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Inland Empire Community News Changes Hands

Inland Empire Community News
L-R: IECN co-owner Denise Berger, IECN co-founder Gloria Macias Harrison, IECN co-owner Manny Sandoval, Curt Lewis representing Rep. Pete Aguilar

Rick Dulock
With 91.9 KVCR News, I'm Rick Dulock. The publication in San Bernardino known as Inland Empire Community News, or IECN, was launched as El Chicano more than 54 years ago. At a special event on Friday, May 12 in the KVCR TV studio, commemorating the publication changing ownership, co-founder and co-owner, Gloria Macias Harrison described why and how it all got started.

Gloria Macias Harrison
The public image of our communities was that we were either lazy, or we were criminals, or we were not capable of certain opportunities, whether they were in education, or they were in the workplace. So that's the setting for us. And so we decided at that time, that yes, we had a lack of opportunities in education, lack of opportunities in employment, our schools were still segregated for the most part. We had police brutality, that was a big thing in our communities. And so we decided that one of the biggest things was our public image to the rest of the communities. And so we decided we should combat that by putting out our own image. We no longer want to be seen in this way. We decided we would start with a publication. And we called it El Chicano. And it was funded through a Ford Foundation Title 1 Grant through UCR. And so there was a formation of a group called The Chicano Press Association, and it went primarily in the southwest. The farmworkers had a publication called El Malcriado. There was a publication from Los Angeles called La Raza. There was a publication from Colorado called El Gallo. There was a group of women in Texas who called their publication El Rebozo. And so we formed this sort of network, and we borrowed each other's stories, and we helped each other to some extent. The main issues were the lack of opportunities for students, integration in the schools, farmworker rights, racial and social inequality, we were anti the war, and the civil rights movement. Those were our issues, and that's what we put into the paper.

Gloria Macias Harrison along with IECN’s new owners, Denise Berger and Manny Sandoval, were presented with certificates of recognition from San Bernardino County Schools Superintendent Ted Alejandre, Assemblymembers, Eloise Gomez Reyes and James Ramos, State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, and even Congressman Pete Aguilar. Congressman Aguilar also sent well wishes in this message:

Rep. Pete Aguilar The Inland Empire Community News is an important part of our region and community, offering our residents engaging reporting on local issues. Local journalism is vital to a healthy democracy and local stories bring us together while keeping us informed. I look forward to seeing IECN thrive under their new leadership.

The new owner-publishers shared about their dedication to the mission that Macias Harrison worked for more than half a century to maintain. And both spoke fondly about their work at IECN and how it will continue to be a place where young people can find fulfilling employment opportunities. You can find IECN stories and a signup form for their newsletter online at iecn.com. For KVCR News, I'm Rick Dulock.