I envision a world where underserved, low-income communities have their own media infrastructure and journalism service, telling dynamic stories with their own voices, harnessing their abundant local talent, holding officials and institutions accountable, and agitating for change where needed.
“America is the country of the future. It is a country of beginnings, a country of projects, of vast designs and expectations.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844
I love these words because they recall to me how I felt as a 9-year-old moving back to the United States in the Bicentennial year, 1976 — that I was about to start my future in a land of destiny, mine by accident of birth only, a place I left as an infant, a country of big dreams where I could shape my own.
Emerson makes no vapid moral claims here on the country’s behalf, attaches to the new nation no false virtue (though he does ignore the moral dilemmas inherent in its birth convulsion); instead, he roots his words in the particularities of the United States’ early efforts to define itself, in the fierce arguments between its founding figures about how to situate the nation in the world’s political economy, and in the decisions — and optimism — that charted its distinct course.
His words welcome all who would choose, or need, to start anew, to take part in the process of reinvention that is at America’s core; they draw no lines between those who can or cannot. They set forth a grand scale of possibility and bid those who would to join the journey.