Last Updated on December 30, 2021 by BVN

By Stephanie Williams and Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds

Black Voice News entered 2021 with a clear mission: to continue telling stories of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Black community from all relevant perspectives including vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy, mis- and disinformation about the virus and vaccines, the impact of recovery on employment opportunities in the Black community, housing vulnerability due to the need for rental assistance, food insecurity, support for delinquent water and utility bills, COVID-19 risks and impacts on children, federal burial assistance, and variants and mutations that continue to disproportionately impact our community.

At the same time, Black Voice News maintained its focus on issues of equity as it relates to the Black community and other communities of color including environmental justice and healthcare, housing, employment opportunities, education, questionable use of force incidents by local police and sheriffs, as well as efforts aimed at criminal justice reform.  

We thank you for your support throughout the year and are proud to highlight these achievements:

  • Black Voice News was recognized by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services with two awards for our reporting in 2020. They included Best English language feature for a report titled, “Housing Inequality Worsens as COVID-19 Pummels Black California; and Best Commentary for a piece on voter suppression titled, “Can you Spell Backwards, Forwards?” And our publisher was named a JSK Community Impact Fellow at Stanford University, one of only 10 selected from a national pool of applicants.
  • We joined a national effort led by the Boston Globe and on a single day leveraged our collective reporting and raised our voices on the issue of vaccine hesitancy. Black Voice News contributed three articles to this initiative from the perspective of those who were hesitant and why, those who took the vaccine and why, and overall vaccine acceptance in the Black community.
Vaccine awareness
  • We partnered with California Black Media and Blue Shield of California to produce a series of eight articles aimed at ending domestic violence. The series focused on a variety of domestic violence-related topics from efforts by local ministers to educate and inform on the issue, to the efforts of local domestic violence centers to provide viable support during the COVID-19 lockdown, to domestic violence impacts on homelessness.
West Valley Water District
  • We maintained a focus on issues of transparency in local government including misuse of public funds by the West Valley Water District; failures to protect children by the Riverside Department of Child Protective Services; failures of local sheriffs to protect county jail inmates from the impacts of COVID-19; a Riverside Grand Jury’s assessment that there was no validity to accusations of voter irregularities levied by a local district attorney; ongoing efforts by the Riverside County Sheriff to undermine efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus in addition to  his involvement with a white supremacy related extremist organization as well as his nepotism in violation of department rules; investigated accusations that the Riverside County sheriff’s union was attempting to influence the outcome of redistricting, the San Bernardino County Sheriff Departments’ history of appointing sheriffs thereby denying the voters’ right to choose, and efforts by the SBCUSD school board to dismiss a newly appointed Superintendent of Schools without cause after less than four months in office. 
  • We continued reporting on the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s overuse of electronic surveillance and recently submitted a friend of the court amicus brief at the appellate level in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s quest for transparency related to electronic warrants. Our goal is to encourage the court to establish a baseline for transparency on this issue.
Report for America
  • Just recently, the Black Voice News was awarded two additional Report for America Corps members who will join the team in June 2022. One will be an investigative reporter who will focus on issues of environmental justice and the other, a photojournalist who will concentrate on criminal justice including local efforts aimed at reform, issues of sheriff and police department transparency, and complaints related to the excessive use of force.  
  • Our editorial team produced more than 820 articles, our mapping team mapped over 66,755 square miles of California territory, compiled information from over 500 different sources, and completed 28 visualizations (18 maps, 6 web apps, 3 dashboards, 1 bubble chart).

2021 has been a year of transition, adjustment, and transformation as our organization evolves in alignment with the changing role of media in a 24-hour, digital news cycle where citizen reporters post incidents as they occur. Our goal is to provide justice-seeking reporting rooted in data that not only focuses on issues but also highlights solutions. 

Yours in Service,

Stephanie Williams, Executive Editor

Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, Publisher

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephanie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.