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Ohio Legislators Introduce Bills to Designate Ohio Black Media Week

February 23, 2024
Vernon Sykes News

State Senators Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Michele Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester) and state Representatives Elgin Rogers (D-Toledo), and Josh Williams (R-Sylvania) recently introduced Senate Bill 210, and respective companion legislation House Bill 368, to designate Ohio Black Media Week.

“The Black Press has served as the information arm of the African American community for nearly two centuries,” said Sykes. “In a time when news outlets mostly printed negative stories about African Americans in their publications, the Black Press proved vital in highlighting the positive contributions and newsworthy events of Black people in this country.”

These pieces of legislation designate the week containing March 16 of each year as Ohio Black Media Week, aligning with the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s (NNPA) annual “Black Press Week” in mid-March, which seeks to amplify, promote, and empower African American journalism, and to keep the legacy and history of the Black Press alive.

“I am excited to announce the introduction of these pieces of legislation, which seek to recognize the important work done by Black media outlets in the state of Ohio,” said Rogers. “The Black Press is vital to our democracy and the communities that they serve.”

“We honor the profound impact of Black journalism on our collective history. Each story told, each truth uncovered, and each amplified voice serves as a beacon of resilience and progress,” said Reynolds. “In recognizing the vital role Black journalists play, we honor our past and empower our future. Their unwavering commitment to truth-telling and amplifying marginalized voices is essential in shaping a more just and inclusive society for generations to come."

“The right of Black Americans to free expression in journalism and media was fought for and achieved by the work of the Black Press,” said Williams. “These pieces of legislation honor their trailblazing work and the participation of Black voices in our media today.”

“Senate Bill 210 and House Bill 368 are just small tokens of the abundant appreciation we have to the Black journalists whose dedication to the truth and passion for the facts have kept our community informed to this day,” said Sykes.

The progress of Senate Bill 210 can be tracked here. The progress of House Bill 368 can be tracked here.