My name is Joanna Hernandez, and I want to welcome you to UNITY 2012, the most diverse gathering of journalists in the world.
And I have a surprise for all of you. One of UNITY’s founders, Will Sutton, has flown here last-minute to celebrate with us, and we’d like to recognize him at this time.
We have a special award of affection and appreciation for him and fellow UNITY co-founder Juan Gonzalez for the bold and daring vision they had as competing City Hall reporters in Philadelphia to create this alliance of minority journalists and other underrepresented groups.
UNITY journalists, please join me in welcoming Will Sutton to the stage.
Will, we will forever be grateful for the organization you and Juan created. Tonight, I present you with a plaque, which reads: With affection and appreciation; for your lifelong devotion, passion and perseverance; to championing newsroom diversity and leadership; and for your bold and daring vision in co-founding UNITY: Journalists of Color.
Everyone in this room thanks you for your vision in creating UNITY. You will always be remembered as leaders in the fight for diversity and inclusion. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
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UNITY Journalists mourns the death of George Ramos, a legendary Latino journalist who was found dead of natural causes on July 23.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Born in East Los Angeles, Mr. Ramos was part of the pioneering generation of journalists of color who in the early 1970s broke the unspoken “apartheid” that existed in the media. A graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1969, George served two years in the army, was wounded in Vietnam and awarded a Purple Heart. His journalistic career started in the early 70s and took him from Copley News Service to the San Diego Union to the Los Angeles Times, which he joined in 1978.
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Three months into this presidency, and what a time it’s been!
Some might say the timing is horrible. But I say, it’s about time.
This time reminds me a lot of when I was growing up in the Amsterdam Projects in New York City. People pushed. People shoved. People got into everyone’s business and into each other’s faces. I know what it’s like to pull your own weight. And I know that situations sometimes get ugly before the smoke clears.
As an alliance partner, NABJ has concerns. It’s always the right time to bring concerns to the surface. This is the only way the UNITY board can begin to address them head on and iron out differences in a true collaboration with all UNITY partners sitting as equals at the table.
It’s time to figure out how to figure out UNITY. Because if people believe in the core values of UNITY, then there is a place for an alliance like UNITY.
UNITY wants to explore the concerns raised by NABJ. We’ve committed to a new strategic plan that will address them, including governance and financing. And much of the agenda for this month’s UNITY board meeting focuses on NABJ’s concerns.
I look forward to working with NABJ to iron out differences and continue our work together as equal partners in the spirit of UNITY. It is our desire that NABJ be a part of shaping UNITY’s future.
The industry needs us. And it’s time to put our focus back on diversity.
Please feel free to contact us with your thoughts. Or leave your comments below.
McLean, Va. — UNITY Journalists of Color, Inc., has established a new revenue-sharing plan for the 2012 convention and is committed to working on a new strategic plan to make our alliance stronger while also ensuring the sustainability of the organization’s important mission.
The new revenue-sharing plan creates the potential for more revenue for each alliance partner: the Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Native American Journalists Association. It also provides revenue to fund UNITY at a sustainable, disciplined level.
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