From The Publisher: Are You Listening?

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Are You Listening?

On Friday, June 5, I spent two hours doing something I’d never done at an Out & About editorial planning meeting. I just listened.

Why? Because this meeting was a Zoom call with our freshly assembled guest editorial committee—all Black. And the conversation was illuminating.

Not so much because I was introduced to a different perspective. What struck me was how the committee members always seemed to finish each other’s sentences. What I was witnessing was shared experience. And with that, I may have taken a small step toward understanding.

Being Black changes everything.

Our hope is that with this issue you, too, gain some understanding. Each of us is wrestling with how we respond to the wound ripped open by the murder of George Floyd. We felt this issue was the least Out & About could do.

After all, Out & About is a communication vehicle that’s been around 32 years, so we have a substantial audience. And, for this message, we have the ideal readership—mostly White.

As a White publisher, I can’t tell the story of being Black in Wilmington (which, as one committee member pointed out, is little different than being Black in Anytown, USA). But…Out & About can dedicate this month’s pages to people who can.

I won’t lie: The damage that took place on Market Street May 30 was personally knee-buckling. My first introduction to this city was Market Street—the Halloween Loop in 1979. And, in the 30+ years I’ve spent promoting the city, Market Street has been a focal point of many of this magazine’s endeavors.

I feel terrible for those business owners who suffered damage. They placed their hopes in our city. And I feel terrible for people who feel so marginalized that lashing out is their only recourse. Where do we go from here?

For that answer, we need some context, and with that I introduce our guest editorial committee: Jason Aviles, Malcolm Coley, Newdy Felton, Chris Johnson, Eunice LaFate, Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, Cassandra Marshall, Larry Morris, Cora Reed, Fred Reed, Jeffrey “JT” Taylor, Ivan Thomas and Kenyon Wilson. Their professions run the gamut, from entrepreneur to community activist to media to retiree.

PLEASE, read their stories.

— Jerry duPhily

 

So, what do you think? Please comment below.