TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Oklahoma, El Paso, Chicago, Atlanta and Arizona are among the sites UNITY: Journalists for Diversity is exploring for 2016 regional media summits, the alliance announced Monday.

UNITYBoardAlaMeeting at its annual fall meeting, the UNITY board of directors directed executive director Eloiza Altoro and president Russell Contreras to gauge which locations could host regional events following a series of successful regional summits in 2015.

More than 330 people attended UNITY’s inaugural series of regional media summits this year in Alabama, Detroit and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The summits tackled issues related to poverty, race, LGBT and images of Arab Americans in media. The regional gatherings were part of UNITY’s strategic plan to hold events in often-ignored areas of the country battling income inequality.

Contreras said UNITY now must determine which locations can fit into the alliance’s budget next year, and solidify local partners to make the events successful. “We want to continue the momentum after a great year with our new mission and our new direction,” Contreras said. “We want to build on our successes and we will.”

In addition to the decision on media regional summits, the board voted unanimously to approve the executive director contract for Eloiza Altoro. The contract formally drops the interim title and gives Altoro more flexibility on raising money for UNITY.

The board met in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Oct. 17, after hosting a media regional summit at the University of Alabama. Around 140 attendees came to campus for discussions about race, journalism and media access.

Board members from the Asian American Journalist Association, the Native American Journalist Association and NLGJA stayed at a hotel across the street from where the late Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the Foster Auditorium to block two black students from enrolling at the school.

President John F. Kennedy later federalized the Alabama National Guard and addressed the nation to press Congress to pass a Civil Rights bill and end racial segregation. “We are confronted primarily with a moral issue,” Kennedy said at the time. “It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.”


UNITY Journalists for Diversity is a strategic alliance that:

  1. Advocates fair and accurate coverage about diversity — especially race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  2. Aggressively challenges that industry to staff its organizations at all levels to reflect the country’s diversity.

The UNITY board is made up of representatives from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, and NLGJA: The Association of LGBT Journalists.

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