Last week, as I turned the pages of my local daily newspaper, the newspaper of record, I saw a few pages of ads from the city notifying the public of the coming elections, where the polling stations were and what was on the ballot. This is common practice from governments around the country. And in many of those municipalities, they also place those ads in community newspapers to ensure the participation of minority communities who have been left out of the process.
So I smiled when I saw those ads, since those same ads were in this paper last week — this LGBT paper. Think about it. The city, any city, should want to get their citizens to vote. They advertise in the mainstream paper, but that doesn’t reach every segment of the community. So they then advertise in African-American newspapers to get out that vote, Hispanic/Latino newspapers to get that vote out and so on. What about your vote? Is it not as important? In my city, I’m proud to say it is.
You’re reading this now because you’re interested in what is happening in your community. You want to know which candidates support your rights and will protect the rights you currently have. That means that you’re more inclined to vote. The goal of any government by the people is to encourage its citizens to vote. So those ads are treating you as first-class citizens — but they do a lot more.
That information you read about the campaigns and your rights take a professional staff to research, write, edit, lay out and distribute — in other words, a lot of people. Some of them have families. This paper and other community newspapers provide the paychecks to those people who bring you that news; the same as it is for those mainstream papers.
It might only be a few ads a year, but it’s a very big success story for equality, and it’s an effort that is expanding nationwide. The push for economic equality is one of the pillars of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. They want LGBT-owned companies to be able to bid on city, state and federal contracts as other minority and multicultural classes — and why not? We are a group or minority that has consistently been discriminated against in business. You are a consumer, you are a taxpayer, you are in the workforce — shouldn’t you have a level playing field with others?
We in the LGBT media applaud the efforts of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, as its success makes us all stronger and empowers our community.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.