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From CEO Jayme Swain: We Must Speak Up and Take Action

Jayme Swain
Michael Simon Photography/Michael Simon Photography

Dear VPM Friends:

This past week has been one of anguish for so many in our region and across the country. Due to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, anger and outrage over decades of police brutality, injustice and inequality against African Americans is bubbling over into protests and riots. Racism has no place in our society, and it will require all of us to speak up and take action to make meaningful change. 

As public media, our role is to act on VPM’s vision of “more connected, informed and empathetic Virginians.” We will tell stories that help us understand our past, create content that highlights diverse viewpoints and bring our community together for honest conversations. This includes hosting a virtual town hall series to talk about the history of the policies that have enabled disparities in policing, housing, health care and other areas of life, which still impact African Americans today.

We will also provide trusted, factual journalism from the VPM News team and from our partners at PBS and NPR. In pursuit of coverage of the recent protests, journalists have been attacked and harassed, including two from VPM. There is simply no justification for the police to harm working journalists.  We will not shy away from our duty and responsibility under the First Amendment to report what’s happening in our community and hold those in power accountable. We are taking all necessary steps to protect our colleagues and their right to report the news. 

Through our role as storytellers and conveners, VPM can be the beacon of hope our community needs right now. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Jayme Swain
CEO, Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President, VPM 

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