Help us diversify

On Saturday, I met with a remarkable young man, Coon the Poet, at Old Soul in Oak Park. You can read a little about him and his work in this week’s 15 Minutes column. He told me about coming up in south Sacramento and the traumatizing experiences that led him to become a true culture warrior in our community.

I was introduced to Coon by another activist, Andru Defeye of ZFG Promotions and Sol Collective, while I was meeting with him and the brilliant artist known as The Philharmonik. A few days later I met with Tanya Faison of Black Lives Matter Sacramento and apologized for tagging her in a Facebook post, which, I only recently learned, is unacceptable behavior.

All of these people are fighting what I consider one of the most important fights being waged in this community and nation. All of them have shared with me their perspective on an article about that fight, “Confessions of a killer cop,” which we ran in December. Over the past couple weeks, I have also heard from a couple dozen artists who were nominated for SAMMIES awards and are choosing not to participate because of the controversy surrounding that article. I am responding to each individually.

This newspaper has been and remains committed to giving a voice to marginalized communities, and I promise you that we will continue to do so. Everyone in my newsroom recognizes that we must do a more proactive job of recruiting people of color to tell their stories. Raheem Hosseini, our news editor, has contacted diversity-focused journalism associations and individuals for help.

As I look through the pages of the newspaper going back over the years, I believe we have done a pretty good job. And I believe we can do better. And I welcome your help.