Dear Co-op Voice Readers, Welcome!
A year ago we were scrambling to assemble the very first issue of the Co-op Voice. We’re now a team of 18 member-owners learning the ropes of how to create and sustain this publication together. We hope you’ve enjoyed the information and perspectives we’ve provided throughout the year, and we hope you’ll consider adding your own voice to the mix.
The Co-op Voice is different from the Coop Scoop or other mailings and publications that are produced by the Co-op itself; while we too are linked to the Co-op, we’re also independent. Our mission is to “provide an independent space for Honest Weight Food Co-op’s diverse voices to be heard, to ensure and enhance communication among our community members, to contribute to a healthy co-operative environment, and to work together to keep building our Co-op community.”
You may have seen an e-mail from us a week ago asking people to send in photos from recent marches, demonstrations, or meetings with elected officials they have been involved in. Because of the recent groundswell in civic engagement that many of us have been participating in, and because we highly value the democratic foundations of our Co-op and the broader democratic systems of our society, we want to publish your photos from recent democratic actions, in our March issue.
The e-mail was also a reminder about our free classifieds, our paid advertising, and a call for submissions of Letters to the Editor or, as we call it, “Voice Mail.” In response to our e-mail, we have already received a number of great photos, some new ads, and several Letters to the Editor. Two of those Letters expressed dismay that the Co-op Voice would use the newsletter “to further…member political views,” joining one Letter we published in January that expressed a similar sentiment. All new Letters we received to date are published in this current issue of the Voice.
We gave those Letters serious consideration, had conversations with Board members about them, and devoted a large portion of our twice-monthly meeting to an extended discussion about whether our society’s politically contentious matters should be published here. We’d like to take this opportunity to share with you the understandings and decisions we’ve reached.
On the Co-op Voice team, we firmly believe in building a strong cooperative community. We very much value the accepting, friendly environment of Honest Weight, and have no wish to create division. We want everyone to feel welcome. While we believe in diversity of expression, our editorial standards require civility and respect in the material we publish. We want to assure the community that our editorial policy is such that we will not lend support to nor denigrate any political party, and we will not promote nor denigrate any particular candidate or elected official. Going forward, we will not publish Letters to the Editor or Op Eds that attempt to do any of this.
Some of our articles may delve into examining the political forces that impact the environment, our food, natural farming practices, migrant labor issues and the like. The sustained focus on these issues – dear to the heart of so many in our Co-op community – can bring about a convergence of thought across party lines that may not be possible otherwise. That is what we strive for.
By its nature, a co-op is an alternative institution, dependent on the participation of its members so that it will remain a cooperative in name and form. It’s been called an “incubator for democracy,” and for that reason it’s a wonderful environment in which to raise civic-minded children (and adults!). Again, our intent in publishing the photos we receive from you is to highlight members’ involvement in the democratic outlets for expression in our great nation.
We welcome the photos you have taken of gatherings of all stripes, as shown below in these examples from newspaper websites. Feel free to send us a variety of types of shots so we can select among them, but we’ll probably end up publishing no more than one per person.
Please e-mail us your photos, with captions, to: editors AT coopvoice.com.
Send Letters to the Editors, too! Let us hear from you.
Sincerely, in cooperation,
The Co-op Voice Team