Esteemed NATJA Family & Friends:
Where do I begin? Just as many of our destinations were beginning to emerge from some of the darkest weeks we have experienced in our lifetimes, we have been catapulted into another type of darkness, one rooted in centuries of institutionalized racial discrimination. The death of George Floyd, following countless other incidents, has forced us to look inward, to look at equality in our country with more introspect. People across our country have taken to the streets to express their First Amendment right to ensure that justice for George prevails and to put a stop to incidents like these.
During this time, the job of journalists reporting the facts and giving a voice to protestors, law enforcement, community members, business owners, and anyone else affected, is more critical than ever. Journalists are putting themselves in harm’s way to provide us with important information. As a journalistic organization, we commend the efforts of those on the frontlines.
As we move forward post-pandemic, we will “pick up where we left off” in early March. Our physical office has been closed and the staff continues on a part-time schedule. We have been doing the best we can given the circumstances by working remotely. We apologize for those who submitted their prize selections and requested certificates from our awards competition but that information is in the office and will be handled once we are allowed to open our office. Hopefully, soon. NATJA is based in Los Angeles County which is cautiously moving through re-opening phases, as we had one of the highest COVID-19 numbers in the country and the most in the state of California.
Our Advisory Board has been meeting weekly to update us on how the pandemic has affected media and DMOs. We are planning a Zoom membership meeting later in June where we can provide updates on NATJA. Additionally, we continue to plan our virtual conference and marketplace.
As the weeks and days progress, we must do good, oppose hate and bigotry, and seek justice. I think of our member, Francesca Donlan from the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, who taught a class on kindness and its positive effects. An act of kindness can speak louder than words. This morning I was struck by a photo of a white officer comforting an elderly African American woman in a wheelchair. This was kindness and compassion. As we move forward in the next few weeks, let us remember that we are in this together.
Stay well. Be safe and may God provide us the strength to endure during these difficult times.
Chief Executive Officer