Though it was launched in 2000, multicultural publication The Fire This Time has faded from campus since a lapse in leadership in 2011. Zoe Gadegbeku (COL ’15) has re-launched the former newsmagazine as a blog designed to represent minority voices on campus.
“We are trying to give insight into different experiences at Georgetown. It is not just a cultural or ethnic thing. We want to emphasize that there are so many different experiences at Georgetown and so many different points of view that we can bring,” Gadegbeku, the blog’s editor-in-chief, said.
The Fire was originally founded in 2000 in response to hate crimes on campus. The Fire’s various incarnations, as well as the most recent re-launch, have been motivated by a deficiency in the representation of minority voices on campus.
“We recognize that there is this idea that we all have different conversations and dialogues about the diversity and experience at Georgetown, but there is not one place for a conversation about these ideas to be found,” General Manager and Graphics and Photography Editor Claytia Gonsalves (SFS’15) said. “We want to reestablish The Fire and bring it back so people can come forward and have an open dialogue, and have a forum for people to discuss what’s on their hearts to discuss.”
Since its initial founding, the newsmagazine has been published intermittently. In 2010, it was re-launched as a part of English professor Athelia Knight’s course “The Fire This Time: Workshop.”
“Leadership is extremely important when it comes to managing the consistent and timely publication of a paper,” Alexandra Bledsoe (SFS ’12), who worked as co-editor-in-chief in Knight’s class, said. “In previous cases, the paper ceased to produce material when there were lapses in leadership.”
Gadegbeku and Gonsalves acknowledged funding and resource challenges The Fire has faced in the past. However, they said they were confident in this incarnation of The Fire’s longevity. The Fire’s membership on the Media Board in recent years has provided access to university benefits and funding. The paper’s new online format eliminates the challenges of printing and distribution that challenged former versions of the publication.
“This is the first time it has been an online blog,” Gonzalves said. “We are on our computers all the time, and it will just be a click away, so we think that will increase readership.”
The publication features six sections, including news and opinion sections. There are 24 writers on staff, but the paper accepts submissions from anyone.
“The goal of the paper is to be a grassroots paper, community paper for people to send in their own stories and really make it their own,” Gonsalves said.
Erika Nedwell (COL ’14), co-vice president of the Black Student Alliance, said she was excited that The Fire would represent minority voices at Georgetown.
“The Hoyaand The Voice are great publications, but oftentimes, as I skim their pages, I find a deficiency of minority students’ perspectives,” Nedwell said. “I’d willingly accept the underrepresentation if students of color truthfully had nothing to say, but I can’t think of anything further from reality. I’m incredibly overjoyed to see that The Fire This Time will finally be making its much overdue return to the Hilltop.”