This is the third essay in a series from readers/supporters on why you should join the Scene Press Club.
Jennifer Lumpkin, Erika Anthony, Crystal Bryant and Devonta Dickey
The power of local media is critical to a functioning democracy. When local journalism declines, so does radical transparency and empathy, as well as equitable civic engagement. To some, being "on the scene" means being front and center. For others, being "on the scene" means bringing attention and awareness to the people and stories that deserve it. Fortunately for Greater Cleveland, the Scene Magazine has us covered on both fronts.
The extreme erosion of local journalism and media is a threat to our democracy that should not be taken lightly. While society may have more access to news and information due to the expansion of our digitized society, we cannot forgo the need for the local context and perspective. The absence of local media can result in serious repercussions for the social fabric and intellectual health of our community. This is particularly alarming for the Cleveland VOTES team. Cleveland VOTES is a nonpartisan democracy building and mobilization entity that aims to strengthen civic muscle and power to ensure we have a more informed, participatory, and cohesive community. We pride ourselves in elevating and amplifying equitable civic engagement which aims to educate, connect, and empower the members of our community.
As stated in the report Building Civic Capacity in an Era of Democratic Crisis, ‘civic engagement must be understood as a constant, sustained practice that outlives election cycles and stretches beyond voting or formal channels for citizen input’. This practice must be constantly cultivated and nurtured. Every day we are confronted with practices and policies that stand to compromise or jeopardize the viability of ourselves or our community. To affect change, we must be informed so we know how to exercise our power. One critical tenant to this process necessitates that we have consistent, credible, and representative local journalism.
Educating, connecting and empowering our collective communities across Northeast Ohio is a huge step towards equitable civic engagement that we, Cleveland VOTES, believe needs to be taken seriously by ourselves as democracy-builders. The Scene is a constant reminder that our governance is an instrument and tool of the people’s voice and representation. The Scene is an integral piece in developing the cohesive understanding of where we, the people, can stand together with a resounding voice in unison.
If you want political commentary, it is in the Scene. If you want a culinary opinion on the latest local eatery, it is in the Scene. If you want to know how health care discrepancies disproportionately affect people of color in Cleveland, it is in the Scene. If you want to learn how local community activists are creating change in their neighborhoods, it is in the Scene. But most importantly, if you wish to hear the voices of those who are affected and to read the stories of those who cause and effect change in Northeast Ohio, then you have to continue to support the Cleveland Scene Magazine.
In peace, power+ equity,
Erika Anthony, Crystal Bryant, Devonta Dickey + Jennifer Lumpkin
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