In a hot and dusty field surrounded by cattle, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a man stirs the hot syrupy stew that is the makings of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that contributed to the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans last year alone. In a stunning three-part series by grantees Monica Villamizar and Zach Fannin, which aired on PBS NewsHour, you’ll see every appalling consequence of this deadly drug, from the armed children serving in local militias in backwater Mexico to the families of overdose victims in Arizona.
Getting stories like this is dangerous, time-consuming, difficult, and expensive. It is also important, bringing information we need on issues too often hidden in the shadows but affecting us in a myriad of ways. We had a number of such stories among Pulitzer Center projects published recently.
Grantee Hyury Potter’s 5,000-word exposé for Intercept Brazil revealed the illegal permitting, government corruption, destruction of protected Indigenous lands, and a secret air strip behind the industrial-scale Amazon gold mine that is generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Grantee May Jeong, writing for The Cut, documents a culture of rampant sexual harassment and assault among the humanitarian agencies of the United Nations—and the U.N.’s toothless response. Grantee William Freivogel, in a meticulously documented account, shows that in St. Louis, citizen deaths in police chokeholds and no-knock raids remain common, and largely unreported, a full seven years after the police killing of Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson helped fuel the rise of Black Lives Matter.
Over the past two years we have been exploring the roots of racial injustice, as the lead education partner for The New York Times on The 1619 Project. On Facebook’s Lift Black Voices hub, starting today, we are sharing a compelling set of readings, videos, curricular materials, and quizzes drawn from The 1619 Project. Please join the conversation!
Our award-winning journalism and educational resources have the power to make a difference—and so does your voice! Will you take our five-minute survey (available in English, bahasa Indonesia, French, Portuguese, and Spanish) and help us better understand what reporting and programming matters most to you?
This message first appeared in the September 21, 2021, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.