Editorial: A newspaper's role is to be a bridge to understanding
Today, we at the Daily Herald welcome a group of community leaders and concerned citizens invited to our headquarters by a civic organization called Bridge the Black/White Divide.
The topic of the breakfast discussion: The role of the news media in bridging that racial divide.
As we have said in this space many, many times over the years, we view our role as being a bridge to understanding.
Ultimately, as citizens of the republic, all of us have the same fundamental obligations: To advance liberty, to promote justice and to build community.
That philosophy is a part of the newspaper's heritage.
Years ago, we began a series of in-depth reporting projects examining the roots of many of the ethnic communities that by then had called the suburbs home.
Those Suburban Mosaic reports were so prominent that a community reading program we support adopted the same name for the book-of-the-year program it promotes "to confront issues of racial and social justice and promote cross-cultural understanding through literature."
We recognized even then how diverse the population of the suburbs had become.
That was shortly after the turn of the century.
We remember making the observation then, in one of the many editorials we wrote as an advocate for tolerance and understanding, that in 1990, you could see this diversity in the U.S. Census figures; by 2000, you could see it walking down the street.
We argued then, and we argue now, that we all have a stake in building a community of justice and harmony.
This is true for black or white, female or male, young or old, gay or straight, immigrant or native, poor or rich, whatever the religious background, whatever the ethnic roots.
This is true for all of us.
After all, if you had the choice between living in a community marked by division, suspicion, inequity and fear or living in one characterized by harmony, kindness, opportunity and trust, which would you choose?
It is up to all of us to envision that second community and to work to build it.
It is up to us as a newspaper of your neighbors, with as much stake in the success of the community as anyone else who lives here, to foster that vision and to work on its behalf.
Each day, we devote ourselves to that goal. Each day, we strive to reflect the full life of the community in an effort to play our part in narrowing the divide. Each day, we wish we did it better. Each day, we strive to do it better than the day before.
We view today's community dialogue as another step in that direction. We arrive ready to listen. Every day offers a chance to build bridges to understanding.