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RACE Matters Initiative

The Race And Communication Exploration (RACE) Matters initiative is confronting racism through scholarship, teaching, and public engagement in the field of communication, as well as through efforts to sustain and build upon racially equitable and inclusive organizational practices within SOC.

The work of RACE Matters Recipients involves:
● Collating and highlighting existing work on addressing racism and creating
inclusion and equity at SOC;
● The creation of new internal and external initiatives funded by the Dean’s Office, the Inclusion Team and the SOC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee;
● A continued priority to improve our internal processes for increasing equity and
inclusion for staff and faculty;
● A continued priority on training and assessment opportunities within SOC
● A continued priority on diversifying our curricula and instruction to incorporate a broader range of perspectives.
● Continued support of opportunities for students from underserved communities to gain access to the media and communications professions.


RACE Matters Grants for AY 2020 - 2021
The following projects were awarded the RACE Matters Grant for their dynamic and meaningful efforts to address racism and create diversity, equity and inclusion at SOC.


2nd and K: Virtual Documentary
Professor Laura Waters Hinson
This grant will assist in funding a film that is part of the Community Voice Project. It highlights some of the most pressing challenges around racial inequity, including homelessness, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and media access for all within the DC community. The film provides a platform for those facing housing insecurity to tell their own stories.

“Let’s Talk About R.A.C.E.” Student Engagement Series
SOC Office of Student and Academic Affairs
This series of three 90-minute virtual panels, moderated by SOC staff and students, will discuss the intersectionality of race and representation in the media. Panels will be followed by a discussion designed for students to think about their own experience with these issues both personally and as students in SOC as well as provide the school with valuable feedback about how SOC can contribute to the conversation. Whitney Maddox, NPR’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Manager, will facilitate all three of the discussions with students. Register for the March event here.

Dog Whistles: The Role of Implicit Violent Rhetoric in the Motivation of Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism Research Study
Professor Kurt Braddock
This grant will support a detailed and pertinent research study that examines whether implicit violent rhetoric from public leaders can lead to violent extremism toward marginalized racial and ethnic groups.

Spotlight on Student Media Leaders Website and Social Media Campaign
SOC Communications Office
This grant will support the publication of an engaging and meaningful website story series and social media campaign to profile student leaders committed to advancing DEI. The campaign will increase connections between SOC and student groups and make students from all backgrounds feel represented, seen and heard.

Resource Bank for a Diversity and Equity course: COMM 365 (Digital Media and Culture)
Professor Pat Aufderheide and Professor Saif Shahin
This grant supports the creation of a Canvas page to house resources to diversify the curriculum for COMM 365, which examines the central role digital media technologies play in culture and society, to ensure DEI remains central to this course.

Breaking Through: Conversations on Equity and Inclusion Across Media
Student/Alumnae Professional Development Series

SOC Communications Office
This grant will fund a three-part panel series, Breaking Through: Conversations on Equity and Inclusion Across Media. The series will provide SOC students an opportunity to connect with AU alumni and career professionals who can offer advice on navigating underrepresentation in media, tips for transitioning into their formal careers, and tools for “breaking through” barriers to equity. For more information, and to RSVP for sessions, visit the SOC website.

Charting a Path: How To Bring Diverse Approaches to Investigative Projects - Workshop For Journalists of Color
Investigative Reporting Workshop and SOC Journalism Division 
The Investigative Reporting Workshop, American University's Journalism Division and Morgan State University's School of Global Journalism & Communication will co-host "Charting a Path: How to Bring Diverse Approaches to Investigative Projects," a virtual seminar about the role of journalists of color in investigative reporting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET on March 24 via Zoom.The event moderator is Dwayne Bray, Senior Coordinating Producer, ESPN. Panelists include Dorothy Tucker, investigative reporter, WBBM-TV, Chicago; Robert Klemko, The Washington Post; and Alexia Fernandez Campbell, The Center for Public Integrity. Sam Fulwood III, the incoming Dean of the School of Communication, will welcome participants. The program is free but registration is requested through Eventbrite. College students and early-career journalists are encouraged to attend.

Anti-Muslim Bias in the Media and Society Panel Discussion
SOC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
The School of Communication’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee welcomes you to join us for a panel discussion entitled “Cultivating Fear: Anti-Muslim Bias in the Media and Society.” Panelists will include Muslim journalists, advocates, and researchers discussing their religious identity and how it intersects with their work, communities, and personal lives. RSVP for the event, taking place Tuesday, April 6 here.

For more information about the RACE Matters Initiative, contact SOC’s Office of
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at socinclusion@american.edu.