Pulitzer Center Update September 16, 2022

Hate Is a Virus

To the Plate documents Chinatown’s fight for safety and economic survival. Image by Annick Laurent and Gopika Ajay. United States, 2021.

Confronting Racism: Reporting Fellows Film Festival

At the start of the pandemic, two young New York restaurateurs, Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang, witnessed such intense xenophobia in Chinatown that they felt compelled to help. Seeing people who looked like them targeted, many food-insecure, they started Heart of Dinner, a mutual aid initiative to provide hot meals and care packages for Asian seniors. “No one is going to look out for your own people more than you,” Tsai and Chang say. Every Wednesday, they deliver thousands of meals in paper bags. Each one includes a note in Chinese saying, “We are thinking of you and we love you."   

Columbia Journalism School Reporting Fellow Alums Gopika Ajay and Annick Laurent tell the story of these two women in the film To the Plate. The documentary premiered in 2021 at the March on Washington Film Festival and will be screened at the virtual Pulitzer Center Autumn Reporting Fellow Film Festival on Tuesday, September 20, at 7:00pm EDT.

The festival will also feature The Friendliest Small Town in America, a film produced by Curtis Franklin, a Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism Post-Grad Reporting Fellow. Franklin explores the battle over a prominently displayed statue of Robert E. Lee in a downtown square of Murray, Kentucky. Sherman Neal II, a Black man who is an attorney and Marine veteran, called for its removal in June 2020. The Murray City Council, Murray State University, and the Calloway County fiscal court became involved. The aftermath is complicated; the story compelling.

You’re invited to view these films and take part in a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screenings. Libby Moeller, editorial coordinator for Reporting Fellows at the Pulitzer Center, will moderate the discussion. This virtual event is free, but please register here.

To see more work by students and alums from our Campus Consortium partners, click here. This year’s Fellows are covering a wide range of issues, including the health impacts of military activity on Guam, the benefits of farming the sun, and the use of biogas as an energy source. You’ll find articles, multimedia, and Field Notes that provide an inside look at the reporting process.




Amnesty International Canada announced on September 14 that the Pulitzer Center-supported project by Megan O’Toole and Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Toxic Legacy: The Fight to End Environmental Racism in Canada, is among the winners in the organization’s 27th Annual Media Awards. The project won in the Mixed Media category. Award recipients will be honored during a virtual ceremony on October 12, to be streamed on Amnesty International Canada's Facebook page. In 2020, O’Toole’s and Kestler-D’Amours’ project, Canada’s Pipeline Battle, won in the same Mixed Media category.
In more awards news, Pulitzer Center grantee and video journalist Phil Cox won the top prize in the 2022 Hinzpeter Awards for the short film The 'Spider-Man' of Sudan, co-produced by fellow grantee Rafa Renas. The awards were announced on September 13 at The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju, South Korea, which commemorates the Gwangju Uprising, mass protests against the South Korean military government in May 1980. The film gives a unique window into the October 2021 military coup in Sudan through the eyes of a demonstrator who became famous for wearing a Spider-Man costume while demonstrating against repression.

This message first appeared in the September 16, 2022, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.

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Racial Justice

Racial Justice