Civic leaders: “The Chicago region needs the Reporter now more than ever”



Rev. Dr. Waltrina N. Middleton, Executive Director,
and Board of Directors, Community Renewal Society

Dear Dr. Middleton:

As leaders of civic, religious, advocacy, and community organizations in the greater Chicago area, we value The Chicago Reporter’s investigative journalism on issues of race and poverty – issues so often overlooked by the mainstream media.

The Community Renewal Society has provided a home to the Reporter for nearly 50 years. In 1972, when the Reporter published its first issue, nonprofit news organizations were unheard of. The Reporter flourished because CRS respected it as an independent and professional journalistic institution.

Therefore, we are deeply concerned that CRS recently put the Reporter on hiatus and terminated the Editor & Publisher – without consulting key stakeholders – and now plans to “restructure” the Reporter.

The Chicago region needs the Reporter now more than ever. Across the country, youth movements are shining a bright new light on systemic racism. While some public officials and business leaders have responded by adopting new rhetoric, far fewer are changing the policies and practices of the institutions they lead. The loss of the Reporter as a professional, independent news organization would leave the metropolitan area without crucial reporting and data that we rely upon in our efforts for equity and justice.

In addition, any damage to the Reporter’s independence and professionalism risks the loss of a vital training ground for young journalists – particularly journalists of color – who go on to work for, and lead, news organizations across the country.

We urge you to protect The Chicago Reporter, restore its editorial independence by reinstating the position of Editor & Publisher, and resume publication.

Jaquie Algee
Vice President, SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana/Missouri/Kansas

Monroe Anderson
Retired Chicago journalist and former press secretary for Mayor
Eugene Sawyer

Jeff Bartow
Executive Director, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)

Jane Beckett
Consultant to nonprofits

Rev. Barbara Bolsen
Former Board Chair, Community Renewal Society
United Church of Christ pastor, retired

Michael Bennett
Associate Professor, DePaul UniversityBoard Treasurer, The African American Leadership and Policy Institute

Niketa Brar
Co-founder and Executive Director, Chicago United for Equity (CUE)

Joanna Brown
Former Lead Education Organizer, Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Rev. Betsy Bueschel
Former Board Chair, Community Renewal Society
United Church of Christ pastor, retired

Juan Calixto
Vice President of External Relations, Chicago Community Loan Fund

Nicole Cantello
President, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 704

Jim Capraro
Principal, Capraro Consulting
Former CEO, Greater Southwest Development Corporation

Thom Clark
Founder & Former President, 
Community Media Workshop/Public Narrative
Co-host, “Live from The Heartland,” WLUW-FM

Delmarie Cobb
Media and Political Consultant

Sister Benita Coffey
Coordinator, Benedictines for Peace/Chicago Chapter

Jacqueline Y. Collins
State Senator, 16th District of Illinois

Rev. Paula Cripps-Vallejo
Pastor, Humboldt Park United Methodist Church

Sister Patricia A. Crowley
Board Chair, Bethany House of Hospitality
Benedictine Sister of Chicago

Henry W. DeZutter
Co-founder, Community Media Workshop
Former Reporter, Chicago Daily News and Chicago Reader
Former journalism professor, Columbia College and Malcolm X College

Bernardine Dohrn
Founder and former director, Children and Family Justice Center, Bluhm Legal Clinic
Retired clinical professor, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Rev. Randall Doubet-King
United Church of Christ pastor, retired

Julie Dworkin
Policy Director, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Susan Eleuterio
Former Board Co-Chair, The Crossroads Fund

Sylvia Ewing
Former consultant to Catalyst Chicago / Community Renewal Society
2020 Illinois Humanities Award Winner

Sunny Fischer
Former Executive Director, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Co-founder, Chicago Foundation for Women
Co-founder and Board Chair, National Public Housing Museum 

Kim Foxx
Cook County State’s Attorney

Stephen Franklin
Journalist and author

Mary Gerace
Mary Gerace Enterprises

Laurie R. Glenn
President & CEO, Thinkinc

Brother Michael Gosch
Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

Graham Grady
Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Former Commissioner, Department of Buildings, City of Chicago

Darlene M. Gramigna
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Jacky Grimshaw
Vice President, Government Affairs, 
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Former senior advisor to Mayor Harold Washington

Carolyn Grisko
CEO, Grisko LLC
Board Member, CHANGE Illinois Action Fund

Anne Hallett

Nancy A. Hanson
Former Board Member, Community Renewal Society
Current donor to The Chicago Reporter 

Deborah Harrington
Former President, Woods Fund of Chicago

David L. Hatch
Co-Governing Fellow, People’s Action
Founder & former Executive Director The People’s Lobby and Reclaim Chicago

Christie Hefner

Kathleen Hogan
Political organizer and Co-Founder, Heartland Cafe

Joshua Hoyt
Former Executive Director, National Partnership for New Americans
Former Executive Director, Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Rachel Johnston
Senior Staff, Chicago Rehab Network

Jackie Kaplan-Perkins
Former member, Editorial Advisory Board, The Chicago Reporter

Marilyn F. Katz
President, MK Communications 

Keith J Kelleher
Former President, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri Kansas
Former Board member, Community Renewal Society 

Sister Susan E. Kilduski
Benedictine Sisters of Chicago

Joanna Klonsky
Joanna Klonsky Communication Strategies

Susan E. Klonsky

Linda Lenz
Former Editor & Publisher, Catalyst Chicago 

Gordon Mayer
Gordon Mayer Communications

William C. McCready
Professor Emeritus, Sociology, Northern Illinois University
Visiting Scholar, University of Michigan

Regina McGraw
Executive Director, Wieboldt Foundation

Grace Chan McKibben
Executive Director, Coalition for a Better Chinese-American Community (CBCAC)

Alberto B. Mendoza
Executive Director, National Association of Hispanic Journalists 

Mark Miller
Former Deputy Managing Editor, Chicago Sun Times
Former Editor, Crain’s Chicago Business 

Rami Nashashibi
Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network

Donna Norkus
Former Board Member, Community Renewal Society 

Mary M. O’Connell
Communications professional 

David Orr
Former Cook County Clerk
Former 49th Ward Alderman

Abdon M. Pallasch
Director of Communications, Illinois State Comptroller

Dr. Mary Pattillo
Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and Chair, Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University

Aurie A. Pennick
Former Executive Director, Field Foundation of Illinois 

Elizabeth B. Phillips
Former Board Chair, Community Renewal Society
Long-time member, CRS Budget & Finance Committee

Toni Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President

Sylvia Puente
President & CEO, Latino Policy Forum

Gordon Quinn
Kartemquin Films

Dr. Elena D. Quintana
Executive Director, Institute on Public Safety & Social Justice

Delia C. Ramírez
State Representative, 4th District of Illinois

Wayne Richard
Director of Organizing, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Don Rose
Political Consultant

Shari E. Runner
President and CEO, The Humanity Institute
Former CEO, Chicago Urban League

Jane M. Hussein Saks
President and Artistic Director, Project&

Ellen J. Schumer
Executive Director, Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)

Kristine Scott
Former Development and Communications Director, Community Renewal Society

Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy

Helen Shiller
Former Alderwoman, 46th Ward

Dick Simpson
Professor, Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
Former Alderman, 44th Ward

Rebecca Anne Sive
Author and former faculty member, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
Former Commissioner, Illinois Human Rights Commission

Jennifer Amdur Spitz
President, Amdur Spitz & Associates
Co-Founder, Groundswell Films

Nikki Will Stein
Founding Executive Director, Polk Bros. Foundation 

Chinta Strausberg
Reporter, talk show host and editor
Former Chicago Defender reporter
Studs Terkel Award recipient

Madeline Talbott
Founder, Action Now 

Laura Lane Taylor
Managing Director of Program, Sunshine Enterprises

Richard E. Townsell
Executive Director, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation

Vivian E. Vahlberg
Retired foundation consultant

Dr. Rachel Weber
Professor of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Anita Weinberg
Director, Rodin Center for Social Justice, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Michele Christine Weldon
Senior Leader, The OpEd Project

Charles F. Whitaker
Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University

Ted Wysocki
Principal, U2Cando, and former Executive Director, North Branch Works
Former Executive Director, Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations (CANDO)

Affiliations listed for identification purposes only

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