When I first joined The Pioneer Log, I was the only Black editor on the board. As a Portlander, this was not a new phenomenon for me, but it still came as a shock. Still, I was determined to pursue my love of student journalism. The warmth and encouragement I received from the former senior editors solidified my belief that The Pioneer Log was a student media organization that I wanted to be a part of. Our newspaper holds ourselves to the highest of journalistic standards and integrity, and that includes ensuring that our coverage is as equitable as possible.
As Black History Month comes to an end, I have spent a long time reflecting on my time at Lewis & Clark. It is not easy navigating a primarily white institution as a Black student, and especially as a Black student leader. But, our college has had many historic firsts this year, and I sincerely hope these improvements do not cease. But the work, the important, gritty work, is not done yet.
The truth is, every month is Black History Month. Our celebration of the Black diaspora, in all the forms and identities that they come in, should not be relegated to a single month out of the calendar year. Black joy and Black success and even everyday Black actions deserve to be celebrated. After all, Black people do not need to be extraordinary in order to be recognized or deemed as valuable members of society.
The representation of Black people in the media often comes in two extremes: the coverage of exceptional Black accomplishments or coverage of our pain and suffering. This dichotomy begs the question: why must we be deemed as extraordinary in order to be worth recognizing?
And perhaps most importantly, how can we start telling our own stories?
My wonderful parents taught me a valuable lesson when I was younger: He who holds the pen, holds the power. When it comes to the media, truer words have not been spoken.
Accurately representing the myriad of Black experiences in the world begins with representative reporting.
This year, The Pioneer Log has made significant strides towards diversifying our editorial board, staff and sourcing. In our next issue, we will even be printing our first article in a foreign language. Still, I am not satisfied with this.
I want more.
When I look out at the students who gather for our weekly staff meeting, I want to see more Black, Asian, Latinx, Middle Eastern and Native American students joining our staff. I also want to see more religious diversity. You all have so many brilliant experiences, interests and hobbies that should be illuminated in our paper. I want you all to write about your joy, your experiences, your anger and your passions. I want The Pioneer Log to be a place where the entire LC community gets the opportunity to share their voice.
So, to our wonderful readers who have supported us thus far, we are listening. And we encourage you all to join and engage with us as a community. The Pioneer Log is a student newspaper for the students but most importantly, by the students. Help us to make this a space for all of you. We are always available to contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, from The Pioneer Log, Happy Black History Month.