Truth is, the name change was a foregone conclusion from the moment the UNITY board opted to allow the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association to become a part of the coalition. In embracing that bold change, the alliance expanded its mission in a way that requires reflection and analysis from members of each partner in the group. The president of NABJ (no longer a coalition partner) believes the name change indicates the group has lost focus. I don’t fully agree, but no one can dismiss his critique lightly. Supporters of the name change (I count myself among you in principle) can argue that expanding the mission does not equal a lack of focus.
I liken it to a camera: One lens may work perfectly in a given setting, but the same camera in a different setting requires a different lens. The setting has changed. So UNITY changed the lens.
It’s called adaptation, and every coalition partner must realize by now that if we don’t adapt, we won’t survive. It’s true of our careers. It’s true of our employers. It’s true of our associations. And it’s true of the coalition.
NABJ is in a difficult position now: it must decide whether to rejoin a coalition that responded to its departure by making drastic changes that call attention to the very points of contention that led to the split. If NABJ comes back, it will be to a very different coalition. If NABJ stays away, it does permanent damage to a powerful message it helped craft [that when we join forces, we do not dilute our voices; we magnify them].
NABJ’s return is pivotal to the future of UNITY. Reunification is an imperative for the strength of the message that all coalition members are sending to the profession we love. But for NABJ to come back, its issues must be addressed and resolved.
I believe the name of UNITY had to change. But I also think it should have happened after NABJ’s return as a full partner.
We who preach diversity to the profession are being watched. What message do we send when we say that we cannot resolve our differences?
I wish the best to all who continue working on this situation. I look forward to its resolution.