This month marks our seventh year of publishing TODO Austin. Art Director Dave McClinton and I started this project with a mission to create a free journal that highlighted Austin’s expanding multiethnic communities. We were introduced by Louis Black of the Austin Chronicle and aided by staffer Mark Gates. Thanks to Louis, we’ve had the opportunity to throw our support behind the numerous endeavors of countless gifted people and worthy organizations.
More than 400 writers, photographers, artists and activists have contributed to our editorial pages. Ranging from passionate millennials to baby boomers, their work has played a vital role in focusing attention on proactive social advocacy efforts in Austin. What future generations who come upon TODO Austin in the city’s libraries and history centers will make of the work of these citizen journalists can only be conjectured. What matters is that they are writing something worth reading.
To that end, we’ve used a newsprint piece as our platform in hopes of reaching more consumers, though the notion of taking the product strictly online and saving a few trees has crossed our minds. It is costly going to press, but the expense is covered by our generous sponsors/advertisers. We believe they are doing their part to engage under-served communities of color in Austin, as do the owners of the 150 or so distribution outlets across the city that place TODO Austin on their shelves.
We’re grateful for their efforts. Not only do they sustain minority-owned media, they recognize our collective heritage and encourage exchanges of ideas in a city that has too often neglected the voice of all its people.
The individuals who work behind the curtain at the Long Center, Texas Performing Arts, Frank Erwin Center, the Austin Symphony, plus numerous City of Austin departments (most notably Parks & Recreation), KLRU, local politicians like U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett, various retailers, boutiques, restaurants, hotels, grocers, coffee shops, libraries, college campuses, movie theaters, clubs, bars, local and state government facilities and more are keenly aware of the city’s changing demographic makeup and the need for inclusion. Our amigos at Guero’s Taco Bar have been with us every step of the way from our inception.
On April 17, we lost one of our most dedicated supporters, Rz & Associates and Bellas Artes Alliance founder, Andy Ramirez. In addition to lending support to TODO Austin, we partnered with Andy on the Pan Americana Festival to promote Latino culture during the South by Southwest music festival. Andy was an organizer who commanded respect wherever he went. A modest and reflective man, he attracted politicians, artists, corporate and subculture society. Near the end of his 73 year career in public and private ventures, he championed everyone from the poor to the creative class.
TODO Austin dedicates this issue to Andy, his wife Linda Ramirez and their family.