WASHINGTON, DC – Michael Brown. Freddie Gray. Eric Garner. These are just three names that have dominated news coverage in the past year. Different stories and different circumstances, provoking similar conversations about race on a national and international level. They underscore the reality that America’s deepest wound is far from healed, according to PBS.
Meanwhile, debates about immigration and citizenship have left many feeling alienated and angry on all sides of the issues. A recent New York Times / CBS News poll shows that the majority of Americans think race relations are bad.
With all of that in mind, the PBS NewsHour with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff has launched a yearlong series focusing on diversity, divisions and various efforts and ideas to bridge and heal these issues. This series includes a deep look at the enduring and painful issues we will call Race Matters. On broadcast and online, NewsHour will host conversations on finding solutions to the painful divides that continue to plague our communities.
Returning to the NewsHour to take a leading role in this project is special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault. The series will take viewers throughout the United States to the Americans having tough conversations on these important issues and will feature experts on race relations and their proposals for how to address race-fueled issues. This is a periodic series that will air on the program frequently throughout the year.
Additionally, a new online space curating these discussions and ideas around Race Matters will grow more robust and interactive in the coming weeks as we expand the ideas, debates and personal narratives that illustrate the challenges and solutions to these critical issues.
“From time to time, tragic incidents such as the Charleston shooting or the murders of black men by police cause what amounts to a cacophony of conversations about race and all that is wrong. But rarely is there any focus on solutions, and yet, solutions exist,” said Hunter-Gault. “I want to shed light on those with the hope of helping to narrow the racial divide that has plagued our country since its founding.”
“From America’s most shameful history of slavery to the deep inequalities of today, race and diversity are at the core of some of the country’s most painful discussions,” said PBS NewsHour Executive Producer and Senior Vice President Sara Just. “We look forward to having Charlayne return to the NewsHour in our ongoing commitment to shining a light on people and ideas that offer insight, and even hope on difficult issues.”
The first initiative in this series aired in June with a timely debut segment interviewing Charleston Mayor Joe Riley days after the murders at Emmanuel AME Church. Slated to make broadcast tonight (Tuesday, September 1, 2015) is a conversation with Harvard University Visiting Professor Raj Chetty about his research into race and community (check local listings).
In addition, PBS NewsHour Extra will develop a curriculum featuring some of the material from the interviews and research done by some of the experts profiled in the reports.