The unfortunate circumstances around EBONYOWES are no secret: Loss of income. Possibly fractured relationships with editors, and second-guessing by some about our decision to take legal action against a beloved American institution. However, the experience forced me out of my comfort zone.
After I stopped writing for EBONY, I began to pitch larger publications and broaden my network with other editors. I have no “sexy story” about how I went from writing for EBONY to writing for the New York Times, beyond the fact that I moved beyond my comfort zone to reach for something different. Every freelancer can tell you that the comfort zone is where dreams go to die. At least I have that silver lining.
This year I’ve written two articles for the Times. In December I submitted a piece entitled “Can Black Women Say Me Too?,” and my latest article, “The Heartbreak of Raising A Brown Girl In a Red State,” was published in July. Each article appeared in both print and digital editions.
The response, especially to the recent article, has been overwhelming. It went viral, and I’ve reviewed hundreds of emails and messages from readers. Some loved the piece; others detested it. Nonetheless, they found my experiences as a concerned African-American mom in an increasingly fractured racial environment to be thought-provoking.
As a writer, I want to use my voice and platform to at least stir conversation, and at most to foster change. The goal is to continue to do far more of the latter on as many credible platforms as possible.
Shanita Hubbard is an adjunct professor at Northampton Community College and chair of the NABJ Freelance Task Force. Usually, she can be found working under a tight deadline. You can follow her on twitter when she should probably be writing