Editorial | We Stand with Anoa: Lies by Omission Damage Progressive Voices

Anoa Changa speaks at a Power to the Polls rally.

Anoa Changa is a leader, change agent, and activist, who has shown herself time and again to be an independent thinker.

Anoa has been a critical and valued team member and a leading voice at Progressive Army, and volunteers countless hours to the cause of lifting marginalized communities. She does all of this while maintaining a full-time job and being a full-time parent. Anoa was raised in the movement and is not new to how the system works to silence Black voices. Her clearest and earliest memory of being an active part of a protest is at the age of 11.

What NPR affiliate WABE published, smearing Anoa’s character and reputation, portraying her as some hapless dupe to a Russian outlet while disguising their interest as being nothing more than a spotlight on a local activist, is unconscionable. Their piece reads as layers of unsupported assertions and vague or scary implications. It rings hollow because its attacks are hollow.

The mental contortions required to create such a vacuous hit piece while simultaneously ignoring all of the amazing and significant work that Anoa does is impressive in a Machiavellian and McCarthian sense. It was far more difficult for the author, Johnny Kauffman, and his editors to craft this attack than it would have been for them to publish the hours of positive content they got from Changa under the guise of a genuine interest in her work.

We at Progressive Army have to ask the most important question of them all: Why? Why was it so important for WABE to run Kauffman’s piece when it doesn’t even meet the journalistic standards of less reputable organizations? What is so important about this storyline that WABE and NPR were willing to place their reputation on the line?

Perhaps the more accurate question is, “Who?” Who is so important that these organizations would put their reputation on the line to smear a local activist who has given so much to her community and the movements for which she fights??

It is infuriating and beyond insulting. It is also a purposeful threat to our democracy through WABE’s attempt to silence the voices of Black women.

We have been inspired by the pushback against the article, the number of people defending Anoa, and calling out WABE. We know Anoa is humbled. Unfortunately, the vast majority of radio listeners and those who read the piece will not see all of the social media comments. Instead, they’ll come away with a tainted and false picture of a wonderful, talented, and dedicated woman. We refuse to allow this to define Anoa’s work and efforts.

As we watch history repeat itself we can’t skip over McCarthyism. It has become commonplace for the Right and neo-liberals to attempt to erase the voices of those most marginalized, particularly those who are Black and progressive. That is the real threat this piece of sensationalistic, tabloid-esque article and interview are at odds with.

Anoa has worked tirelessly to amplify all voices and to foster dialogue that mainstream media refuses to do and her work strengthens the citizens who have for too long been ignored. That is what drives her and why we are proud to stand with her.

The Editorial Board of the Progressive Army consists of Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Dixon, Managing Editors David Grossman and Salam Morcos, Director of Political Advocacy Anoa Changa, Editors Jami Miller and Raven Payne, and Senior Writers Michael Redwine and Pamela Getz.

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Editorial | We Stand with Anoa: Lies by Omission Damage Progressive Voices