locally elected or appointed positions.”
”Recent events, including the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Affirmative Action, have underscored the need to ensure that all voices are sitting at the table when decisions are being made,” the PAC’s release also in part stated.
All 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegate are on the ballot this year, as well as all 40 seats in the Virginia Senate — though many candidates have no opponent. Democrats are fighting to win back control of the Virginia House and keep control of the Virginia Senate two years after Republican Glenn Youngkin won the big prize: The Governor’s mansion.
Josh Cole Opponent Declines Attending NAACP/AKA Candidate Forum in Stafford
A press statement by the campaign of Democratic candidate Josh Cole, who is running for House District 65, points out that his Republican opponent, Lee Peters, did not attend an NAACP candidate forum hosted by the Stafford County NAACP in collaboration with the Psi Psi Omega and Xi Upsilon Omega chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc.
The NAACP, established in 1909, is the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S. The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is the oldest African American sorority in America and was founded in 1908.
The NAACP/AKA candidate forum was open to the public and took place last night at the United Faith Christian Ministries in Stafford. Cole, the Democratic candidate, was in attendance. According to the Cole campaign, Republicans in the past, including Speaker Bill Howell, Bob Thomas, and Paul Milde, have attended this non-partisan event.
A June 11, NAACP candidate forum in Chantilly before the June 20 primary featured several Republican candidates.
Some Richmond Casino Campaign Financing Becomes Public
Some numbers regarding the financing of the upcoming ballot initiative that will ask Richmond voters (again) to decide on a casino has been publicly revealed. CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE 🚩“Even after this August deluge of campaign spending, the Pro-Casino Committee had roughly $5,000,000 on hand at the start of September as the 2023 compared to No Means No Casino’s mere $60,000. This $80-1 gap means the little Jewish David will need more than a slingshot against Mayor Stoney’s gambling Goliath,” wrote Paul Goldman in a press release this morning.
Last night, Dean Mirshahi of Richmond 8News reported, “New: Finance report from pro-casino committee ‘Richmond Wins, Vote Yes’ shows Urban One and Churchill Downs have contributed $8M+ and the committee spent nearly $3M in August. Report isn’t publicly available yet but here’s a first look.”
Op-Ed by Tracie Powell: In a New Era of Journalism, Philanthropy Must Pivot
To properly serve communities of color, funders must ‘radically rethink’ current funding practices
After an erosion of local journalism that has left vast news deserts across the country, the American philanthropic sector’s commitment of an initial $500 million to buoy local news is as welcome as spring rain.
Yet funders need to radically rethink the way they find and fund news organizations, to avoid inadvertently recreating the inequitable systems of the past.
The Press Forward fund builds on a decade of experience by a handful of foundations that were early to journalism funding. What’s missing from that experience, though, is recognition of the wide range of new ways that people — especially people of color — are getting their news and information, including the multitude of small, hyperlocal news sites that many underserved communities trust to keep them informed.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these outlets across America, but many are small and rural, some publish only on social media, and few founders have connections to traditional journalism or philanthropy. As a result, most aren’t even blips on philanthropy’s radar screen. But they have one thing that money can’t buy — the trust of the people they serve.
Take Pasa La Voz, on the Georgia coast. The Pivot Fund asked Spanish-speaking immigrants in and around Savannah where they got their news and information, and they pointed us to a Facebook group run by Elizabeth Galarza, herself a child of migrant farmworkers. Local businesses and the county health department had already discovered it as a way to reach the area’s growing Spanish-speaking population, but it didn’t fit the mold of a traditional news outlet.
We trusted Elizabeth with a large enough investment to hire additional staffers. She used it to essentially acquire a Spanish-language outlet in Charleston, South Carolina, making its founder, Fernando Soto, editor of the merged publication, while she became publisher. Their combined Facebook following is now close to 45,000, three times where Pasa La Voz was a year ago, and their new website is already attracting 15,000 people a month. The outlet brought in $90,000 in new revenue from marketing and sponsorship of cultural events.
The benefits of local news are well-documented: Watchdog reporters save taxpayers money, informed citizens vote in greater numbers, disinformation is neutralized, and people identify with their communities rather than with polarized national tribes. But media trust in the U.S. is on shaky ground — particularly with Black communities who’ve historically been ignored, misrepresented or harmed by the news industry.
Outlets that have earned trust in communities of color show a way forward, but they need philanthropic support that is tailored to their needs. There is much room for improvement. Earlier this year, Meredith D. Clark, Ph.D., of Northeastern University, and I conducted a survey of digital news startups led by people of color. Of the 100 respondents, 87% said they believed BIPOC news outlets were not funded equitably with similar white-led outlets.
🚩 RELATED: Map of digitized newspapers in Virginia
A common experience is to receive small grants predicated by attending a Silicon Valley-style boot camp or accelerator, followed by burdensome reporting requirements. Small publishers told us that these exercises, which may build trust with funders, take time away from informing the communities that already trust them. They want grants large enough to handle at least one additional staffer who can help them boost revenue or bring in new audiences.
Wraparound services such as business, tech and admin support are valuable when they are tailored to the unique needs of outlets that serve communities of color. For example, a top priority for an outlet like Pasa La Voz was to end its dependence on Facebook by deploying its own website — not launching a membership program that might work in a wealthy community like Berkeley, California, or Charlottesville, Virginia.
I launched The Pivot Fund in 2021 to fund BIPOC publishers the way they want to be funded, and our grantees have proven that we’re on the right track. The people of LaGrange, Georgia, led us to April Ross, whose breaking news reporting on Facebook Live attracted so many supporters that she was able to finance the purchase of the local Spectrum TV station.
It was groundbreaking because she brought her mostly Black Facebook audience to the traditionally white, evangelical cable outlet. With Pivot funding, she hired a local sports editor to serve a universal Central Georgia passion, further unifying the community. Ross hasn’t yet paid Nielsen’s fee to measure her TV audience growth, but BeeTV’s Facebook audience has grown from 35,000 to 57,000 followers across three pages since mid-2022, and she has attracted funding from the Google News Initiative.
Pasa La Voz and BeeTV are just two examples, but they deliver important lessons for funders:
If you’re looking for journalistic and educational pedigrees, you’ll miss many people who are actually informing communities of color.
Hyperlocal publishers know their communities and their business, and will exceed your expectations if you trust them with even a portion of the investments that routinely go to funder favorites.
In this new era, funders must invest in news and information outlets that are firmly centered in and on their communities. Not ones pinpointed by philanthropists but identified by the people they serve.
Journalism philanthropy matters not only for the health of our communities but for the fabric of our multicultural democracy. Getting it right starts with asking communities who creates the news they trust – then supporting journalists such as Elizabeth Galarza, Fernando Soto and April Ross, who are helping to nurture our democracy’s future.
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