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Rainbow PUSH spokesman Don Terry joins Lori Lightfoot administration

Don Terry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent who left journalism for social justice work at first the Southern Poverty Law Center, then Rainbow PUSH, has left the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s staff to work for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Don Terry
Don Terry
Provided photo

Former New York Times Correspondent Don Terry has left the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to join the administration of Chicago’s first black woman mayor.

Terry, 62, had served as national press secretary and communications director for the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s social justice organization for the past three and a half years.

Terry, whose last day at PUSH was Aug. 30, joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration as public information officer for the city Department of Housing, effective Sept. 3.

Terry was a staff writer and national correspondent for The New York Times from 1988 to 2000, where his work focused on legal and social injustice issues. He was also part of a team that garnered the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for their series, “How Race Is Lived in America.” Terry’s contribution to the series was his 2000 article, “Getting Under My Skin: A White Mother and A Black Father Left Him This Legacy.”

Terry, who was born in Evanston, left the New York Times to return to his hometown Chicago, joining the staff of the Chicago Tribune in 2001, where he worked until 2009. Terry also served as a regular contributor to the Chicago News Cooperative and Columbia Journalism Review, and wrote a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times for many years.

Terry went on to serve as senior writer at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, from 2012 to 2015, before joining the staff at Rainbow PUSH in 2016, where he worked closely with its civil rights leader and founder.

Terry had begun his journalism career as a staff writer at the Chicago Defender, going on to write for several newspapers in the Midwest, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press and St. Paul Dispatch, before joining the New York Times as a staff writer in the metro section. He was eventually promoted to national correspondent.

Terry is recipient of numerous other journalism awards, including the Studs Terkel Media Award, the Chicago Tribune’s Writing Award and Peter Lisagor Award, and an Encore fellowship from the Columbia Journalism Review. He received his master’s degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and his bachelor’s degree in American history from Oberlin College. He is a 1975 graduate of St. Mary’s High School.

Terry and his wife, attorney Rebecca Ford Terry, reside in the South Loop.