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TRAILBLAZERS: Cary Clack, columnist.

Cary Clack was born in San Antonio, Texas, on August 19, 1960. He has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, from which he graduated in 1985.

In the summer of 1984 he was a scholar/intern at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, where he wrote CNN commentaries for Coretta Scott King. From 1989-1995, he returned to the center to lead workshops in nonviolence.

In San Antonio, he worked as a substitute teacher and community organizer and wrote some columns for a couple of black newspapers. He was given a column in the San Antonio Express-News in June 1994, and hired full-time as a reporter and weekly columnist in June 1995. In August 1996 he became a feature writer, was a participant in NCEW's 1997 Minority Writers Seminar, and in April 1998 became the first African American on the Express-News editorial board.

A member of NCEW, Clack won the Dallas Press Club's Katie Award for best columnist. His column now appears twice a week.

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All of us have voices that are unique, a literary DNA that's imprinted on all that we write.

All of us have opinions, not always unique, that say something about who we are as a people. Few of us don't relish the opportunity to tell people what we think.

Not a day passes that I'm not grateful to be able to make a living doing the thing I love most: writing. The whipped cream and cherry to this delight is that I'm paid to state what I think. Each column and editorial is a chance for me to see what I can do with my voice and how can I best use it to make my points.

It's pretentious to think that people actually care what you think and are going to spend a couple of quarters to read you. But the pretension is muted by the knowledge that being an advocate in print is as old as writing itself.

I'm not burdened with the notion that what I write is going to have any major impact on the issues, events, and people I write about. But if I didn't have at least a glimmer of hope that what I write could make a difference, however small, there wouldn't be a need for me to comment on these things, now would there?

If I can simply get people to think about a topic a certain way or to bring to their attention something they weren't aware of before, that will suffice. The worst thing that can happen is for someone to read something I wrote and not feel anything - not informed, angry, concerned, sad, or happy. Apathy is the worst reaction to a writer's work.

Cary Clack
COPYRIGHT 1999 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:The Masthead
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 1999
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