Hello! I would like to re-introduce myself as Content Director for BenitoLink.
It is my responsibility to create, receive and collect the news and information that is posted on BenitoLink. I will be encouraging you all to send in articles, events, reviews and ideas for stories you would like to know more about. I will be reaching out to groups, organizations and individuals to share their information and perspectives with the community. BenitoLink is constantly evolving to better serve our county. Your input is essential!
BenitoLink is a project of Vision San Benito County. It came out of the Vision Summit which was held in October of 2011. I was a participant in that weekend and it had a profound effect on me. I arrived, as a proud resident of San Juan Bautista, and departed, a proud resident of San Benito County!
At that weekend, I was impressed by the willingness of the participants who came from varied backgrounds, city and county employees, residents, teachers, contractors, business people, some members of the Board of Supervisors and City Council. It was an energetic conversation in which many needs and ideas were expressed.
One outcome was the recognition of a lack of access to local news and information. It is to meet this need that BenitoLink has been created. I was part of the original team which worked on the evolving design and conversations about how to meet the needs of the community. What does the community want? And how do we find out what that is?
Living here in San Benito County, I know that we do not all share the same political, religious beliefs, or even language! I also know that although I may not share beliefs with some of my neighbors, they are still willing to be there if I need help, advice, or support. Just because we could have some knock down drag out fights about local political issues, doesn't mean we can't respect one another. I believe that this is the core of what the Community Foundation for San Benito County and Vision San Benito County are trying to promote in our community; mutual respect and engagement. When we share our perspectives and respectfully listen to those of others, we strengthen our community!
When someone points out weaknesses, or contradictions in my arguments, it gives me the opportunity to consider them and improve my argument. Likewise, I have been told by some that they had never heard such an argument from my position and found it thought-provoking. This was possible because there was mutual respect between us. This allows both of our perspectives to be expanded.
Last January, I was fortunate to be have been sent by the Community Foundation to attend the Media Learning Seminar in Miami hosted by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Foundation recognizes that many communities around the country struggle with the problems of the advent of the internet and the decline of the daily newspaper. They have dedicated themselves to creating solutions to give citizens access to the information they need to keep our democracy functioning properly and encourage the free expression of thoughts and ideas. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate".
Please let us know what you would like to see us do with this opportunity. How can we make it work for you? What information would you like to see on BenitoLink? How might it be organized to better serve you?
San Benito County is a unique place, with a unique history. This is one of our strengths. We have old timers and newcomers, we have concentrations of people and vast expanses with few folks. Just as one area of the county is not more San Benito than another, no one perspective is more San Benito than another. It is all us!
I am hopeful that my experiences in the county's rural schools, my work covering San Juan Bautista and Hollister for the San Juan Star and Community Media Access Partnership and my connection with El Teatro Campesino will help me to build some bridges here in the county. There are many bridges which need to be built! Let's do it together!
I look forward to hearing from you.