5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Mary Mitchell

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5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Mary Mitchell

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

March 31, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This week...one of the most esteemed newspaper columnists in the nation whose award-winning work appears three times a week in the Chicago Sun-Times and is syndicated nationallyshe has been called THE voice for many Chicagoans who are never heard and has brought light to social issues in the inner city the average citizen doesnt even think aboutshe is a fighter and a championhere are 5 Questions withMARY MITCHELL!

BIO: Mary A. Mitchell is an editorial board member and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the prestigious Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headliner Club; the Phenomenal Woman Award-Media from the Expo for Today's Black Woman; and the Humanitarian Award from the 100 Black Men of Chicago. In 2004, Crain's Chicago Business honored Mitchell as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the city.

Mitchell earned a B.A. in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She joined the Chicago Sun-Times as an education writer in 1991, and has covered City Hall and the U.S. Federal Courts.

Community violence, sexual abuse of minors, the HIVAIDS epidemic in African-American neighborhoods, and racial attitudes in Chicago has inspired Mitchell to tackle these controversial subjects even when community leaders are silent.

Mitchell has been called "courageous" and "compassionate" by readers who trust her to give them a voice on issues ranging from police misconduct to the tragedy of Black-on-Black violence.

She is also an advocate for women.

As a news reporter, Mitchell exposed the sexual abuse of women in Illinois prisons. Those articles prompted the Illinois General Assembly to strengthen laws prohibiting prison guards from engaging in sex with inmates.

Today, Mitchell writes about a variety of topics, but her work often rallies African-American readers to empower their communities by promoting education and by protecting the most vulnerable members of our society-our children and our elderly.

Her column appears on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays and is distributed throughout the Midwest by United Media. Mitchell is also a frequent guest panelist on WTTW's Week in Review, and has appeared on national news programs, including, FOX-TV and The O'Reilly Factor.

1) CSNChicago.com: Mary, the recent signing of the much-debated health care bill on Capitol Hill seems to have created a deep divide not only among political party lines, but among U.S. citizens as well. What would you consider to be the single biggest hurdle going forward for the Obama administration to get everyone on the same pageor do you think this will always have controversy attached to it from here on out?

Mitchell: The deep divide has always existed between political parties and has broadened since the election of President Barack Obama. But I dont believe healthcare reform is the culprit. A lot of people are angry about their own financial situation, and do not feel that they are getting ahead. When that happens, people have to blame someone. Unfortunately, it is almost a sport in this country to blame the government.

2) CSNChicago.com: You have been a champion in your cause to continually raise awareness about gun violence in the inner city of Chicago. In your opinion, are city officials doing enough in your estimation to not only address this tragic issue, which has seen the loss of life for so many innocent children, but put steps in place to end it?

Mitchell: From supporting gun-control and anti-loitering laws to sponsoring after-school programs and safe havens, the Daley administration has tried to address the on-going violence that takes place in predominantly minority neighborhoods. But the truth of the matter is government does not have the resources needed to provide the level of part-time jobs and recreation required to keep vulnerable teens out of harms way. That the Chicago Board of Education is now trying to address this issue is an encouraging sign. But the families that live in these neighborhoods, private industry, churches and non-profits will have to step up as well.

3) CSNChicago.com: Outside of Michael Jordan, tell us who you think is the greatest athlete in Chicago sports history and why?

Mitchell: Are you kidding? If you remove Michael Jordan, then you are left with the Super Bowl Bears, right? I did buy my grandson an autographed photograph of Walter Payton, which I framed and hung up in his bedroom. Im not much of a sports fan, but if Michaels off-limits, the next best has to be Walter.

4) CSNChicago.com: Youve been honored countless times for your brilliant columns and overall body of work over the years. What columnists do you consider to be the best in your industry?

Mitchell: Right now, I am in love with Garrison Keillor.

5) CSNChicago.com: Your battle and eventual victory against breast cancer is something thousands of women and families across the country are dealing with at this very moment. How is everything going for you today and, a follow-up question, whats the single biggest bit of advice do you have for women out there who are scared to get a mammogram?

Mitchell: Im now officially a one-year cancer survivor, and honestly, I am beginning to feel like myself again. Had I not gotten regular mammograms, I probably would not be here today. My hair is growing back, and Im thinking about my health in a positive way (including actually getting my butt on a treadmill). For those women who have put off getting a mammogram and are afraid of the outcome, dont sweat it. The thought of what could be wrong is always worst than what actually is.

Mitchell LINKS:

Chicago Sun-TimesMary Mitchell columns

Chicago Sun-TimesMary Mitchell blog

Mary Mitchell on Facebook

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