The idea stemmed from a newsletter called "Hoppies Journal" which was printed in the summer of the year Joe Hopkins' father - Albert "Hoppie" Hopkins - passed away, in 1989. We were encouraged by an old friend, Ernest Eskridge, to make it into a newspaper.
The newspaper became a reality as a result of our hometown African American newspaper publisher, the late Joe Coley, who published the Bakersfield News Observer, and who offered to publish our very first Journal absolutely free. From that point, we were guided step by step by what we like to refer to as "guardian angels."
Each year, we have attempted to be more than just another newspaper serving the African American market. We've tackled issues of concern and attempted to be another voice for the community on subjects such as hiring practices, lack of diversity, and racism in city government, city departments, police enforcement, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, the Pasadena Rose Bowl and the Pasadena Unified School District.
Publishing a community newspaper is both rewarding and frustrating. It's rewarding in the sense that it provides a chance to accentuate the positive and take on battles on issues that affect the community.
It's frustrating in that sometimes some of those in the very community that we attempt to support still refuse to support the paper. We see as one of the continuing battles the fight is to get people in our community to support Black businesses, Black organizations, Black professionals and this Black newspaper.
With the hands-on help and encouragement of community friends such as Stan Rich, Dr. Gerda Govine Ituarte, Del and Sam Yarbrough, Rick and Pat Adams, we and our family have attempted to make this paper a contributing member of the community.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those staff persons, friends, volunteers and contributors, past and present, who have made a tremendous impact on the paper over the years such as Fred Hubbard (editor), Denni Young Wilson (desktop design, layout and typeset), Thedra McMillian (typing and layout), Rod McIver (sales), Evelyn Bomar (writer and sales), Betty J. Ford (writer and sales), John Randolph Rogers (sports writer), Carl Betts (entertainment writer), Robert Spurlock, Gwen Mason (deliveries), Stephanie Hopkins (research), Amber Hudson (staff), Mildred Hawkins (volunteer staff), David Evans (food editor), Dr. Glovioell Rowland (religion writer), Marlene Cooper (estate planning), Barbara Richardson King (real estate articles), Gail Valentine Taylor (pre-need and funeral plans), Michael Fernandez (photography), Xavier Higgs, (writer/photographer), Ifetayo Olaitan, (youth editor), Auriana Duffy, (staff assistant), Wanda Nelson (proof reader).
We applaud our advertisers. Without you there would be no Journal. Thanks to each of you. Those advertisers who have been with us since the early years and who continue to advertise are Metropolitan Baptist Church, and Woods Valentine Mortuary, Bless you!
Love, Joe and Ruthie