Anyone wondering if UNITY still matters need only look around. Journalists are misunderstood, under-appreciated and in some, cases, outright abused. Nothing is more vulnerable than the media’s mission to represent, understand and celebrate diversity. While many organizations continue to do outstanding work fighting the good fight, there remain matters that require all of us to bond in solidarity and spirit. We must never underestimated the power of having each other’s backs.
UNITY has done its best to live up its name in recent years. Under the leadership of Russell Contreras, the organization has launched new innovative ways to keep the conversation going with industry leaders, the next generation and pockets of the country too often overlooked.
As the group’s new president, I look forward to building on that template. Our 4th annual Diversity Caucus will be held in Washington DC in April. The University of West Virginia will be home to one of our regional summits in 2017 with more to come. Our student project, which allows a college student to experience life and learning at several conventions throughout the summer, will continue. And we are deep into laying the groundwork for an unprecedented “journal-palooza” in 2018 that we will take an unprecedented approach to summer journalism conferences.
The excitement and willingness to work is there; the money is another matter. Like many non-profit groups, UNITY is facing a financial crunch. . We will be looking at new ways to raise money, but it starts with personal donations from our fellow journalists.
If you believe in UNITY’s mission, to be advocates in fair and accurate coverage about diversity, and aggressively challenge staffs to reflect the world around them, I urge you to set aside a few dollars towards our efforts. No one will work harder to make sure your investment is well placed.
Despite the challenges ahead, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of such a talented, committed board who give so much of their personal time to lead these efforts. I look forward to working with all of them in the years ahead. My deepest thanks to Russell for setting the stage and to treasurer Sarah Blazucki, secretary Rhonda LeValdo, and executive director Eloiza Altoro, for already proving to be great partners.
We stand united. I know you do, too.
Neal Justin, UNITY Board President
Note: If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNITY, please find additional information at: http://unityjournalists.org/about-unity/support-unity/
UNITY Journalists for Diversity is a strategic alliance that:
- Advocates fair and accurate coverage about diversity — especially race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation.
- 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.