Goodbyes aren't easy, especially here at Tucson Weekly headquarters, a newspaper that's been part of my life for almost a decade. But here I am, saying goodbye to you.
I've been working in newspapers for almost 30 years. The ink, the crazy (but fun) production schedules and you, dear readers, have become part of my identity, which is why this isn't the easiest departure. It comes after almost seven years working as staff writer, earning several investigative reporting awards and others for covering communities and a city I adore. Now, after several years of managing the Tucson Weekly with help from Jim Nintzel, who's been in this business as long as I have, it's time to leave.
In response to my last Editor's Note, one reader, Paul, emailed to ask what he could do to fight the efforts of Gov. Doug Ducey and our state Legislature in their work to destroy our public education system and more. Well, Paul, I'm finally putting my love of community and organizing to work.
Next month, I start a new position as director of organizing and advocacy with the Stand Together Arizona Training and Advocacy Center at the YWCA Southern Arizona. Yes, it's a bit of a departure, but to me, only a small one. Five years ago, my wonderful editor Jimmy Boegle allowed me to take a workshop with the School of Authentic Journalism in New York City during Occupy Wall Street. That weekend I met journalists and organizers from throughout the country to learn about social movements and how they are organized and covered. I was extended an invitation to teach with the school in Mexico that spring with another group of journalists and organizers from across the globe.
That experience changed my life. It also helped me understand the value of strategic organizing. I knew then that when I was ready to leave newspapering, organizing for change was what I wanted to do next. Lucky for me, the YWCA is giving me that opportunity and I'm looking forward to working with their team, grassroots organizers across the state and others, like Paul, wondering what they can do to bring change to Arizona.
I'm sitting at my desk right now looking at the people I've worked with and how much I will miss them, no matter how eager I am to get started in this new endeavor. Nintz, I will miss all the stories we've shared about our kids. You'll never know how much I've appreciated your support and help as we've navigated these changing journalism waters together. Brian Smith, I'm going to miss our random chats and seeing you arrive in the office beaming about your latest Tucson Salvage (or returning from a weekend reading of your new collection of short stories at a bookstore here or far away). Chelo Grubb, you former-intern-star-turned-web editor, I hope we can do a final chocolate run before my last day.
There are others I work with here in my position as editor at Tucson Local Media. Brad Allis, you are a wonderful dad and reporter. I love watching you pull it off each week. And Logan Burtch-Buus, thanks for making me laugh. I look forward to seeing what you do with your growing talent the next few years.
Thanks goes out to the other amazing people in my office, our longtime and not so longtime contributors. Thank you for your support and continuing to make your home at the Tucson Weekly.
But the final thanks goes to my kid that I've often written about here. Thanks for going with me to all the protests and public meetings over the years, and listening to me talk about the stories and the people. You're the reason I've made the Tucson Weekly my home the past decade and you are the reason I go on to this next adventure. I love you.
Thank you. Abrazos y besos.
P.S. Chelo will kill me if I don't remind you to vote in Best of Tucson. The ballot is up. Get to it.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org