Friday was a terrible day for the Long Beach Post and the community it serves.

Four months ago, the Post separated from our for-profit ownership, quickly became a nonprofit and retained nearly all of our previous staff based on the promise of several large donations, some of which did not materialize.

As we searched for a way forward, our team members continued to pour their hearts into their jobs, producing remarkable journalism in the face of agonizing uncertainty.

At the end of February, I informed the staff that our operational cash was so low that we would soon have to make significant cuts to personnel, which make up 90% of our budget — mostly in our newsroom.

Our board of directors and I searched for ways to avoid layoffs. We all knew losing journalists would undeniably set back the core public service the Post provides to Long Beach: holding power to account for the sake of an informed citizenry and thriving democracy.

Despite those efforts, I and the board reached the conclusion that immediate layoffs were the only feasible option to keep the Post solvent.

As of Friday, our full-time staff is now roughly 50% smaller, consisting of six exceptionally talented journalists and two tenacious business-side employees.

I’m aware of both social media posts and an online petition alleging staff layoffs were carried out in retaliation against news staff who sought to unionize. This is false. In reality, staff were made aware that layoffs were inevitable before they moved to unionize. I support organized labor, as does every member of the board — and we have no plans to block remaining or future staff from participating in a union.

These reductions were an enormous blow to our nonprofit organization and the many people who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to its mission, but it was better than letting the community asset the Post has become disappear altogether.

Our mission is more urgent than ever. Powerful corporations, political special interests and enormous government bureaucracies continue to pour resources into communications designed to sway your opinion or serve their bottom line. We’re in a fight to preserve unbiased, independent journalism designed only to inform our readers.

We cannot win that fight without your support. If you believe in our mission and think you can help as we rebuild the Post, please get in touch: [email protected]. You can also donate here.

Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.