Today is Giving Tuesday in America ad Pastor Freed used this appropriate quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words –“You can’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” (Maya Angelou)
Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Wikipedia
It is easy to visualize people standing there with catcher’s mitts on both hands. They are the “takers” of life who constantly accept things from others, but who do not give back. You may know some people like that. I prefer to think that we all are not just takers, but we give back in different ways and to different causes.
There has been much already written about the harsh impact that the COVID -19 pandemic has had on charities and non-profits. The financial impact on so many people from the actions taken to slow the spread of the disease has been the subject of almost nightly news show coverage. That impact has had the secondary effect of limiting the giving of those whose own livelihood has been disrupted. Many small local entities like churches, community arts associations and local museums have also been devastated by the cancellation of all fund raising activities or suspension of their services, due to the virus. Fortunately there is some relief available to some of the non-profit organizations through grants.
A less –well documented impact was the subject of the feature article in this morning’s New York Times daily E-Newsletter – The devastation of small local newspapers and the impact on their communities of the loss of their local news reporting services.
Many readers of this blog may already know that in addition to being a Realtor®, I also work part-time for the Spinal Column, a small weekly newspaper with editions for Milford, Highland, White Lake and Commerce Township (including Wixom and Walled Lake). The Spinal Column has been around since 1961 and its name reflects the belief of the founders (and the current owners) that small, independent newspapers are the backbone of democracy in their communities, thus the name. Indeed, our country might not have been born were it not for the local pamphlets, such as James Otis’s Rights of the British Colonies (1764), John Dickinson’s Farmer’s Letters (1768), and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1776). Many of those pamphlets were the equivalent of some or our modern day small local papers.
The Spinal Column Newsweeklies, like other small local papers is dependent upon the revenues from advertising to support its free distribution to homes in the communities that it serves. The current pandemic has wreaked havoc on the local businesses that normally advertise in the paper, especially local restaurants and small local stores. The revenue needed to support the staff needed to put out the local papers are drastically down. That is the reason that The Spinal Column is currently seeking donations from its readers.
There are certainly many worthy causes vying for any charity dollars that are available this year. That makes it all the more important to keep our local channels of communications viable. Yes, there will still be the internet; however, the internet does not have reporters digging into and reporting the stories of importance in your local neighborhoods. The internet does not send people to the local Village Council meetings or the Zoning Board meeting to report on issues of local importance only. The internet may report the scores of your local high school games, but it doesn’t do the post-game interviews or post the pictures of the game that your local newspaper might. There might be a post on Facebook about an imagined conspiracy behind a local school board vote, but only the local newspapers actually have people out interviewing the school board members to report the facts behind that vote.
So on this Giving Tuesday, I’m asking you to take off the catcher’s mitts and consider throwing something back to your local newspapers, especially in this area to the Spinal Column. As the New York Times reported, these are the backbones of democracy in our townships, towns and villages You can go to our web site, http://www.spinalcolumnonline.com and use the Donate to the Spinal Colum choice in the banner to make a safe donation to keep democracy alive in this area.
What will you throw back today?