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Claude Robinson: Eliminating Barriers

In a society that is becoming increasingly diverse, different communities must come together and find common ground. Black and Latino communities, particularly, have a unique opportunity to collaborate as they face similar challenges and share common experiences. These communities can create a stronger collective voice, fight against systemic injustices, and promote social and economic progress by working together.

Onyx Strategic Partners is a multi-disciplinary, purpose-led strategic business consulting firm that, among a laundry list of services – partners with organizations to implement value-added government and community engagement strategies and full-scale diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

Claude Robinson, the Founder and President of Onyx Strategic Partners, was a guest on the program “3 Questions With…” hosted by Hugo Balta, publisher of IL Latino News.

“We focus on working with smaller non profits who are looking to grow scale, and are doing incredible work, but don’t have the capacity to navigate between philanthropic, government, corporate,” said Robinson about how Onyx Strategic Partners seeks to eliminate barriers including communication.

Robinson was a Multicultural Leadership Academy (MLA) cohort in 2018. The MLA is an initiative by the Latino Policy Forum that, in part, seeks to nurture coalitions between Black and Latino community leaders. “We never thought about sports being a way of bringing people together,” Robinson recalled how his classmates reacted to his suggestion of athletics as a bridge builder.

A sports enthusiast, one of Robinson’s heroes is baseball legend Roberto Clemente, revered as one of the greatest athletes and humanitarians of the 20th century. Clemente died in a plane accident during a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua, which he had helped organize.

As it turns out, baseball brought Robinson’s attention to a young immigrant boy and his family from Venezuela. “I was at my 12-year-old son’s baseball game in Hyde Park,” said Robinson about the chance meeting in September 2023. Despite a language barrier, the child’s mother let Robinson know her son’s desire to play baseball.

“I’ve gotten him involved in baseball. He’s currently in eighth grade at a Chicago public school. The husband has found a job, and they’re staying in one of the shelters on the South Side,” Robinson said. Drawing from his experience with the Multicultural Leadership Academy, he is helping the newcomers get much needed resources. “We’ve been able to help them get some of the paperwork that they needed completed, a lawyer working with them, and trying to get them an apartment.”

Robinson said he is committed to the migrant family, “My family morally and spiritually adopted them.”


Publisher’s Notes: the names of the Venezuelan family were deliberately withheld due to their concerns over being undocumented.

“3 Questions With…” is co-produced by the Latino News Network (LNN) and CAN TV, Chicago’s hub for community-centric news, hyperlocal stories, and educational resources.

You can support stories like this one by donating to IL Latino News, HERE.

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