I have supported UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., since it held its first convention in Atlanta in 1994. I have recruited at all of its conventions and have attended a few of its meetings. I have dropped in on its office at Rosslyn, Va., and, now, in the Gannett building in McLean, Va. I am making plans for UNITY 2008 in Chicago July 23-27. It will likely be the largest conference of professional journalists in U.S. history. UNITY is composed of four member organizations: the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.
Previous UNITY conventions:
2004: Washington D.C.
In April, 2006, UNITY President Mae Cheng asked whether I could help them get things going on their Friday e-mail blasts by writing some tips about diversity. Instead, I offered to write some vignettes of people whose perspective influenced the way they did journalism, giving us a wider picture of the world. I wrote an introduction and an invitation, asking others to contribute to UNITY. A couple of great guys did, Joseph Boyce and Reginald Stuart, but I wound up writing 49 of them in the first year.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of subjects. I am amazed by the courage and tenacity I find in the people I encounter almost every week. They attest to the fact that there is a story in every journalist.
UNITY is working to incorporate some of these vignettes into a day planner. You can find the stories of these individuals as "Industry Resources" on the UNITY site's home page or in the Diversity Resources section. Follow the links to the archives.