If the past few days felt like some kind of NPR fund drive, or library bake sale or the girl scouts trying to pimp out their cookies, well, you may be right.  This is the final day for voting for the $20,000.00 UNITY Media Startup Grant.  A big part of ILLUME's future lies in the outcome of the voting.  We need this start-up money to keep the site up and running. 

Over the past few years, ILLUME has been at the cutting edge of news reporting, bringing audiences from around the world award-winning news and analysis of America's Muslim communities. ILLUME has been nationally recognized for its in-depth coverage of racial profiling and surveillance, to the dramatics of the many arts and cultural stories that make-up the American Muslim life, which too often don't garner mainstream headlines.

It is in this tradition that ILLUME continues to strive to tell the stories of one of America's most diverse minority groups. Our slogan has been: There are at least two sides to every story - Let us tell yours. But doing so costs money, money which ILLUME needs to in order to continue to enrich, expand and excel.

The UNITY start-up media competition grant is a chance at $20,000.00.

And that's where YOU come in. By voting for ILLUME, you are making a commitment to and an investment in your community. AND IT COSTS YOU NOTHING.

At a time when America is at a cross roads – balancing civil liberties verses threats to national security – the Muslim community is at the forefront of the battleground on debates over privacy, profiling and democratic values. Too often the mainstream media has been silent on the real issues as they impact your community.

ILLUME has been, at times, the only voice encouraging open debate and promoting differing viewpoints – from the soccer moms to the rock stars, to the politicians and the pundits, and everyone in between. We have said before and we will say it again: "There are at least two sides to every story - Let us tell yours."

But we can only to continue to do so... if you vote!

Don't just be part of history – be part of the story. VOTE.  (*Please do not delay! We need 3,000 votes for a chance to win! Voting ends Friday, November 29, 2013*)

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