Reflections on 40 Years of Fighting for Racial and Social Justice in Journalism

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Good evening, everyone. My thanks to the J School’s dean, Jelani Cobb, and to Mae Ngai, the co-director of the Center for Ethnicity and Race, for sponsoring this event. My deepest gratitude to professors Nina Alvarez and Claudio Lomnitz and to moderator Ed Morales, a true dream team of journalists and scholars, for agreeing to give their time this afternoon to engage in conversation with me.

Many of you may have heard by now that in a few weeks I will be leaving the New York area, the city that I’ve called home for most of my life, where I grew up, where I was shaped professionally and politically, and will instead be relocating to Chicago, the hometown of my marvelous wife, Lilia Fernández, who’s here, where all her family still resides and where she is now professor of history at University of Illinois. At my age — and I just turned 75 this month — that’s called a major change. And the deeper you get into your golden years, the more aches and pains and illnesses gnaw at you, the greater the tendency to look back and ask, “What did I do with my life all these years?”

So it occurred to me that the best way to say goodbye to this city where I’ve had so many terrific memories, so many friends and colleagues, was with some farewell talks that I would turn up — I would attempt to sum up some of the key lessons I’ve gleaned, through much trial and error, through successes and setbacks, perhaps to reveal, as well, some incidents from the past that I’ve never had the opportunity to disclose but which could provide insight to a younger generation, who are still determined to practice good journalism and still devoted to making a better world possible.

As some of you know, mine has not been your typical journalism career. I’ve been grappling now for more than 50 years — initially as an activist, then for decades as a journalist

— source | Dec 06, 2022

Nullius in verba


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