Cover art by Marlowe Dobbe // Dog by damedeeso / Getty Images

I’ll admit it: I often use this forum to complain about all the mean things you say to me. But today I’m breaking tradition to sing the praises of—not you, that’s for damn sure—the womxn of the Mercury!

Don’t get me wrong, men’s rights activists—the Mercury dudes are pretty cool, too. They talk a little too much about Star Wars for my taste, but otherwise, they’re very enjoyable. But our annual Womxn’s Issue makes it the perfect time to choreograph an amazing cheerleading routine (metaphorically speaking) to honor those who make the Mercury such a kick-ass place to work.

FUN FACT! Sixty-four percent of Mercury office employees are womxn. ANOTHER FUN FACT! Seventy percent of our columnists are womxn. AN ADDITIONAL FUN FACT! One hundred percent of Mercury womxn are freaking awwwwwesome! Let’s meet them now:

Our all-womxn news team, Alex Zielinski and Blair Stenvick, are wildly smart, fantastic reporters, and in journalism for all the right reasons (making Portland a better place). Say “OH HELL YEAH” for Alex and Blair!

Yes, Ciara Dolan runs the best goddamn music section in town (thank you for noticing), but as a Mercury senior editor, she also helps guide our editorial direction while providing a moral compass (which, as you all know, I sorely need). Give an elbow-to-stomach fist pump and a “YESSSSS” for Ciara!

Look, I’ll be honest: If you’re not reading Copy Chief Jenni Moore’s Sneaker Wave column about Portland hip-hop, then your life choices are terrible. Same goes for Arts Editor Suzette Smith’s arts and film reviews, which are a great reason for getting up in the morning. Fan kicks and jazz hands for Jenni and Suzette!

Ever notice how the Mercury’s covers/design looks like it was put together by a goddamn genius? Well that goddamn genius is Art Director Kathleen Marie, whose intelligence, sensitivity, and endlessly creativity makes the Mercury easy on the eyes and the brain. (You: “Pssst! Hey dummy! Don’t forget your amazing staff photographer Meg Nanna!” Me: “Jeez, I wasn’t, okay?! Get off my back!”) Let the balloons fly and confetti fall for Kathleen and Meg!

OH! And trust me when I say this newspaper would go down like the Hindenburg doused in lighter fluid if it weren’t for the Best Sales Team in the City™—Katie Peifer, Anna Nelson, CD Skehan, and Mel Heywood—along with top-notch business management from Katie Lake and Tonya Ray, and our social media director Bri Brey, who keeps me sane by hiding all the mean things you say about me on Facebook.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Top props go to fan-freaking-tastic Merc columnists like Andrea Damewood, Emilly Prado, Marissa Sullivan, Jenny Vu, Elinor Jones, and Courtenay Hameister, as well as whip-smart freelancers like Anna Kaplan, Isabel Lyndon... (music fades up) oh no, they’re playing me off! Umm, Sophie Ouellette-Howitz, Erin Jean O’Regan, and... and... all the amazing womxn past and present that I’m forgetting because I’m a thoughtless idiot!

LAST FUN FACT! The Mercury wouldn’t be nearly as smart, funny, thoughtful, or successful without the womxn who sincerely bless my life and this paper every single day. So, to all these wonderful people: Trumpets! High-Fives! Fireworks! A-plus report cards! Airhorn salutes! Muscle emojis! And an endless ocean of gratitude.

Yer pal,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Portland Mercury