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the Body Politic
Vol. 09, No. 05 - Nov/Dec 1999, Page 2
Copyright © 1999 by the Body Politic Inc.
Editor's Desk

The Road Goes Ever On and On...

By Anne Bower

It's time now. Time to say goodbye. I've been trying to write this page ever since I knew this would be the final issue of the Body Politic magazine. But even though I have mulled over paragraph after paragraph for weeks I still can't find the words.

Nine years ago I began this publication with a lot of hopes and dreams. I had worked in New York State activism for over eight years and realized that often one part of the pro-choice community didn't know what the other was doing. It was my intention to report on all our efforts and try to connect us better together.

I also wanted to make sure that ordinary activists in local communities had their efforts acknowledged. Living in Binghamton watching Randall Terry grow in virulence and finding it difficult to get the wider pro-choice activists to take him seriously was very frustrating. I learned early on that often it is the people in individual communities that are the experts and I hoped this magazine would give them a forum for their expertise.

Did I succeed at any of this? Well, judging from the calls, letters and email I have received since announcing our demise, many people cared deeply about this publication. They used it in their work and personal lives. It did make a difference. I, on the other hand, have very mixed feelings about our accomplishments.

Our inability to engage enough subscribers or find foundations willing to help support our mission was continually frustrating. I blamed myself for all this until I learned that only 3% of progressive foundations fund publications. That slightly blunted my anger at my failings but didn't change the bottom line in the bank account.

However, it was ultimately family responsibilities that caused me to make the decision to shut down and I have no regrets for that. My family has been more than patient with me (as well as amazingly helpful) for the last nine years and now it's their turn.

But, oh, I will miss you all so much. The people I have met because of this work will stay with me forever -- the friendships that have blossomed, the kindnesses exchanged. After all the violence, working in the pro-choice community you find yourself living as if in a foxhole and that atmosphere breeds intense friendships -- ones that I hope will last a lifetime.

I'm climbing out of that foxhole now, but others will carry on. The Institute for Democracy Studies (see article pg. 18) will eventually take over our research records so that none of our work will be lost. Body Politic will maintain its phone until January 1 and you can still write to us or email me when the spirit strikes.

Of course, I can't leave without giving thanks for those who became our staff over the years. Valerie Finkelman who has been my friend (and a great researcher) forever, Nicole Youngman who brought wit, intelligence and youth to our organization, Kate Cornell, a wonderful journalist and writer with a delightful quirky sense of humor, Tawna Lewis who, before scanners, spent untold hours cutting out photographs and pasting them together without a whimper and who still sits at the right hand of my husband advising, and speaking of husbands, Dick Bower, CIO, who has contributed thousands of hours to keeping this publication and our web site (and me) together.

We have to go now.

Anne Bower, for the last time, editor


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