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Big, If True Series On Tech & The Pandemic

Race, Xenophobia, and COVID-19

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Date and time
Friday, April 17, 2020

Explore how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, fueled xenophobia, and harmed marginalized groups. How can policymakers, civil society, and media mitigate against discrimination by shining a light on health disparities? What does xenophobia look like in a time of social distancing? How has misinformation and disinformation inflamed these divides? And what can journalists do to surface these tensions without compounding the problem? COVID-19 won’t be the last global crisis, but how we respond to these questions may make all the difference. ProPublica reporters, Akilah Johnson and Talia Buford, who are covering the data on health outcomes across communities of color, Marita Etcubañezs, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Lisa Nakamura, Professor and Director of the Digital Studies Institute at University of Michigan, and Gabby Lim, Researcher, Technology and Social Change Research Project, Shorenstein Center, dicuss the impacts of the pandemic on inequalities. This talk is part of the [_Big, If True_](https://forum-network.org/series/big-if-true-series-tech-pandemic/) webinar series hosted by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., who heads up the [**Technology and Social Change Research Project** (TaSC)](https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/areas-of-focus/technology-social-change/) at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Image courtesy of Flickr

Akilah Johnson is a narrative health care reporter for ProPublica. Previously she covered the intersection of race, politics, youth, and immigration for The Boston Globe. She shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and was Pulitzer finalist as a member of the Globe's Spotlight Team investigation into racism in Boston. Her reporting has won a number of other national awards including NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards, ONA's Knight Award for Public Service, and a National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation. Before her time at the Globe, Akilah covered education and public safety for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and alum of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University.
Talia Buford covers disparities in environmental impacts for ProPublica. Previously, she was an environment and labor reporter at The Center for Public Integrity, where her work focused mostly on wage theft and the Environmental Protection Agency’s lackluster enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. She also covered energy for POLITICO Pro, and started her career covering municipal and legal affairs at The Providence (R.I.) Journal. She earned a master’s degree in the study of law from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Hampton University.
Marita is director of strategic initiatives for Advancing Justice | AAJC. Prior to joining Advancing Justice | AAJC, Marita was director of legal services for the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center in Washington, D.C. Her 10 years of experience providing direct legal services to low-income communities includes advocating on behalf of migrant and seasonal farm workers with Texas Rural Legal Aid, as well as working with labor pool workers as part of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore. Marita holds a law degree and bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan. She is admitted to practice in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor in the Department of American Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and founding Director of the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. She has faculty affiliations with the Departments of English, Film, Television, and Media, Women and Gender Studies, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Studies Program.
Gabrielle Lim is a researcher with the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, as well as a fellow with Citizen Lab. She researches information controls and security, with a focus on disinformation and media manipulation. In 2019, she was an Open Technology Fund Information Controls fellow at Data & Society. She also was an Open Society Foundations grantee in 2017, completing a research project on far-right activity on Twitter. In 2018, she received a Masters of Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.
Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, disinformation and media manipulation. Donovan received her Ph.D in Philosophy from UC San Diego and is currently assistant Professor of Journalism & Emerging Media Studies at Boston University and founder of The Critical Internet Studies Institute, a non-profit that advocates for a public interest internet. Her latest book is MEME WARS: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America, with Emily Dreyfuss and Brian Friedberg.