Kara Briggs: Making history at UNITY convention
"The fourth UNITY: Journalists of Color convention convenes July 23 in Chicago's McCormack Convention Center.

UNITY is probably the largest and certainly the most interesting convention of journalists in the world. Interest in the convention, which occurs every four years, has steadily grown at each event, starting in 1994 in Atlanta with 4,000 journalists, and continuing through to Washington, D.C., in 2004 with 8,000.

Unity President Karen Lincoln Michel, a Ho-Chunk journalist who is the Madison, Wis., bureau chief for the Green Bay Press Gazette, said in early July that UNITY '08 already had more than 8,000 people registered.

But if size were all there was to UNITY, than I wouldn't be writing about it today, nor would I have served as its president for a short, yet challenging, six months in 1998.

It is the belief in this union that I felt when I first heard about it at a 1988 job fair for so-called minority journalists, six years before the first convention. It was before I'd even heard of the Native American Journalists Association. It is that belief that makes me want to talk about this union, its successes and my ongoing concerns. I am writing it here because as wonderful as I expect UNITY '08 to be for me, there won't be a forum such as a business meeting where I, as a true believer, can speak my piece.

In a world where journalism continues to be censored and journalists' lives are threatened for a practice as simple as my writing this column, UNITY is an extraordinary occurrence. When you consider that UNITY at its roots is a coalition of the Asian-American, black, Hispanic and Native journalists associations then you will understand, whether you are a journalist or not, that this is an unmistakably historic undertaking."

Get the Story:
Kara Briggs: UNITY: Journalists of Color makes history (Indian Country Today 7/18)

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