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Esther J. Cepeda is a journalist and essayist who is focused on issues affecting people of color. She recently completed 10 years of writing a nationally syndicated opinion column for The Washington Post Writers Group and, before that, was a reporter and opinion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

contact her at eejaycee [at]

Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Esther J. Cepeda started writing before her scribbles adequately conveyed her musings. She attended Lane Technical High School then went on to Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor's degree in journalism with minors in music and psychology.

After being awarded a full scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she studied Integrated Marketing Communications there before going into direct marketing and public relations for a variety of Chicago companies.

In 2002 Ms. Cepeda began teaching as a bilingual teacher in low-income grammar and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago while working toward a Master's degree in Special Education from Roosevelt University.

Before joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, then becoming Chicago's first Latino metro columnist, Ms. Cepeda wrote about national and local politics and social issues for Illinois newspapers and magazines across the country. She was a 2007 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists nominee and a candidate for the General Federation of Women's Clubs' 2007 Croly Award.

Selected as a Columbia University 'Next Generation Project' American Assembly Fellow in 2007, Ms. Cepeda was recently named a National Fellow and in June 2008 convened with over one hundred nationally-selected young leaders at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to strategize on U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions.

She self-syndicated her '600 Words' column on, through the Newstex Company, as well as, Scripps-Howard News Service and BlogBurst. She was a Huffington Post blogger whose work can be found at when the vertical opened a Chicago vertical.

Cepeda was a nationally syndicated Washington Post Writers Group columnist from 2010 to 2020. Her columns were also translated into Spanish and distributed in Spanish language publications across the world.

She now teaches school in Madison, WI and publishes essays and articles on

Ms. Cepeda is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Cepeda is a sought-after public speaker and on her off-time is focused on working ridiculously hard jigsaw puzzles, learning the piano, reading, and practicing cardistry.


Latinx community, people of color, business, technology, education, health, sports, politics, culture, arts, hispanic and latino issues, Hispanic public speaker, Latino keynote speaker