I am not a stranger to being the only Black person in a class or work environment. I was used to being around people who could not connect to my experiences.
I am not the type of person who generally makes public statements about the things I think and feel, but I do listen. I listened as other BIPOC journalism students explained their reasons to distrust writing for The Daily Tar Heel, and when other groups also expressed disillusion with how the DTH has handled covering minority communities.
In the past few months, it has become clear to me that I am not the only person who was listening. I felt optimistic at the conversations that have been occurring in the newsroom about these issues, and feel that this time, there is a real opportunity to lay a foundation to create a diverse staff and address the distrust that the DTH has earned. With this in mind, I accepted the position as a co-diversity, equity and inclusion officer with Ramishah Maruf.
We plan to work closely with organizations around campus to develop open lines of communication, so we can receive feedback that will improve our coverage. Elevate is an important part of how we will accomplish this. It’s a space for groups to address issues in their community and pitch stories and op-eds to us that are important to them.
Additionally, we will be working with our staff to ensure editors and staff are better prepared to avoid implicit bias in our coverage and newsroom. It has taken much too long, but I believe that by laying this foundation, we make things better for those who come behind us.