Hannah Gebresilassie is an emerging and one of the very few journalists from the Horn of Africa working in a mainstream media in the United States. She is known to showcase her cultures of home proudly to a large audience and advocates for a slew of issues, including on the role of immigrants in the United States. She reflects with The Reporter’s Samuel Getachew on her career, on journalism, gives advice to those who may want to emulate her career while she struggles to answer who her favorite Ethiopian artist is, The Weeknd or Teddy Afro. Excerpts:
The Reporter: Hannah, you are an emerging journalist based in Southern Illinois/Chicago and we have seen you embrace your ancestry on television. It is rare to see that on mainstream TV. Tell us about yourself?
Hannah Gebresilassie: I was born in California and moved to Georgia as a toddler. I grew up in the wonderful city of Atlanta and surrounding suburbs. I completed my bachelors in business administration at Georgia Tech, after transferring from Georgia State. I went on to study journalism and completed graduate school at Northwestern University in Evanston/Chicago, Illinois. I have a strong background working in sports, with teams like Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball, the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. I currently work as a television reporter at WSIL-TV, a local ABC station based in southern Illinois.
I really, really, really love injera and coffee. I have a passion for people and especially love working with the youth. I also love dancing, whether it is hip-hop, jazz, eskista or guragigna. I was a member of the official dance team at both Georgia State University and Georgia Tech. I was raised in a strong Habesha community in Atlanta and was very involved with my home church; Debre Haile Kidus Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The church community, along with my mom and dad, raised me to be fearless and reach for the stars, so that’s what I’m doing now.
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