By Lu Stanton León writes in a profile of Ray Suarez for the Diocese of Chicago’s magazine, Thrive:
A native of Brooklyn and of Puerto Rican descent, Suarez and his wife, Carole, who is Jewish, currently live in Philadelphia, but home is in Washington, D.C., where he attends St. Columba’s Episcopal Church. For at least three decades he has had a front-row seat to American politics, including hosting NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” from 1993–1999, serving as a senior correspondent at PBS “Newshour” from 1999–2013, and hosting “Inside Story” on Al Jazeera America until 2016. Most recently he was the John J. McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He also has worked as a radio reporter in London and Rome, and as a television correspondent for CNN in Los Angeles and WMAQ-TV in Chicago.
Suarez is much in demand as a public speaker and has been awarded 15 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books including “Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation,” a companion volume to the 2013 documentary series for PBS.
His perspective on the church’s future draws heavily on the long view he has cultivated during his career in journalism.
“There’s too much handwringing about the church is too this or too that. The church is too white or the church is too rich,” Suarez says. “We can’t change 1950, or 1850 for that matter. All we can fix is what happens from now on. It’s not something that happens overnight. We have a liturgical tradition. We have an origin story and have created a church that is largely high income and highly educated — more than many other churches. What are we going to do, wring our hands about that? That’s what we are. But we have a new group of people to talk to, to love and make part of our story.”