Pulitzer Center Update June 24, 2022

The Power of Words

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Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque
2021 Reporting Fellow Alum Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque celebrates his graduation from City Colleges of Chicago. Image by Denika Wilson.

Every year, the Pulitzer Center invites K-12 students around the world to uplift urgent, underreported issues by writing poems that include lines from one of our news stories. This year's winning poems in the Fighting Words Poetry Contest were selected from among 950 entrants in eight countries, 27 U.S. states, and Washington, D.C.

A poem by the first-place winner, 10th-grader Jamar Jackson, reckons with gun violence in his community: Chicago’s South Side. North Carolina eighth-grader Irene Jin's poem reflects on the proliferation of AI in South Korea. Costa Rica 10th-grader J Valverde Pacheco's poem highlights the pandemic's toll on crematorium workers in India. Other contest winners, representing grades 4-12, wrote about the war in Ukraine, climate change, Indigenous land defenders, Confederate monument defacement, and more. We invite you to explore their powerful words and voices here.

And more celebration of student voices: We are thrilled to announce that the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) named Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque the national winner of an SPJ Mark of Excellence Award in the “in-depth reporting” category for colleges with enrollment under 10,000. Hoque, a Rohingya refugee and our 2021 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow from City Colleges of Chicago, reported on the Rohingya diaspora in the United States. He also wrote a detailed personal account of his own seven-year journey from Myanmar to the U.S., by way of Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

Hoque graduated from Harry S Truman College in May and will attend Northeastern Illinois University in the fall. The Pulitzer Center has organized multiple virtual school visits, 13 to be exact, where he engages with K-12 students in his reporting. Several teachers have said his visit was a highlight of their year.

SPJ honors the best in campus journalism (graduate and undergraduate). When Hoque learned that he had won the SPJ award, he wrote, “As a stateless Rohingya, I never thought I could achieve something like this. In my home country, I could never imagine going to school, but it didn’t stop me. I found my voice through writing in a place where everyone gave up hope.” Congratulations, Imran!

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After a Pulitzer Center-supported investigation by the Sun Sentinel, the police force in Boca Raton, Florida, has announced plans to prohibit the use of facial recognition technology “to identify individuals engaged in political, religious, or other protected free speech.”

The South Florida Sun Sentinel and Pulitzer Center journalists used Florida’s “Public Records Law” to access facial recognition searches run by local police as demonstrations took place in Broward and Palm Beach counties in May and June 2020. Those records revealed that at least three agencies submitted more than a dozen images referencing protests or protesters, despite no crimes being committed.

This message first appeared in the June 24, 2022, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.

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Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees