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Fifteen years and counting
The death of George Bizos in South Africa, a friend and partner of Nelson Mandela in his long fight for justice, highlights both a remarkable and historic partnership, and a remarkable man, who saw injustice, and dedicated his entire life to battling it. There is injustice throughout the world, there is injustice in human nature, and the courageous individuals who fight it inspire us all.
This is the fifteenth year anniversary of our magazine and we have come a long way, thanks to the grit and determination and sheer perseverance of our publishing chief, Dimitri Rhompotis. He has been a fixture in the Greek American scene for a very long time, a leading figure in its journalism, and it was his sheer effort that made NEO become a reality and become a mainstay of Greek America and Greek American journalism.
Our mission statement was to create a magazine that would bridge the gap between the generations: the generation of our mothers and fathers and papoudes and yiayiades to our generation and our kids’ and grandkids’—so that we could appreciate the contribution of each and grow from there. We’ve tried to fulfill this mission, and it hasn’t been easy: Greek America is a wonderful pageant of colorful individuals and causes, of hugely successful people, and of people with little material means, who are remarkable and successful in their own way. It is an inexhaustible landscape of wonderful men and women that we barely touched on in our profiles and interviews through the years.
What hasn’t been easy is convincing people that we have a wonderful Greek American world out there and stories to be told and we should support the effort to get these stories told. I once asked a leading Greek American publisher (who published dozens of American trade magazines) to support our effort and he looked at me like I was crazy. You’ll need millions, he said. And who’s going to read this?
We have put out NEO Magazine reliably every year through these fifteen years with considerably less than millions and through the efforts every month of Dimitri Rhompotis, like a surfer trying to stay on the surfboard while the waves crash around him, and now the magazine we are proud to say has become a mainstay of this same Greek American landscape.
But there is so much more to be done. Greeks have created a rich legacy in America: it should be featured, it should be honored, we should know what we are all doing, not just in our backyard, but across the country, and recognize our kindship. And we should highlight the people that make it so interesting and dynamic. That was our mission fifteen years ago and that remains our mission now. Join us on this mission, help us in these perilous times, and help us recognize and speak to each other across the generations, and record our history, before it vanishes forever with the passing of the generations.
And please go out and vote for your candidate. We brought democracy into the world and we should exercise it.
Dimitri C. Michalakis