The Establishment Means The World To Me, And It Needs Your Help

Editor’s note: Throughout April and May, thanks to a generous donor match, every dollar you spend will be equal to two!

I need to be honest with you all about where we are at The Establishment. I need to ask for your help. But first, because I am a writer, a little background:

I did not know if I was going to make it when I quit my job in advertising to write full time. I had seen countless other writers, especially women writers of color, leave writing due to stress, industry bias, and the general lack of income available to writers today. But I knew I had to try.

I started writing as a necessity, a way of reaching out to a broader world so that my day-to-day life in an overwhelmingly white male-dominated workforce in an overwhelmingly white city did not break my spirit. I started writing because there was nowhere in my face-to-face life where I could be heard. Writing not only helped me find the community that I had been missing my entire life, it has helped me find my true self and my true calling. When I can name the injustices I’m so often expected to suffer in silence, I am empowered.

But I am also a single mother of two kids who likes to eat and likes having a safe and warm place to sleep at night. So as soon as I made my leap to full-time writing, I began to panic. In the midst of my anxiety, two editors I had worked with at a previous publication reached out to me. They were starting a new publication and they wanted to know if I would be interested in writing some pieces for them. I had pleasant experiences with them in the past, so I said yes, hoping to be able to add them to the list of possible piecework I could cobble together to pay my mortgage. I was not expecting them to come to Seattle and offer me a position as Editor at Large. I was not expecting them to offer me the stability I needed to make my writing dream come true.

When I can name the injustices I’m so often expected to suffer in silence, I am empowered.

The Establishment has been that for me, offering many of the practical benefits I need: regular part-time income to know that at least my mortgage would always be covered, health insurance — and so much more. With The Establishment, I have been given the opportunity to regularly exercise and build my writing skills, while also having the freedom and flexibility to grow my career with other outlets. Not once have my colleagues at The Establishment been anything less than enthusiastically supportive of my career goals.

But most importantly, not once, not a single time, have any of my editors at The Establishment tried to soften my voice. Not once have they tried to make me sound less angry or less black. Not once have they let any personal discomfort or fragility take precedence over my fight for racial justice. Not once. I have yet to be given such respect and freedom by any other publisher. If you talk to any other women writers of color, I’m sure they will confirm how very rare that is.

I am, of course, not the only person who has benefited from The Establishment’s commitment to elevating authentic and often underrepresented voices. It has been life-affirming to see so many writers bless us with some of their first professionally published pieces — women writers of color, trans writers, queer writers, disabled writers — talking about some of the most important issues of the day with actual lived experience. I have loved knowing that every piece is edited with integrity, and that every writer is paid for their labor. To be a member of the founding team of a rare platform that is fair and equitable and treats all writers with respect has given my work more purpose and satisfaction than I could have ever imagined.

Our ability to build this amazing community was made possible not only by the hard work of our small team, but by the funding of one angel investor, who gave us the capital for one year of lean operation. We have been able to stretch that capital for over a year and a half, while building a level of readership that is rare for so new a publication. Our articles are reaching 1 million people a month, and that rate is continuing to grow every day.

Publishing is not free, not even on the internet.

But publishing is not free, not even on the internet. Writers and editors and social media marketers need to eat, just like everyone else. And, in the vein of the radical transparency we’ve fostered since our first day, we’re nearing the end of our startup funds.

We are currently pursuing investments and building sustainable revenue streams with the aim of securing the future of this platform as a voice of resistance in these troubling times. I strongly believe, and I think you would agree, that what we have here at The Establishment is of value. If you are interested in a larger investment in The Establishment, please reach out.

But in the meantime, while we work to secure more permanent funds, we need to get through the next few months. We run a very tight ship, but to run a platform and continue to pay our staff and every valuable contributor for the next three months, we will need around $75,000 in funds. If you have loved any pieces from The Establishment, if you have loved having a place to hear authentic and diverse voices, if you love seeing writers and activists paid for their mental and emotional labor, if you love writing with heart and integrity — please consider giving what you can. Here are five easy ways to do so.

I believe that The Establishment is something special. I believe that what we have created is something that we cannot find elsewhere. I believe that The Establishment is important and good. And I want it to be here to stay as we fight the other establishment every day.

Thank you for your readership and thank you for your support.

I’ll see you in my next essay,

Ijeoma

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