By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
As humans, most of us hope to grow up and become outstanding people in our own homes, our churches and our communities, respectable and someone who others look up to. However, our journeys to reach that personification can be as different as there are grains of sand and as assorted as rain drops.
When I use the term I in this piece, I am referring to all of the families of the Westside Gazette, those who are here now and those who have crossed over to eternity. We toil every day to do the best that we can with what God has given us and what He has allowed us to do. We are carrying on in the footsteps of those that came before us and standing upon their shoulders, looking boldly into the future most humble, grateful and exuberantly proud to accept that honor and most importantly the favor from God.
I could only imagine but one thing that could give so much pleasure and pain at the same time, and that is giving birth to a child. Like a hungry baby drawn to full breasts of mother’s milk with love and the joy, that’s how we cherish what stewardship God has given to us.
It is with this love that I/we passionately put our shoulders to the grinding stone everyday to carry on the legacy of the Black Press.
No matter the difficulty, the length of time or our status, with the help or involvement and influence of others, one can fall from respectability faster than tachyons move (tachyon is a particle that always moves faster than light. The word comes from the Greek tachys, meaning swift, quick, fast, rapid).
Perhaps that is the height and complications associated with failure, the ‘fall from grace’, if you will, that causes most of us to fear stepping into leadership roles.
As I look back over the 48 years of our involvement in the dissemination of information to our readers, I am overwhelmed and bursting with joy of how the community has supported us and how God has shown us favor.
It is not always a pleasurable chore to serve and to be a servant. What appears to be a joyful moment of basking in bliss quickly fades away faster than a snowflake on an open campfire.
Be that as it may, we are honored to be in the business of “Pleading our own cause” as “Soldiers without swords”; for almost half a century we have dared to be a voice for our people.
We vow to continue to be a preeminent example of the Black Press of America no matter how “Stony the road we trod” or having feet no less beautiful than those who preach or print the gospel.
For 48 years the Westside Gazette has tried to hold fast to the precepts and fundamental strengths and tenets of the Black Press while standing in the gap “Pleading our own cause.”
That gap will forever increase as long as we allow advertising dollars from those businesses that take from our readers their hard- earned dollars and spend those dollars to advertise with the ‘Other’ newspapers.
That gap increases when our own tries to destroy us. That gap continues to increase as long as the church and the Black Press fail to communicate on common ground.
That gap is increased every time we allow businesses to use us for placing their press releases, but do not spend their advertising dollars with us.
That gap increases as long as we allow businesses to disrespect us.
But like David, we understand that it all belongs to God. We know that everything is divinely provided; it is incumbent on us then to practice proper stewardship by giving back in all areas of our lives.
The hurt and spoil are inseparable from the joyous occasions that come from the satisfaction of fulfilling the role of a good servant.
Pain is evident, yet it matters not when there must be a voice that speaks truth to power for the voiceless and the truth must be told.
Throughout our 48 years, one thing has been for certain and that is the loyal commitment of our readers to support their publication.
Now that time will be truly tested.
Our newspaper does not get a presidential bailout nor is there a stimulus package for us. We will have to rely on what our predecessors made it on and that was Black people and people of a moral conscience PURCHASING the newspapers.
As we go through the sharing of our history not only in this month, but throughout the year, let’s ask these questions in reference to our history: how much are you giving and is it enough for the qualit