Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

A Love Letter to ColorLines

Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

A Love Letter to ColorLines

Article excerpt

I ARRIVED IN OAKLAND as a young journalist only a few years out of UCLA. That day in the old, fortress-like office of ColorLines and the Applied Research Center, I was taken on a whirlwind tour of the operation by my boss, then-editor Bob Wing, and introduced to a wildly varied crew of people. Folks here had been influential community organizers and activists in nearly every liberation struggle I'd read about, from the welfare rights movement to farmworker organizing and ethnic studies. There was a Black Marxist and a radical minister in their midst. They all did a little of everything--writing, sociological research and analysis, speaking to the press, agitating. Water-cooler conversation consisted of sometimes-heated debates about everything under the sun, often accompanied by raucous laughter.

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It was a dazzling experience, especially after my stint in a corporate newsroom. Like many idealistic young writers, I was searching for a place and a way to practice the craft I loved while being part of something bigger. ColorLines has been that place for hundreds of us over its 10-year history. Starting from its earlier incarnations, as the community organizing journal Third Force and the media analysis report RaceFile, the magazine continued to hone its mission under founding editors Bob Wing and Jeff Chang and to keep expanding its range. Its identity and broad set of principles at the time revolved around the goals of exploring ideas and creations within communities of color, examining the field of racial justice work, and expressing oppositional messages to the dominant culture. …

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