Instead of sending a private e-mail response to Jeryl Parade and Martin Casey (Loudoun Easterner Publisher and Editor respectively), I thought it more appropriate to publicly acknowledge and thank them for meeting a group of citizens concerned about “that controversial ad” which appeared in various Loudoun County papers in June.
Jeryl and Martin met with a group of these concerned citizens July 3rd, comprised of local religious leaders, Equality Loudoun representatives, and state GLBT representatives. The purpose of this meeting was not to browbeat the Easterner into any kind of agenda; instead, it was an open discussion about the sensibilities of community, factual representation of a very important issue that affects people’s lives and safety, and the differences between opinion and responsibility to readership. We can not, and should not, try to limit nor discourage a local paper from serving any segment of the community or it’s ability to generate revenue, but it is a duty of each one of us to hold accountable those that are in a position of influence in the community, where that influence exceeds the boundaries of integrity and fact.
While the recent editorial by Martin makes it clear as to the Easterner’s thoughts of the proposed hate crimes bill and the content of “that controversial ad,” Jeryl’s statement to us of future sensitivity makes it clear as to their continued commitment to the integrity of the Loudoun Easterner.
This simple act of open and respectful dialogue has demonstrated the Loudoun Easterner’s standing as a true community paper, concerned about and willing to engage it’s readership, and willing to take a stand about what is right and just.
I will also add that, at the time of this post, the Loudoun Easterner is the only paper concerned enough about the impact of the deceitful ad to the community at large to take action.
Russell Muños, Vice President, Equality Loudoun