“I hope ever to have unrestricted liberty of opinion on all matters of general interest.” –Mary Ann Shadd Cary
I am inspired every summer when I visit Buxton, Ontario, Canada to visit the home of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first woman to publish a newspaper in North America. She was known as a courageous and outspoken writer who used the power of the press to champion her social causes including abolition and women’s rights.
Known as a “vociferous advocate” for “women’s place” in the public sphere, I consider myself a beneficiary of her commitment and single focused effort, especially in my role as a community newspaper publisher. Because of passionate reformers like Ms. Shadd Cary who fought for women to have a public voice in the nineteenth-century, I can not only engage in public discourse, but lead the conversation and set a direction for action in the twenty-first century.
I think about publishers like Ms. Shadd Cary and Ida B. Wells-Barnett every week as I write my columns or work with our editor and writers on articles we publish that we consider informative, inspirational or educational for the general public. The stories of their sacrifice and determination continue to inspire and empower me.
As we enter our 43rd year of publishing, I find myself even more committed to continuing the fight for social justice and encouraging all citizens to become active in community and civic life. And I am excited that so many of you have chosen to join me in this endeavor. Your encouragement, ideas, and financial support continue to make the work we do as your community newspaper a viable enterprise, so I thank you.
As I look towards the future, I see The Voice growing even more into a multi-platform, multi-media company that continues to play a role in educating our community on key issues and inspiring not just our elected and community leaders but every member of our community to become change-agents and advocates for truth and justice. I think Mary Ann Shadd Cary would be proud as well.