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New American Dream: Town Halls on Disrupting Systemic Racism – News that Needs Telling

What have the first two decades of the 21st century taught us about systemic racism in the United States, and what new visions of democracy and racial justice are needed to reclaim, revitalize, and redefine the American Dream?

NEW AMERICAN DREAM, April 28 through May 26 on Wednesdays, is a five-week series of virtual forums that will gather thought leaders from across the country to discuss the impact of white supremacy and structural racism on America today. The event will also explore ways to make the nation’s policies and culture more accountable to its democratic ideals.

NEW AMERICAN DREAM will examine systemic racism in relation to five pillars of contemporary society: voting rights, artificial intelligence and genetic data, journalism, antiracism, and cultural narrative. The focus is on strategies and solidarity, with an understanding of history and eyes toward the future.

NEWS THAT NEEDS TELLING: Journalism That Examines Injustice and Explores Black Power is a discussion with five leaders of new journalism initiatives that propel black culture, critical thinking and racial justice.

With Rhema Bland, Vanessa K. De Luca, Kali Holloway, Patrice Peck, and Wendi C. Thomas. Moderated by Greg Tate. Opening performance by Liza Jessie Peterson.

About the Panelists

Rhema Bland is the first permanent director of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a news trade organization dedicated to increasing and retaining reporters and editors of color in the field of investigative reporting. She holds a B.A. in journalism and sociology from the University of Connecticut and a M.S. in broadcast journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Vanessa K. De Luca is a creative leader driven to find innovative ways to tell human-centered stories, guide new conversations, and grow brands. She is the editor-in-chief of The Root, one of the largest sites covering Black news, politics, culture, and opinion. She is the former editor-in-chief of ZORA Magazine by Medium, a digital-first publication that centers the stories of women of color. Previously, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE magazine.

Kali Holloway is a monthly columnist for the Nation and a frequent contributor to the Daily Beast. She has also written for the Guardian, Salon, TIME, HuffPost, and other outlets. An Independent Media Institute fellow, she founded and directed the Make It Right Project, a national initiative dedicated to taking down Confederate monuments and telling the truth about history. She is currently producing a documentary about jazz pianist Junior Mance. Learn more: Kali Holloway

Patrice Peck is a multi-hyphenate creative with a 10-plus year background in reporting, on-air hosting, and multimedia production. Her cross-platform work centers on amplifying underreported stories at the intersection of race, culture, and identity, and can be found at The New York Times, EBONY, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and more. In April 2020, she launched the newsletter, Coronavirus News for Black Folks, which has been spotlighted by CBS News, The Root, WIRED, and others. Learn more: Patrice Peck

Wendi C. Thomas is the founding editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom in Memphis focused on poverty, power and public policy. She is a distinguished fellow in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. In 2019, her investigation into a nonprofit hospital’s aggressive debt collection practices led the hospital to erase $11.9 million in debt for more than 5,300 defendants.

MODERATOR: Greg Tate is a leading voice on contemporary Black culture and politics, writing for the Village Voice, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more. His books include Everything But The Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture, and Flyboy II: The Greg Tate Reader. Through his signature mix of vernacular poetics, Tate elucidates why visionary Black aesthetics, philosophies, and politics help define 21st-century America.

Performer Liza Jessie Peterson

Playwright, actress, poet, and activist Liza Jessie Peterson has advocated for incarcerated populations for more than two decades. Her one-woman show on mass incarceration, The Peculiar Patriot, toured 35 jails and prisons, opened at the National Black Theatre, and was featured at the 2020 DNC. She is author of All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island. She is an alum of Def Poetry on HBO and on Broadway

Presented by The WNET Group, parent to America’s flagship PBS station.

Curated by Brian Tate.

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Thanks to our partners:

Ms. Foundation for Women
Brennan Center for Justice
Black Futures Lab
NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation
The Center for Anti-Violence Education
Brooklyn Book Festival

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