Cherita Banton has always had a passion for writing, from making up songs and creating short stories as a child, to covering professional, collegiate and high school basketball for the Chicago Daily Defender newspaper.  She is an award-winning poet and published writer. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Cherita received her undergraduate degree in Communication, with an English minor, from DePaul University in Chicago and went on to obtain a Master of Arts in Writing also from DePaul University.

Today, Cherita is the author of a poetry collection, “For People I Know: Poems of Inspiration,” and a children’s picture book, “I Am: A-Z Poetic Confessions for Kids.” An avid reader of Christian Fiction, she is currently working on her first Christian Fiction novel, “Broken Dreams,” where she fuses her gift of writing with her life-long passion for basketball. Her goal as an author is to entertain readers while encouraging and uplifting, motivating and inspiring; attempting to direct readers down the path that God paved for them a long time ago. Her desire is to give readers real Christian characters with real challenges and emotions and to show them that being a Christian is far from a walk in the park; and that it takes a great deal of patience, diligence, and most importantly, strength, to walk in faith.

It was at just eleven years old, that Cherita’s enthusiasm for another passion was born, her love for basketball. In her grandmother’s south side kitchen, she was first introduced to the sport. She had entered the kitchen to simply ask her grandmother what was for dinner. Her grandfather was seated at the kitchen table watching a Bulls’ game and asked her to join him. She did. Her parents thought it was a phase that she would eventually grow out of, she never did. Cherita became a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls, as well as several college basketball teams. During that time, she had dreams of working for the Chicago Bulls. She continued to watch her beloved Bulls and favorite college teams all the way through high school. And when it came time to choose a college, she knew exactly where to go.

Growing up watching the Blue Demons, Cherita knew DePaul University would be her school of choice. Naturally, when she first stepped foot on campus, she went looking for the basketball team. She knew she wanted to work with the men’s team, but didn’t quite know what that meant. After talking to some friends on campus, Cherita learned that the team was in search of new managers. So that’s what she set out to become. But her desire was quickly met with opposition. Friends laughed and said it was impossible. They said she was a girl, and girls couldn’t be managers of men’s basketball teams. They told her to try out for the cheerleading squad, or the dance team instead. “No!” was her response. “I want to be a manager.” Cherita became the first female manager for the DePaul men’s basketball team in the school’s history. And it was this accomplishment that opened a multitude of doors for her. It was with the team that she walked the halls and stood on the Chicago Bulls’ court at the United Center for the first time, only to return years later to a volunteer position with the Bulls. And it all started with the DePaul Blue Demons, chance meetings over the years with some of her favorite celebrity athletes and coaches such as Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University, Coach John Chaney of Temple University, Norm Van Lier, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neil, and Michael Jordan.

While spending time at the United Center, she developed a friendship with the then sports editor of the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper, Larry Gross. Gross learned of her ability to write and quickly brought her on as an intern for the Defender. She went on to write for the Defender for the next couple seasons covering the Bulls and other local basketball teams, but decided to switch her focus back to poetry and inspirational writing.

Awards

A&W Diamonds Mother’s Day Poem Contest, 1st Place, 2008

2nd Annual Jalen Rose Holiday Poetry Contest, Top 5, 2007