Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks, but then moving to Los Angeles, California after college, has given me a different perspective on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The AIDS crisis in the 1980s propelled me into becoming what people term an “Activist.” That ultimately led to becoming a publisher of two newspapers for the Los Angeles’ gay and lesbian community, first The News and its successor News Vanguard. There was plenty to write about, demonstrations to photograph, injustices to document; triumphs to cheer.

But the long hours and the loss of so many, eventually took its toll. With the encouragement of my family, we moved back to my growing-up home in rural Missouri. In the 25 years away, the small town of 1,100 was still small, about 3,000 people.

Living in a relatively conservative, predominately white, non-gay, Bible Belt community was a big change. And while times change, much stays the same. Some good, some not so good. And it reaffirms my belief that we are more alike than different

So here are my observations, opinions and questions to advance the freedoms of this country to all its people, not just a few.

A firm believer in truth, ethical journalism and fairness, I strive for fact accuracy hoping to encourage people to think, feel and act.

Sandy Dwyer

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