For 23 years we have used our community newspaper to uplift market and promote the quality of life unique only to Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
I understand many of our readers, especially those in the black community, were disappointed and even angered with the choice of our cover for the last edition. I admit, it was over the top, but I wanted to get everyone’s attention.
Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about this community. I built my media company marketing, promoting, touting and defending the Fayetteville community. The cover design was intended to make a bold and profound statement not about this community but to this community. It certainly was not meant to offend the sensitivities of our residents.
I am truly sorry and hope this heartfelt apology will be accepted by those I hurt and offended. Those who know me or my newspaper know that meanness and hatred are just not my style. I love this community and have spent my entire career working to solve problems, build relationships and celebrate the goodness that makes this such a special place.
Below is my official statement and explanation as to the purpose and intent of last week’s Up & Coming Weekly feature involving Tyrone Williams. There are no other explanations, motives, truths or conspiracies.
Over the past 23 years, our community has grown and finally come of age in the arts, culture, education, economic development and quality of life in comparison to other North Carolina cities. It was a long and hard-fought process, but we did it. I was distraught at the thought of us losing ground by allowing others to exploit and disrespect our community.
The purpose of the cover and the Tyrone Williams story was to get the community’s attention and to make sure everyone knows and understands that this kind of outrageous and unscrupulous behavior by anyone, of any race, color or political affiliation will not and cannot be accepted, condoned, ignored or encouraged with impunity.
Fayetteville elected Williams. He was a known entity in this community, and Fayetteville elected him to represent District 2 anyway. Then he got caught.
Getting Williams to resign from the city council does not eradicate the offense, and it surely is not an exoneration. The message I wanted to convey, and which I have already admitted was in poor taste, is that our city is on the right track both culturally and economically, and we have made too much progress to allow people, agencies or organizations to abuse and plunder our good will, resources and achievements.
Up & Coming Weekly takes full responsibility for our content and opinions. Our writers’ photos and credentials are included with every article, and we have never hid behind aliases or unidentified or anonymous sources. In addition, we have always openly made our newspaper accessible to the city, county and Fort Bragg, as well as individuals, businesses, institutions and community organizations, to promote initiatives and tell their stories. We provide them a strong and relevant voice. That’s what community newspapers do. That is what the Fourth Estate is all about.
In the future, and without minimizing any of the enthusiasm or commitment we have for promoting Fayetteville and our city’s leaders, I promise to be more sensitive and aware about how we convey the ideas, achievements and concerns that affect our city.
We are the only media company that has succeeded solely by aggressively and positively reporting, promoting and writing about one thing: the greater Fayetteville community.
I’ve never hid the fact that I love this community and seek to be a positive influence to bring about growth and change that will benefit it – even during tough times. In this situation, my form was bad, but my intentions were good.
I hope we can put this behind us and move forward. We have so much more to say about the Fayetteville community, its leadership and its citizens.
Up & Coming Weekly