These past few weeks have been the most challenging times we’ve experienced in our 127 year history. Like so many of you, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in our professional and personal lives. Our entire team is working from kitchen tables, bedrooms (and wherever we can find space), while home schooling, caring for at-risk family members, and managing our own “new normal.” Yet, we remain committed to bringing you updated news and information through the newspaper, afro.com, our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and Apple News.
But, it hasn’t been without a real struggle. We’ve furloughed nearly 25 percent of our employees, as we fight to stay in business. And, due to government restrictions and our concern for the safety of our distributors, we’ve suspended our street sales* — as well as deliveries to churches, barber shops, beauty parlors and other retail outlets. At the same time, our advertisers have substantially reduced their schedules (with some canceling advertising buys totally) because their businesses also have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Sadly, one of our sister papers in Norfolk, Va. suspended publishing last week, after 120 years.
But there is some good news! We are among a handful of African-American publications in the country who are participating in a nationwide 501c3 COVID-19 local news fund hosted by the Local Media Association. The fund is designed to enable support for independent publishers and family-owned publications, like the AFRO.
If you believe, as we do, that our ability to provide news for us, by us is critical, please consider joining others in making a tax-deductible donation to this new fund by going to https://givebutter.com/theAFRO or sending your donation (payable to the Local Media Association) directly to us at 1531 S. Edgewood Street, Baltimore, MD 21227.
Every dollar raised helps support our continuing, consistent, timely coronavirus coverage: stories about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color; stories about the struggles of African-American families and businesses; stories about the disparities in testing and much more. We also want your stories and pictures and invite you to send them to email@example.com.
AFRO Founder John H. Murphy Sr. said, “A newspaper succeeds because it believes in God, in itself and the present generation.” Thank you, in advance, for your support. We don’t believe He brought us this far to leave us!
Praying that you and your families stay safe and well.
Frances Murphy (Toni) Draper
*There is no interruption to paid subscribers.