Expanding racial healing, health and educational equity

Twenty-six journalists embark on a year of learning, investigating and exploring the challenges to child, youth and family health and well-being in the United States this month. WKKF grantee University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Health Journalism announced its 2022 National Fellowship. The Fellows’ work will focus on producing stories of underreported health equity issues across the country. WKKF’s Monica Beltran, program officer, said, “We need a strong ecosystem of journalists who represent the communities they report on to uncover health disparities, explore why they exist and shed light on solutions.” 

On June 17, grantee Jovenarte opened a Community Learning Center in Mitontic, Chiapas, Mexico. Jovenarte is an organization of Tsotsil youth promoting the rights of Indigenous and young people. Their aim in opening the center is strengthening socio-emotional and leadership skills through cultural, educational and recreational activities that are free and open to the public. WKKF supports Jovenarte’s work to promote Tsotsil youth leadership, participation and identity-building. 

What is the power of a second chance? Convicted of carjacking at age 16, Dwayne Betts discovered his love of books and poetry in prison through a prisoner-designed underground library. That literary awakening changed his life and inspired him to launch the nonprofit Freedom Reads to bring a million books to U.S. prisons and juvenile detention centers across 10 states. Now a graduate of Yale University, Betts is an attorney, a poet and a prison-reform advocate. He also serves as executive director of the organization, featured recently on CBS Sunday Morning.    

WKKF and NBCUniversal News Group kicked off a year-long initiative at the Aspen Ideas Festival last month. The partnership will introduce racial healing to a broader audience, illustrate how racial healing is already yielding transformative results across the U.S. and inspire everyday people to work toward racial healing and racial equity in their community. As featured July 1 in Ebony Magazine, “The collaboration will utilize News Group’s acclaimed journalists and renowned news outlets to spotlight stories that center on racial healing.” Yvette Miley, senior vice president, diversity, equity and inclusion with NBCUniversal News Group said, “It’s a journalistic responsibility to not only inform our audiences but also elevate the resources and tools available to help solve these issues.”

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