Michele Norris Journalist, Author, and Instigator
Founder, The Race Card Project
Contributing Columnist, The Washington Post
Michele Norris is one of the most trusted voices in journalism. She is a contributing columnist for The Washington Post opinion page and her voice will be familiar to followers of public radio, where from 2002 to 2012 she was a host of National Public Radio’s afternoon magazine show, All Things Considered. She later served as a special correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.
In 2010, Michele started The Race Card Project where she asked people around the world to share their experiences, questions, hopes, and dreams, laments, and observations about identity –in just six words–as the starting point for conversations about race.
In partnership with NPR, Michele produced a series of powerful radio segments based on Race Card Project narratives that were honored with a Peabody Award. In 2015 she left NPR to devote more time to building The Race Card Project’s vast narrative archive. The project has archived more than 500,000 stories and has been used by hundreds of schools, businesses, churches, museums, and even the justice department and the US military to foster dialogue and deep examination of how racial dynamics work in institutions. Michele is also the author of The Grace of Silence, a book that examines how hidden narratives around race can have a profound and lasting impact.
Before joining NPR, Michele worked for a decade as a television correspondent for ABC News in the Washington bureau. Prior to that, she was a staff writer for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the LA Times. She has also done reporting projects for Time, National Geographic, PBS and Lifetime Television.
Norris has won Emmy and DuPont and Livingston awards for her work. She has also received a National Dialogue Award for fostering difficult conversations across political and ideological differences. She serves on the Peabody Awards board of directors.
Norris is married to Broderick Johnson. They have three children and reside in Washington, DC.
The Race Card Project™
In 2010, journalist Michele Norris began inviting people to distill their thoughts on the word race to only six words. Printing 200 postcards and issuing a call to action, Norris and her team were unsure of what – if anything – would result. What took root was a groundswell. With just a small footprint, it was clear Norris created a vehicle for expression and voice for which it seemed many were longing. Today, more than 500,000 personal narratives, from all 50 states and 96 countries have been collected. People often send backstories and photos to share more about what is behind their six-word statements. Many of these essays contain sentiments and hard truths rarely expressed out loud. In 2013, the Race Card Project was awarded the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in electronic communications for turning a pejorative phrase into a productive dialogue on a difficult topic.