Don Rojas is the former editor of the New York Amsterdam News and former national communications director of the NAACP. He is currently at his home in Baltimore, Maryland and in need of our support He is battling bone cancer.
A phone conversation with Don Rojas can easily begin with the subtlest of greetings – a friendly “hello,” and good to hear from you.
But any conversation of length undoubtedly leads to a lively discussion about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, reparations, journalism, and of course Rojas’ celebrated activism and the fight for freedom, justice and equality.
For Rojas, that fight began at an early age and he waged war against injustice mostly with a pen.
“Since I was a young man, I always had an interest in writing and reporting and the spoken word,” Rojas, now 69, said from his home in Maryland.
“I went to school in Grenada with (Grenadian revolutionary and leader) Maurice Bishop. He was captain of the senior debate team and I was captain of the junior debate team,” Rojas said, chuckling about one of many historic members that ran through his thoughts.
During that time, Rojas became involved in student activism and joined a student newspaper and student run radio station.
Later, he attended the University of Wisconsin where he honed his journalism skills.
“That was in the late 1960s and I’ve stayed in the field of journalism and activism, alternating my time and energy over those many years between activism and journalism,” Rojas said, noting that, “for me, there isn’t a clear line of demarcation between the two, especially for those in the trenches with minority media.”
One of his first positions was assistant director of communications for the National Urban League. Following his stint there Rojas became an assistant editor at a Black-owned paper in Baltimore.
Among the many legendary interviews Rojas conducted were with leaders from around Africa, including Civil Rights icon Nelson Mandela and singer Bob Marley.
For the latter role, Rojas was recruited in 1993 by then-NAACP Executive Director, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., at that time the youngest NAACP leader in the storied civil rights organization’s history.
After months of treatment for a chronic back ailment, Rojas was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a particularly aggressive form of bone cancer.
He’s undergoing heavy chemotherapy treatment which will continue in the weeks ahead, followed by the infusion of steroids and then bone marrow transplants.
The cost of his medical care is described as “astronomical” and much of it is not covered by insurance.
He and his wife, Karen, have been forced to unexpectedly place their home on the market to help cover the additional medial and relevant costs.
His friends, led by Chavis and actor Danny Glover, have launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the urgently needed funds to ensure that his wife and family have the resources to pay for the best lifesaving medical treatments available. “Don Rojas deserves our support, prayers and our rigid solidarity in salute of his outstanding career as a global freedom fighter.
The encyclopedia contains a trove of information about Rojas’ illustrious career at www.encyclopedia.com/education/ news-wires-white-papersand books/rojas-don-1949.
To contribute to the campaign, visit https:// www.gofundme.com/helpdon rojas-in-the-fight-ofhis life.