Pulitzer Center Update

Focus on Justice: Talks @ Pulitzer Online Series 

A watchtower at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp at dusk. Image by Gino Reyes. Cuba, 2011.

A watchtower at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp at dusk. Image by Gino Reyes. Cuba, 2011.

The Pulitzer Center announces our summer 2020 Talks @ Pulitzer Series Focus on Justice.

COVID-19 forced the postponement of our 2020 Justice Conference. Yet we believe it is important to keep these Justice issues at the forefront of our reporting and our conversations. Starting in June, we will be offering an online series to spark discussion. Scroll down to view the list of conversations scheduled involving journalists, playwrights, directors, artists, advocates, policymakers and individuals who speak to their lived experiences with incarceration.

It costs $13 million per year to hold each of the 40 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Where does the money go? How do police profit from seized property? What is it like to be one of 2.7 million children with a parent in jail or prison? What programs have succeeded in the U.S. and elsewhere to reduce recidivism? These are all questions we’ve asked with the reporting projects supported by the Pulitzer Center. 

With COVID-19, we’ve added more questions to this list: 

How do you stay home when there's no reliable place to call home? How do you keep a safe distance when you have no control over your living situation? 

And when you have a home, why does your zip code determine your life expectancy? Why are marginalized and vulnerable communities impacted disproportionately, whether in their education, in their health, or in their other needs? How are those disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus confronting—and overcoming—this unprecedented challenge of COVID-19?

Throughout the summer the Pulitzer Center will bring together journalists, policymakers, and advocates to better inform us on these issues. 

The Pulitzer Center online Justice series includes: 

Wednesday, June 3: Tatenda Ngwaru, an intersex woman from Zimbabwe seeking asylum in the United States, shares her personal journey and her work advocating for intersex visibility. Ngwaru is joined by filmmaker Robert Tokanel, who co-directed with Yuhong Pang the Pulitzer Center-supported documentary "She's Not a Boy" featuring Ngwaru. Tokanel and Pang were 2019 Reporting Fellows from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Watch a recording here.

Tuesday, June 9New York Times journalist Carol Rosenberg and David Cole, National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in conversation about Guantánamo, civil liberties, capital cases, and more. Rosenberg has covered Guantánamo since before the first prisoners arrived in 2002. She is the only reporter to cover the prisoners and war court there continuously, and has spent well over 1,000 nights at the remote base. Watch a recording here.

Tuesday, June 16TIME for Kids editor Jaime Joyce along with Susan Burton and her daughter Antoinette "Toni" Carter explore the challenges of incarceration for parents and their children. Burton is the author of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women and founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project. Watch a recording here.

Tuesday, June 23: Playwright Sarah Shourd joins in conversation with Rhodessa Jones, co-artistic director of the performance company Cultural Odyssey, about the healing work of theater in the context of incarceration and the efforts of incarcerated people to be seen. Watch a recording here.

Wednesday, July 8: Voice of the Experienced Founder Norris HendersonArt for Justice Fund Project Director Helena Huang and documentary photographer Brian Frank, who in 2018 launched "Visions of Justice" workshops with court-involved youth, speak to the power of art to create change and inspire justice in American communities. Watch a recording here.

Thursday, July 16: Hundreds of thousands of individuals awaiting trial in U.S. jails each night because they are unable to pay their bail. Those accused also often are represented by overwhelmed public defenders. This system failed Ricky Kidd, who spent 23 years in a Missouri maximum security prison for a crime he did not commit. Join Kidd, along with journalist Frank Carlson (PBS NewsHour "Broken Justice" series) and attorney Alec Karakatsanis (Civil Rights Corps). Watch a recording here.

Tuesday, July 21: As a pandemic disproportionally impacting the United States’ most vulnerable communities has amplified calls to reimagine America’s fractured health care system, Pulitzer Center grantees Claire Napier GalofaroAisha Sultan, and Eric Adelson discuss disparities within social service programs, the consequences facing marginalized groups and efforts at system change. Watch a recording here.

Thursday, July 30: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, migrants and asylum seekers are facing an increasingly dire situation along the southern U.S. border. Pulitzer Center-supported journalists Maria Hinojosa and Anna-Catherine Brigida have covered how the Trump administration’s efforts to push refugees back from the border, exacerbating the challenges already facing these individuals. Adding to the conversation is Maria Zamudio, another Pulitzer Center-supported journalist who focused her reporting project on how the military failed veterans who were deported even before the pandemic. Watch a recording here.

Thursday, August 6: Voter suppression is an increasing obstacle to free and fair elections in the United States. Join journalist Brittany Gibson, whose Pulitzer Center-supported "Battle for the Ballot Box" project appeared in The American Prospect, as she delves into this issue with attorney Tori Wenger of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and community activist Dr. Brenda C. Williams. Watch a recording here.

More information on the sessions in the summer series are available via our events page

With these sessions, the Pulitzer Center aims to extend opportunities for learning about systems of justice. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and hope to reschedule our in-person conference in the future. In the meantime, we encourage you to join our online Justice series and dive into the reporting we’ve supported.

The Pulitzer Center's reporting and educational outreach on mass incarceration and related justice issues is supported by the Art for Justice Fund and other donors. The Art for Justice Fund was created by Agnes Gund in partnership with the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.