Ernie McCray, former principal and educator, and OB Rag contributor, has been chosen to be a member of the new San Diego Union-Tribune community editorial board. This was all announced in a series of articles in the U-T’s Sunday edition yesterday, July 24.
In a open letter to the community, U-T editor Jeff Light described the new board members as “pioneers in an experiment that will grow over time,”calling them “a diverse group – a mix of Democrats, Republicans and independents from many neighborhoods and different walks of life,” all -committed to San Diego, to community service and to advancing a constructive conversation about the issues of the day.” The community members’ values, Light claimed:
“outline what the new U-T stands for: political independence, the power of the free market, the importance of the public good, honesty, accountability, inclusiveness. They are broad principles designed to encourage a diversity of ideas about making San Diego a better place.”
In a clever understatement, Light adds:
“Longtime readers of the U-T will understand that this is a significant departure from the newspaper’s tradition. It grows from a conviction that the publisher, Ed Moss, and I share – that a newspaper must reflect its community.
The paper says it will reprint essays written by members of the group. And Ernie’s essay was the first one to be printed. Here is what Light says about Ernie:
The first essay is from Ernie McCray, a retired educator whose encounter with me more than a year ago was one of the inspirations for this project. McCray told me then that he did not think our editorial pages presented people as they were, but as caricatures colored by a political agenda.
I like his essay not because it reflects my own views (it doesn’t), nor because it is free of any political slant (it is not). I like it because it challenges my assumptions. It makes me think. It is a message that says we have turned a page in the history of our newspaper, a signal of our commitment to new voices at the U-T.
Here is the U-T’s introduction to the other members of the new board.
Here is what is said about Ernie McCray (the OB Rag is mentioned):
Occupation: Retired educator
Highlights: Born in Tucson in 1938, he has been active in San Diego since 1962. He served 37 years in the San Diego Unified School District as a teacher, vice principal and principal of schools from elementary through high school. He still works with children in the areas of drama and creative writing and movement and works on their behalf endlessly around issues of peace and justice and making schools safe for all students. McCray is a graduate of the University of Arizona where he played basketball and set the school’s single-game scoring record with 46 points in a 104-84 win over Cal State-Los Angeles in 1960. He is a frequent contributor to publications ranging from the Union-Tribune to the Tucson Citizen and the OB Rag online. He rises everyday to do all that he can to make the world a better place.
“It is extremely vital, especially in these troubled times, that we ensure that our children get many opportunities for artistic expression in our schools because it is through the arts that human beings discover the essence of who they are, and education must always be tailored as much as possible to who a learner is; how they think and approach the world.”
And here is the beginning of Ernie’s essay:
Making a better place for children
I’ve been asked, “What would make San Diego a better place?” And to that I say: Nothing could make a city better, via both its government and its citizenry, than if its every move was made with the following question in mind: How will it benefit our children?
Sadly, that’s not, as the young people say, “how we roll” in San Diego. Look, it wasn’t too long ago a man in a very high place pulled a story out of a hat about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and before we could go “So?” the Pentagon had our teenagers, our children, trying on GI duds for size and sent them off to take part in a “Shock and Awe” exercise – and, in protest, we barely uttered as much as a sigh. Well, I thought it was a law of nature for a mom or dad to get at least a little bit on guard when somebody has a wild idea and tries to make it sound appealing to their kids.
Now, my intent is not to malign either those who serve or their families. My concern simply is: Children mimic what they see. And “apathy” is not a beautiful sight. So I’m just suggesting that maybe we can paint a few life-affirming kinds of visuals for them to see.
For the remainder of this essay, please go here.