SEN. JULIA SALAZAR
The Indypendent is an extraordinary publication because it actively engages readers and contributors. The Indy doesn’t stop at reporting, but motivates us to become actively involved in the greater movement for social justice. When I was a freelance writer, The Indy empowered me to collaborate with other writers and editors to pursue our common political project. The Indy’s work has a lasting and meaningful impact because it’s a publication that inspires readers to take action. The Indy has shaped my political development as a community organizer by demonstrating the importance of amplifying the stories of those who are directly impacted by inequality and oppression. In New York’s political climate, power is too often consolidated in the hands of the very wealthy, and that power is used to dominate the public narrative. For 20 years, The Indy has played an indispensable role in countering that narrative by speaking truth to power, serving as a plat-form for the struggles of everyday New Yorkers. From reporting on the statewide movement for housing justice to investigating the mechanics of the Queens political machine, The Indy has been a leader in the popular education of the public. The Indy is a model for what it means for a news publication to provide a crucial public service and to operate with integrity.
In 2018 State Senator Julia Salazar (D-North Brooklyn) became the first socialist elected to the New York state legislature in nearly a century and the youngest woman to ever serve in the legislature.
The United States is experiencing a national crisis in policing. But the fight to end abusive policing is primarily a local struggle targeting local political actors. Unfortunately, across the country, lo-cal reporting has either gone out of style, or is under the control of a shrinking number of news conglomerates with little interest in directly challenging the “thin blue line” politics that stands in the way of the changes we need to implement to create safer communities without aggressive and invasive policing. That’s why it’s imperative that we have a source of independent local news like The Indypendent. And part of what makes The Indy so powerful is that it doesn’t just report on events that are relevant to our movements, it directly works to help build those movements. It does that by including the voices of people doing the organizing for an audience of politically engaged readers. It’s a sounding board for ideas and analysis that is essential to any real move-ment. And, because our movements are becoming more powerful, a growing group of mainstream journalists and political insiders are watching what’s happening in The Indy. It’s that diverse audi-ence of movement activists, journalists, political insiders and, yes, the general public, that makes The Indy an appealing place for me to share my ideas about how we create a world with-out police and prisons.
Alex S. Vitale is professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and author of The End of Policing.
Since its launch two decades ago, The Indypendent has been a crucial voice for the New York City left. It gives us news, opinions and connections to each other that we would have great difficulty establishing without it. For the climate justice movement that has meant that The Indy, in its print and online versions, consistently covers the actions and concerns of the movement. It covers the small, local actions that are never covered by other citywide media; it covers the big demonstrations and actions that are barely covered and often dismissed or misinterpreted by the corporate media.
The Indy has “followed the story” of the climate movement as it has ebbed and flowed over the years. The Indy knows that the thick thread that connects one environmental effort to the next is essential for the movement to understand itself more fully and for the broader public that may not be directly engaged in climate work to be better informed. It knows that the depth of the movement is measured by its importance to people of color and working people.
Because The Indy is a movement journal, it helps us to see the movements we are most invested in in the broader context of progressive organizing. We read about our own work and about the work of the other progressive movements too. That helps to give us good ideas for future organizing, to make contact and connections with groups we didn’t know existed and to broaden our understanding of how the left is progressing in general.
I believe the left is on the verge of becoming more powerful and effective than it has been in decades, and I know that The Indy will help advance that power through its insightful and accurate cover-age. Because its writers and editors know the power of the broad movement, not just its smaller parts, The Indy will help us move forward together. Happy 20th anniversary, Indypendent!
Nancy Romer is a co-founder of the NYC People’s Climate Movement
The Indypendent is more necessary today than it was two decades ago when it was founded. With local journalism collapsing and national outlets prioritizing spin and profitability over real report-age, The Indypendent is a reminder of what is possible — principled, radical journalism that goes beyond the hype. I’m heartened every time I see a copy of The Indypendent on the street or an article shared online. Here’s to another 20 years.
Astra Taylor is a writer, organizer and documentarian. Her books include The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age and Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone
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