As an editorial board, most of our meetings are spent looking outside The Daily Californian to formulate calls to action with the purpose of ameliorating ongoing issues that continue to affect the Berkeley community.
Throughout this summer, we have addressed pieces toward local, state and even national interests that have felt pertinent to Berkeley’s readership. However, as Pride Month comes to a close, we would like to use this editorial to diverge from our usual status quo and look inward.
Every year, the Daily Californian releases a Pride Impact Issue, where different departments cover stories and write personal narrative pieces about the LGBTQ+ experience on campus and throughout the community at large.
When putting our heads together at our last meeting, we bounced around a couple of topics to write our Pride editorial on; however, each felt somewhat forced and performative. It felt as though we were writing to complete an assignment, rather than speaking something powerful into existence that truly reflects the beliefs of our editorial board.
Thus, we came to the conclusion to take a pause and reflect on who we are as a newspaper, and how we can and should do better to amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ community — regardless of what month it is.
As outlined by The Daily Californian’s employee handbook, the mission of the paper is to “serve its readers by producing a publication of professional caliber,” and to “foster an environment for initiative-taking and enterprise reporting.” In turn, our staffers will be able to translate these values into a professional setting and continue to shape the way storytelling is done in a respectful and reputable manner.
While this goal drives the work that we do at The Daily Californian, it is clear that this mission statement must extend into a continuous effort to make this newspaper a more equitable place.
This year has been particularly harmful toward the LGBTQ+ community, especially regarding discriminatory legislation that has swept across the United States. Across the country, more than 5o0 bills have been introduced to prevent gender-affirming medical treatment, erase classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, criminalize drag performances and broadly censor the LGBTQ+ community.
Unfortunately, a large majority of those who support these measures are informed by mass-media writers. Sitting in similar newsrooms and dedicating a large portion of time to making words come alive, we acknowledge that the pen has the capability to both empower and puncture.
The Daily Californian does not condone any microaggressions or discriminatory practices against people on the basis of gender and sexuality. While this statement continues to ring true, we understand more must be done to combat recent injustices.
This not only means reporting on genuine stories, but also hiring staffers who respect the lived experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and ensure our newspaper is produced with integrity and honesty. We invite the entire Berkeley community to come write for our newspaper — staffer or not — to help us in our mission to better represent the voices of Berkeley.