W riting for Black by God has been such a necessary task.
Not just because there is a need for it, but because it elevates thought. The way we perceive news in relation to us is, at times, just as it is presented to us: extensive when it is negative and rushed or hurried when it is something positive or enlightening. So, to have a hand in cultivating new stories that celebrate our accomplishments, expose our issues, and more importantly voice our concerns, is very necessary.
When I first got involved, BBG was a grassroots effort looking for resources to expand, but actually it was — and still is — a resource giving the culture a chance to expand. From Crystal riding all over the state personally doing newspaper drop-offs to readers documenting her journey with posts and pictures of them and their copies, the initial issue of BBG was solidified.
The newspaper brings words to life. The newspaper gives a visual representation of a deeper meaning to our stories. The newspaper provides a gateway to change those narratives that no longer serve us. The newspaper creates a forum for opening doors so we can collectively gather in spaces demanding to be let in. Black Policy Day at the West Virginia State Capitol drove African Americans in record numbers to the Capitol to share their stories — stories that have historically been overlooked or dismissed. Supporters took to the podiums to express themselves in a manner that unequivocally led to eruptions of applause. The cheers were documentations of voices being heard.
Black by God has become the grapevine of good news and community interest being reported with respect, paying homage and giving credit to those paving the way. The community supports the efforts of those who contribute to the paper and often celebrates the stories of their neighbors by engaging and sharing the work. The spotlights on Black business owners, black policymakers and black kids excelling provide a perspective into Black life in West Virginia that exemplifies a culture of educated, motivated and liberated individuals — not the backwoods stereotype that permeates the media. Being a part of something so powerful is a feeling that can only be captured by the next best thing, and that’s a picture. Having my picture on a cover and throughout the magazine is one of my best memories.
We are no longer waiting in the wings to be possibly interviewed. Instead, we are crafting the stories that need to be told. Black by God The West Virginian is history in the making.