Since before the founding of our republic there has been a narrative struggle for its soul. Our nation’s founding document asked us to believe that “all men are created equal” even as the author of those words bought and sold human beings as chattel. In order for the American story to be fully told, those of us who have been historically marginalized, those of us upon whose backs this country was built, must be the ones to tell our stories and the stories of our communities.
We have founded The Blacklight in order to own our narrative. To speak our own truths, so that we might help our community better understand itself and its place in society. As journalists we believe in fairness and accuracy. We also believe in facts and will not be reluctant to call out lies and oppression and seek out not just the story but the solutions that present themselves and make them known. We do this not because we want the honor and glory, but because we have to, and we understand and honor our history and listen to those who have gone before us.
Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist founder of The North Star, told us plainly: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters.
“The struggle may be a moral one or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”
We commit to taking the side of justice. We commit to speaking out for the oppressed. For too long others have spoken for us. Today we begin a new chapter of the Amsterdam News’ long tradition of fighting for our community and we ask you to join us.
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel admonished us: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
There are journalists who are content to cloak themselves in the words “neutrality” and “objectivity” but in doing so they placate the powerful and unwittingly keep intact a system of racialized and gendered oppression that has harmed our communities for centuries. The Blacklight is committed to rooting out oppression, injustice and fraud wherever it lives and exposing whoever commits it. We will be the interruptor, the disruptor, the truth teller. WE are THE BLACKLIGHT.