Editorial: This is the day!

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Today is OBSERVER GOODWILL DAY, and Antiguans and Barbudans of goodwill will be stepping up to our canopy on Redcliffe Street in front of the ABI Financial building to donate of their hard-earned money.  They will also be going to our GOFUNDME page: Observer Goodwill Project; our Facebook page: Observer Goodwill Project; or to the Antigua Commercial Bank to deposit their donations to Account Number 100-004-883, in the name of Newsco Limited – Projects. Please know that your donations are greatly appreciated and you will have played a critical part in this most worthy cause – the defense of independent media and our democracy. You will feel a great deal of pride and satisfaction in knowing that you did your part in ensuring that the house that the Derricks built remains a bastion of freedom of expression. We submit that there are few things in life to beat that.

We have set a modest goal of $300,000.00, and we believe that – with God’s grace and the outpouring of donations from patriots and people concerned about democracy – we will exceed that. Of course, Observer Goodwill Day is not a one-off. No, everyday is Observer Day, and folks will be able to donate, not only today, but on any day hereafter. And the formal Goodwill Day will be marked on May 15 of every year.

Clearly, we are in this for the long haul, and we are inviting our dearly beloved fellow citizens to partner with us in defense of free and independent media, and by extension, our precious democracy. Of course, we wish to thank Dame Eusalyn Lewis for conceiving of this wonderful idea, and then taking the time out from her pressing responsibilities at home, to shepherd it through to this day. She is a national treasure! We also wish to acknowledge and salute the Observer Goodwill Day planning committee for the splendid job in seeing the great Dame’s dream through to fruition. It took many long nights of sacrifice and perseverance, and we suggest that history will be kind to the memory of their unstinting effort. We also wish to express our gratitude to the many good citizens who have already stepped up to donate. And to those who will be donating today, and in the days and weeks and months ahead, we are thanking you in advance. We also cannot forget to thank the army of volunteers who have given of their time to make this day a success.

Special thanks also go out to the great citizens who were instrumental in getting Observer off the ground at its inception, those who were friends with Winston, Kim, ‘Fergie,’ Robert or ‘Tubby,’ or once worked at Observer in some capacity. We are grateful that you have so kindly consented to be a part of today’s proceedings by telling the Observer story on the Observer airwaves throughout today. We believe that this will be must-listen-to radio, and we are urging Antiguans and Barbudans to tune in, “For this session is vital!”

Interestingly, National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States has been soliciting donations on a daily basis to support the invaluable work that it does. These donations have become increasingly critical to the survival of the free and independent NPR, especially after US President Donald Trump, in his continuing antipathy towards independent media, cut the funding to NPR for the third year in a row. In fact, Trump’s despicable assault on free media and freedom of expression did not end there. Nay, he also took the axe to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). To his eternal shame!  

Mercifully, try as he might (and he really fantasizes about closing them down for good), NPR, PBS and the NEA will not be denied. Thanks to “the generous support of people like you,” as is often heard at the end of all their programs. According to their online page, “Each week, NPR and member stations reach millions of people across the country through quality reporting, expert analysis, and thoughtful commentary that connects us to our communities and the world we live in. This critical work is made possible by the contributions of individuals and institutions who believe in the shared mission of NPR: to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. Individuals that donate to NPR ensure that we are able to continue sharing stories that inform and inspire audiences. Donations of any size help advance this essential public service.” As it is for NPR, locked in a battle for survival against forces that would fain destroy it, so too it is for NEWSCO. Americans of goodwill have responded in a big way to support NPR. We are counting on Antiguans and Barbudans to do likewise. This is your opportunity to ensure that your voice will always be heard! This is your day! This is your finest hour!

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