Friday, April 19, 2024

Lucretia Cunningham: Hello, journalism

Although I’ve only worked at Local Voice for a little more than seven months, I’ve written hundreds of stories starting on the Southside and now in Williamsburg.

Looking back, the stories I found most difficult to tell were those of the people who through me sought to have a voice.

Here are some stories in which I worked tirelessly to ensure their voices came through but they’re those that left a mark on me in my introduction to journalism.

1. Post 9/11 veterans are suffering

Recently separated from active duty Air Force, this story was about my fellow veterans. I talked to Dr. Iman Williams Christians, clinic director at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center in Virginia Beach, who gave me some insight into why both combat and non-combat post 9/11 are in need of more emotional support. READ MORE. 

The post 9/11 generation of veterans have more difficulty readjusting to civilian life

2. He’s still missing

Theodoric Hunter Sr. didn’t show up for work on Aug. 25 and hasn’t been seen since.

“I don’t see him leaving without letting me know and he wouldn’t just up and leave his job without having a backup job or other income…he would’ve told me,” Theodoric Hunter Jr. said.

When I talked with Hunter Jr. in November, I found it hard not to empathize with him because of the similar relationship I have with my mother. Although she lives in Chicago, my mother, wouldn’t miss more than a day without making contact with me nor as a mail carrier would she miss a day of work — unless something was wrong. READ MORE. 

This Hampton man has been missing since August. Now his son is hoping the public can help

3. Starting over as a military family

I know what moving a family is like in the military and also how much people underestimate the impact it can have on different aspects of each person’s life. For Military Families Month, I spoke with two Air Force spouses who said “yes, the resources are there” but also there isn’t an easy way to start life over again, and again. READ MORE. 

It’s Military Families Month. Here are just some of the obstacles they face to keep their families together

4. Elusive…for some

Covering the mass shooting at Virginia Beach’s municipal center just 11 days after I was hired to report on the Southside will stay with me throughout my journalism career. It taught me what it meant to be on a breaking and national story from a local level but also about the responsibility to focus on the perspectives of the people who sometimes get overshadowed by the headlines.

Jason Nixon has been the unofficial voice for the victims’ families calling for an independent investigation since the beginning of the aftermath. But when the Virginia Beach Police and Chicago-based security firm, Hillard Heintze, presented the results of their investigation, Nixon didn’t buy it. To Nixon, the motive isn’t “elusive” at all. His wife Kate knew the shooter had it out for her and she was afraid. READ MORE. 

Gunman’s motive for killing 12 people in the May 31 Virginia Beach Municipal Center massacre remains elusive

5. They’re still parents

As a mother of three myself, my heart hurt when I talked to Linda Asbury and Julie Smith, both mothers and inmates at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, about the pain they’ve caused their children but was helpless in healing.

They reiterated the bottom line though: No matter where we are or where we end up, I am their mother.

Parenting isn’t easy, and it’s even harder from behind bars. This local jail is making staying connected easier

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