It wasn’t until I transferred to UNC that I truly understood The Daily Tar Heel’s fragmented relationship with marginalized communities.
I come from a large community college in Miami where being Latinx is the norm. Upon transferring to a predominantly white institution, I began hearing the same stories from other transfer students with similar experiences.
If you want to pitch stories for Elevate or submit a column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re going to be one of few Latinos in your classes and organizations.
Good luck finding Central American food in Chapel Hill.
Get ready to correct people who don't how to pronounce your name.
I had grown used to the concept of inclusion at my former school, a melting pot that serves marginalized communities in Miami. It’s not perfect, but diversity and equity were understood.
When I began working for The Daily Tar Heel in August, I realized the work needed to make our newsroom more inclusive must be practiced, perfected and enforced.
I hope to take those experiences with me as incoming co-diversity, equity and inclusion officer of the DTH. I’m taking over for Ramishah Maruf, who will be interning with CNN, and work alongside my co-DEI officer, Brittany McGee, this spring term.
I entered into this position hoping to mend some of the hurt our paper has placed on marginalized communities. But that alone isn’t an easy feat.
There’s a reason some journalism students of color refuse to write for the DTH or community groups have rejected interview requests from us. Many people of color don’t feel supported by a newspaper that is supposed to reflect and tell stories of our communities.
Out of more than 200 DTH staffers who filled out a diversity audit survey last semester, I’m one of merely 20 Latinx students. Across the newsroom, there are only 13 Black staffers, according to the audit. Those numbers are outrageous and, quite frankly, embarrassing for the DTH.
This spring term, we plan on shifting our Elevate section to publish twice a month, instead of a monthly section.
For staffers, we continue to promote the Sharif Durham Leadership Program, a talent and leadership development course for DTH staffers from marginalized communities, in its second year of existence.
Throughout the spring term, we also plan to hold several workshops aimed at reflecting on the DTH’s mistakes with marginalized voices, and ways to avoid those mistakes in the future.
The work to ensure our newsroom looks like the communities we serve cannot be accomplished in a single semester. It can’t be done solely based on hiring two DEI officers.
Making the DTH an inclusive space for staffers and readers is a newsroom-wide effort that I hope to work on alongside Brittany this term and plant seeds for growth in the future.
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