Monday, March 28 marks exactly six years since Mississippi Today began. That’s six years of putting our readers first and bringing the real lives of Mississippians to the forefront of the headlines. Built on the foundation of providing Mississippi with a trustworthy news source free of paywalls and subscriptions, we have since grown in a myriad of ways.

Since we began, we have covered various beats and take pride in creating engaging events (when public health allows) that give us the opportunity to come together with the communities around the state.

Over the next six days, we plan to take our readers on a journey through the past six years by looking back at some of our top stories from each year. Let’s first take a look back at the year it all started: 2016.

One of our top stories from that year centered around our coverage of the controversial House Bill 1523, commonly referred to as the “religious freedom law.” Reporter Larrison Campbell followed the tumultuous and confusing lawsuit as it unfolded over many months. In short, “House Bill 1523 singles out three ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs as worthy of protection: that marriage is between one man and one woman; that people should not have sex outside such marriages; and that a person’s gender is set at birth. The law protects from litigation anyone who speaks out against gay marriage or transgender individuals because of these beliefs.”

Part of our reporting revolves around breaking down complicated issues and providing continuous coverage so all Mississippians stay up-to-date on the pressing issues facing our state. As you can see, we began our journey by providing our readers with mission-driven journalism — all for free. That’s where you come in. This type of journalism is only possible with help from readers like you.

Being a nonprofit is central to who we are as a newsroom. It means we are driven by values, not by dividends, and it means that we rely on donations from readers to power the work we do: paying for records requests, keeping the lights on, providing our team with healthcare and much more.

To our current members: thank you, truly, for your generous support. Our work is not possible without you.

To our readers who are not yet members: thank you for your readership and engagement. I hope you’ll consider joining our community of members by making a donation. Our journalists may be the ones writing the stories, but without you, those stories go untold.

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Mary Margaret is the CEO of Mississippi Today. She works closely with the Mississippi Today leadership team to ensure collaboration and mission alignment throughout our nonprofit newsroom. Mary Margaret builds relationships with foundations, grant makers and impact donors to ensure reporters have the financial support they need to do their work.