Family and the journalism community are mourning the loss of veteran journalist Sidmel Estes, the first woman president of the National Association of Black Journalists. She died at the age of 60 at an Atlanta hospital after suffering from unnamed illnesses, The Root reports.
According to a fundraiser page created by friends, Estes needed help covering medical expenses as she had no health insurance. Her rare illness required expensive treatments. Estes was working as an adjunct professor before her contract was ended when she became too sick to work.
"She has lost her health. She lives in a state that didn't accept the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. And she earned her living in a declining industry that has limited options for senior workers. Declining industry, declining health, and no health care is her triple whammy," wrote Ce Cole Dillon on the fundraiser page.
Estes had a long-list of accomplishments in the media filed. She was the co-creator of WAGA-TV's Good Day Atlanta, and worked as the show's executive producer in the 1990s. In 1994, as president of NABJ, she was a co-creator of UNITY conference, which brought together minority journalism associations. Ebony Magazine named her one of the most influential African-Americans in 1993. In recent years, Estes became a media consultant and trainer through her own company called BreakThrough Inc.
"Despite all of those accomplishments, in the last decade the vicissitudes of the journalism industry has left Sidmel as one of many talented people without a place to ply her trade," wrote Dillon on her fundraiser page.
Estes's funeral services will be held Saturday at at Elizabeth Baptist Church, according to the AJC. The money from the fundraiser will now go towards Estes's homegoing services, final expenses and to provide for her sons Joshya and Sidney in this time of difficulty.
Estes was born in Marysville, California, and raised in Atlanta. She is survived by her children. She had been married to B. Garnett Sumpter.
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