The Rapidian

Our place, your voices: The Rapidian is a necessary tool for community change

The Rapidian gives community members the tools they need to tell the stories. It gives a voice where there is a void in conventional media. It breaks down the old narratives of the past that are no longer relevant, and in the case of more sensitive issues like race and gender struggles, damaging.
Rose cultivating a sense of place with a foraging class

Rose cultivating a sense of place with a foraging class /Lisa Rose

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The Rapidian is your hyperlocal news source powered by citizen journalism. Everything on The Rapidian is about our place- Grand Rapids, Michigan- and written by your voices. Neighbors keeping neighbors informed about local businesses, events, and issues. 

 

As an open and welcoming platform for all voices, the Rapidian is truly powered by the people. Please keep the power going with a donation today. This is our place, and these are your voices.

 

During our Spring Fund Drive, we also have special ways to thank our donors! Along with new ways to show your Rapidian love with pencils, Issue Press notebooks and Citizenshirt bags, we also have great gift certificates donated to the cause from these fine establishments:

/Courtesy of Lisa Rose

I remember well first learning about the concept for The Rapidian. It was in the Sparrows coffee shop that Laurie Cirvello - the visionary and then director of the Community Media Center - told me about this concept of a citizen-led online media hub that the CMC was founding. 

The timing for this seed to take root was spot on: It was 2008. The floor was falling out of our economy. The country was in the midst of a significant presidential election. Social media was just taking off - Twitter and Facebook were being used more and more in Grand Rapids as methods of sharing information. People wanted to be heard. People wanted to connect. The feeling was so strong in circles of community organizing, you could just feel it. 

My own pull to the work of The Rapidian was rooted in the interest to better help connect my community to place - to help share information about the local food movement and the natural world around them and how nurturing this relationship could positively impact my community’s health. It was Roberta King (now one of my closest comrades in both writing and running) who helped me see the value of sharing my knowledge for the broader community. She helped me see the need for more stories that would inspire people to make positive change in their lives. 

From that platform, I’ve shared content I felt relevant - from the growing issues facing our local food system to community interest stories featuring folks pursuing more active lifestyles. 

Not only did I find The Rapidian to be a platform that could help me get my stories told, but I’ve watched other writers from across the community to get engaged in moving our local food system efforts forward. I watched content creators in the local food realm pick up “food beats” to tell the stories of the change agents in our food system. We’ve covered areas of interest that span issues of social justice, economics and environmental stewardship. I continue to be amazed at this growing area within Grand Rapids and the continued growth in our local food system.

But we have so much more work to do - not just in the local food movement, but in our community across the board. 

Fast forward seven years later, our communities are still faced with the same struggles: for a need to be heard. For a need to believe their concerns are relevant and that they matter. For a need to be empowered with their own ability to change the course of their lives. 

The Rapidian fills this need. How? 

It gives community members the tools they need to tell the stories. To give a voice where there is a void in conventional media. To break down the old narratives of the past that are no longer relevant, and in the case of more sensitive issues like race and gender struggles, damaging.

And absolutely timely. 

This isn’t just a “nice to have.” Giving the people the power to change the narratives in the media helps re-write the directions of our future. Giving people the tools to author their own stories will change our community organically, instead of a curated tale of Grand Rapids from only one voice or perspective. 

Because of technology and platforms like The Rapidian, at no other time in society has this been more possible, nor important. And I think Grand Rapids is finally getting to understand that our collective community’s health and quality of life depends on it. 

 

 

During The Rapidian’s online fund drive, we are reminded that this highly valued news source runs on money. The Rapidian needs your help to continue providing content that is important to you. Please give today at therapidian.org/donate.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

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