The Evanston RoundTable is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in everything that we do.
We became a non-profit organization in 2020, following a 20-year history as a private company owned by Mary and Larry Gavin, our founders. The initial work of transitioning to non-profit status was done by a small “launch board” composed mainly of Evanstonians with a long history of association with the RoundTable. We are now embarking on efforts to expand the board of directors to better reflect our community’s diversity.
The RoundTable also is taking steps to diversify its staff and business operations.
The RoundTable board of directors welcomed new members in September, 2021 that diversified our membership. Currently, one-quarter of our board seats are held by people of color. The RoundTable also has a broad, diverse Advisory Committee that helps guide our development and growth. This committee is large – it currently has more than 40 members – and 23 percent of the committee’s members are people of color. Importantly, the committee members bring a wide array of expertise that is critical to our growth, including finance, law, communications, journalism, community organizations, philanthropy, business and education.
We plan to continue efforts to diversify our board of directors and our Advisory Committee in 2022.
In September, 2021 the RoundTable welcomed its first recipient of the Medill School of Journalism Fellowship in Reporting on Social Justice and Race. This is a one-year, full time position for a young journalist focused on coverage of these critical issues in Evanston, and it will be awarded annually to a recent graduate of Northwestern University’s journalism school.
The inaugural fellow, Debbie-Marie Brown, graduated from Medill’s Master of Science In Magazine Journalism program in the summer of 2021; she completed her B.S. in Journalism in June, 2020, with a minor in African-American Studies.
At Northwestern, Ms. Brown served as editor-in-chief and creative director of BlackBoard Magazine, which covers topics of interest to the African-American community on campus. She was the recipient of the journalism school’s Gertrude and G.D. Crain Award, which honors students in the Medill Magazine Publishing Project who exhibit outstanding management potential. She was an intern at In These Times and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and has contributed articles to the Chicago Reader, In These Times and Psych Central with Healthline.
The RoundTable also received a grant from the Chicago Headline Club to fund reporting and writing by a Black journalist. That position will be filled in the fall.
We have dedicated resources to an in-depth study of environmental injustice in our City’s Ninth Ward.
We have added a number of reporters of color to our freelance staff.
We have hired a LatinX reporter to begin covering City and school news in Spanish, and to launch an outreach initiative to the LatinX community through social media.
We have extensively covered small, Black-owned businesses, in particular the economic challenge of remaining open during the pandemic.