Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Boricua Juan Gonzalez to be Inducted into Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame

New York Daily News columnist and former Young Lord Juan Gonzalez will be inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Hall of Fame during this summer’s UNITY ‘08 convention in Chicago. UNITY is the nation’s largest gathering of journalists of color.

Throughout the years, Puerto Ricans have played an important role in the story of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and Gonzalez is one of those instrumental people.

Gonzalez, co-host of Democracy Now!, is a former NAHJ president, co-founder of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. and an advocate against media consolidation, which NAHJ believes hurts minority media ownership and the quality of journalism.

"There were definitely some Puerto Ricans involved in the founding of NAHJ, Juan Gonzalez being the most active, involved and prominent at the time," Ivan Roman, NAHJ executive director, told Puerto Rico Sun. "There were others too. But there were Mexicans and Cubans in the mix as well and Mexicans were the largest group. The impetus for creating NAHJ came from some of the folks who had already created the California Chicano News Media Association some 20 years earlier than NAHJ's founding."

Established in April 1984, NAHJ is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry.

This year the NAHJ is also inducting University of Texas at Austin Professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Ph.D. and the late Francisco P. Ramirez, editor of El Clamor Público, Los Angeles’ first Spanish-language newspaper, into its Hall of Fame. This year’s NAHJ Hall of Fame Gala will be on Friday, July 25th in the Chicago Ballroom of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers during the UNITY convention.

Rivas-Rodriguez, also an NAHJ founder, created student training programs 20 years ago emulated by other journalism associations. She strongly advocates for improved coverage and inclusion of Latinos in media. She is founder and director of the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project. Rivas-Rodriguez gained national prominence after leading protests in 2007 against the PBS documentary about World War II. The film, which originally had excluded the stories of Hispanic veterans, was eventually modified.

Ramírez founded El Clamor Público in the mid 19th century when he was 17 years old, shortly after California became part of the United States , giving a voice to long-established Mexicans faced with a new reality of becoming strangers in their own land. His newspaper, whose title in English means The Public Outcry, was a forceful advocate for equal rights for people of all races at a turbulent time.

Created in 2000, NAHJ’s Hall of Fame is reserved for journalists and industry pioneers whose national or local efforts have resulted in a greater number of Latinos entering the journalism profession or have helped to improve news coverage of the nation’s Latino community.

With the induction of González, Ramírez and Rivas-Rodriguez, there are now 22 NAHJ Hall of Famers.

For more information about the NAHJ, visit Clarisel Gonzalez
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