The paper you hold in your hands has a long, proud history. I am honored to be a part of it as interim editor-in-chief.
Founded in 1992, SPARE CHANGE NEWS is the oldest continuously published street newspaper in the country. Over the past 21 years, it has never missed an issue. Most impressively, its model has been emulated around the world—by “Real Change” in Seattle, “Strassenfeger” in Berlin, “Dàzhì zázhì” in Taipei, “Homeless Talk” in Johannesburg, “La calle” in Bogota, and countless others.
Journalists are called to tell the truth and to uncover lies. Their mission is to shine a light into dark places, to amplify voices that have been systematically silenced. Most people work for some business, company, or organization; a journalist works for democracy.
That is especially true for SPARE CHANGE NEWS. Many of our writers, editors, readers and, of course, our vendors are among society’s most disenfranchised. As our previous editor-in-chief, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, wrote in his first issue, “Our accent is on the voice of those who literally sleep outside our democracy.” We are uniquely committed to amplifying the voices of Boston’s poor and homeless.
I want to renew that commitment. However, I also want to connect it with other social movements in Boston and around the world. That is why my first issue as editor focuses on the struggle for economic and social justice in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I firmly believe that covering topics like war, sexism, racism, climate change, civil liberties and international human rights does not detract from our coverage of poverty and homelessness; it is a part of it.
After all, how many young people have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to a life on the streets? How many thousands have been been left homeless after storms fueled by climate change? And how many trillions of dollars have been snatched from the mouths of the poor so they could be used to spy on innocent people and crush dissent both here and abroad? As Martin Luther King Jr. was fond of saying, “Justice is indivisible; an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
One last thing. An editor’s job is to facilitate others’ writing, not to promote his own. Unfortunately, I had to fill out this issue with quite a bit of my own work. This will be an exception, not the rule.
Thank you for entrusting me, not just with this newspaper, but also with this profession. I promise to serve both well.