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New American Dream, Town Halls on Disrupting Systemic Racism

The WNET Group and Chasing The Dream To Present New American Dream, Town Halls on Disrupting Systemic Racism and Envisioning the Nation Beyond It, Beginning April 28

The WNET Group, home to PBS stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21, the network NJ PBS, and Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM, has announced New American Dream, 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 in America today. The events, which are aligned with The WNET Group’s Chasing the Dream, a public media reporting initiative covering poverty, economic opportunity and justice in America, will also explore ways to make the nation’s policies and culture more accountable to its democratic ideals. New American Dream live town hall conversations will take place on Wednesdays, April 28 – May 26 at 5 p.m. at thirteen.org/NewAmericanDream.

Each week 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 of the conversations will be on strategies and solidarity, with an understanding of history and eyes towards the future.

“We are pleased to bring together a diverse and distinguished group of people to foster honest, timely and relevant conversations about systemic racism in our country” said Eugenia Harvey, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for The WNET Group and Executive Producer of Chasing the Dream. “It is critical to The WNET Group’s mission to amplify BIPOC voices on these issues and to promote social justice through solutions-focused dialogues.”

New American Dream is curated by Brian Tate, president, Tate Strategy, and community partnerships specialist for The WNET Group.

Partners for New American Dream include the AI Now Institute, Black Futures Lab, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Brooklyn Book Festival, the Center for Anti-Violence Education, Color Of Change, Common Cause NY, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The New American Dream town hall schedule includes:

DEMOCRACY THAT DOESN’T FLINCH: Inside Campaigns to Build and Diversify Political Power
Wednesday, April 28 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.
How are historically disenfranchised communities winning new political power and standing up to structural racism? What lessons do they offer in the fight for democracy? Moderated by Brian Tate, community partnerships specialist for The WNET Group and founder of Tate Strategies, Democracy That Doesn’t Flinch will be a conversation with leaders whose work strengthens political clout for their communities and voting rights for all Americans including: Christine Chen, APIAVote; Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino; Afaf Nasher, Esq., Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York; Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Higher Heights; and Allie Young (Diné), Protect the Sacred. The event begins with a performance by painter, poet, and philanthropist Danny Simmons, Jr.

REVOLUTIONARY DESIGN: Conceiving a Future Forged with Antiracist Technology
Wednesday, May 5 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.
How have old forces of bigotry and bias gained new life in the digital era? How do we uproot racist algorithms in healthcare, criminal justice, business, and other fields? Moderated by Karen Hoa, senior AI editor at MIT Technology Review, Revolutionary Design will be conversation with leaders who work to bring human rights and racial justice to artificial intelligence and genetic data including: Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, founder and CEO of Parity; Nicole Martinez-Martin, PhD, JD, Assistant Professor at Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Dept. of Pediatrics, secondary appointment at Dept. of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Stanford University; Mutale Nkonde, founder of AI For the People; Roya Pakzad, founder and director of Taraaz; and Dr. Kim TallBear (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate), Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. The event begins with a performance by Grammy award-winning guitarist, composer and visual artist Vernon Reid.

NEWS THAT NEEDS TELLING: Journalism That Examines Injustice and Explores Black Power
Wednesday, May 12 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.
What drives new journalism initiatives that empower black communities and dismantle racist systems? How does that work advance the principles of democracy? Moderated by writer, musician and cultural critic Greg Tate, News That Needs Telling will be a conversation with leaders of new journalism initiatives that propel black culture, critical thinking, and racial justice including: Rhema Bland, Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting; Vanessa K. De Luca, The Root; Kali Holloway, The Nation and Make It Right Project; Patrice Peck, SpeakPatrice Presents: Coronavirus News for Black Folks; and Wendi C. Thomas, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. The event begins with a performance by playwright, actress, poet, and activist Liza Jessie Peterson.

TURNED AGAINST THE TIDE: Heeding the Call of White Antiracism
Wednesday, May 19 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.
How do white antiracists leverage culture to oppose white supremacy? What led them to the work, what obstacles do they face and how do they measure success? Moderated by Ginny Suss, producer, content creator, cultural curator and the CEO of Ginny Suss Productions, Turned Against the Tide will be a conversation with leaders who bring the message of antiracism to White communities through music and culture including: Gregg August, bassist/composer; Sara Donnelly, Jazz at South Arts; Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs; Karen Pittelman, Karen & the Sorrows and Queer Country Quarterly; and Dan Zanes, musician and Constructive White Conversations The event begins with a performance by poet Ailish Hopper.

BRAVER THAN THE ONE BEFORE IT: In Search of the New American Dream
Wednesday, May 26 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are they still the pillars of the American Dream, or does systemic racism in the U.S. demand a more radical vision? Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Senior Vice President, Pantheon & Schocken Books at Penguin Random House, Braver Than the One Before It will be a conversation with major authors on what America means and can become for people long kept at its margins including: Cathy Park Hong, author, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning”; Robert Jones, Jr., author, “The Prophets”; Laila Lalami, author, “Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America”; Valeria Luiselli, author, “Lost Children Archive”; and Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapaho), author, “There There.” An opening performance will be made by Mexican American songwriter, vocalist and bandleader Sandra Lilia Velasquez.

New American Dream is The WNET Group and Chasing the Dream‘s second virtual town hall to examine major issues affecting diverse communities throughout the tri-state region and across the United States. The first summit, Criminal Justice in America, brought together thought leaders from across cultures, cities, and sectors to discuss the top criminal justice issues affecting America today, and what can be done to change them.

About The WNET Group  
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the nonprofit parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; and ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider. The WNET Group also operates NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network, and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight Newswith Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. Community-supported, The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us. 

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