(Washington D.C./April 4, 2014) – The Race Card Project received a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in electronic communications for turning a pejorative phrase into a productive and far-reaching dialogue on a difficult topic. It began as a small experiment encouraging people to talk about race by sharing Six Word essays on their personal experiences or observations. The Six Word Stories that poured into the mailbox and the online inbox became the basis for a series of reports on NPR’s morning edition, exploring identity, prejudice, pride and equality.
NPR Journalist Michele Norris created the project in 2010 to foster a conversation that would allow people to talk across their differences. “The Race Card Project is honored that the Peabody Awards recognizes the work we are doing to create a vehicle for people to tell their stories and to learn about life as lived by others who don’t share their skin color or religion or zip code or outlook,” said Michele Norris. “I would like to thank the more than 50,000 people from all over the world who have shared their Six Word essays with us; brick by brick they have created an amazing archive of people’s experiences and attitudes on race.”
Michele Norris shares the Peabody award with a team at The Race Card Project and NPR’s Morning Edition news magazine. The Race Card Project crew includes content administrator Melissa Bear, web designer Adrian Kinloch and web developer Dave Patrick. The Race Card Project radio segments were produced by Walter Ray Watson working closely with Morning Edition executive producer Tracy Wahl, Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep, and editor Chuck Holmes and Senior Vice President for News, Margaret Low Smith.
Norris began The Race Card Project in 2010 while promoting her book, “The Grace of Silence,” a family memoir exploring her family’s struggle in talking about complex and painful experiences with race in America. “I knew I would be asking people to engage in a conversation about race when I began doing lectures and public talks about my book,” Norris said. “I thought I needed something to encourage people to participate in a dialogue about a subject that often sends people running for the hills.”
Norris decided to quite literally play The Race Card, by printing postcards that asked people to share their Six Word thoughts on race. Tens of thousands of submissions later, it is clear that Norris and the team at The Race Card Project have earned America’s trust on a thorny topic. The Six Word submissions are featured on a website that provides a window into America’s private conversations about race and cultural identity. As such, the website has been used by schools, businesses, churches and even the military to foster dialogue about race.
A key stage in the development of the project was the move online. The Race Card Project’s designer, Adrian Kinloch, created a web-based space for submitting, presenting, and discussing the Six Word essays. The result is an archive of thousands of thoughts on race, tagged and searchable by key themes and developed with maximum accessibility and sharing in mind. This online engagement has helped spur the Race Card Project’s successful partnerships with other institutions and organizations.
Norris said she is enormously proud of her tight-knit team that believed in the power of the project from day one. “We worked hard through several twists and turns to create an online environment where people would feel comfortable,” Norris said. “We wanted people to feel like they had stepped into a warm and inviting space. We knew tone was important and recognized early on that the Project could grow organically into a deeper conversation.
Our goal was to create an online space that said, ‘Pull up a chair, get comfortable, tell us your story.’” “To be honest, this is not always a comfortable space for us,” Norris explained. “We deal with a lot of pain and anger and angst and anxiety. But there is also humor and uplifting moments and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that we have provided a place for people to share their truth.” In addition to the continued partnership with National Public Radio, The Race Card Project has joined with University of Michigan, The City of Minneapolis, University of Oregon, Seattle Community Colleges, ProPublica and The Brooklyn Museum of Art to continue the conversation.
The rich material collected through The Race Card Project has been used to encourage dialogue in a variety of platforms including art installations, theatrical productions and video.
Since 1940 the Peabody Award has steadily grown from being the “Pulitzer Prize for Radio” to recognizing excellence in a wide range of electronic media. The award is administered by The University of Georgia.
ABOUT THE RACE CARD PROJECT: The Race Card Project encourages people to condense their observations and experiences about race into one sentence with just Six Words. Since it began in 2010, the Project has received tens of thousands of Six Word stories from all over the world. The Race Card Project has earned a deep well of trust on a thorny topic as evidenced by the candor and depth of the submissions. The Six Word essays featured on the website, theracecardproject.com, provide a window into America’s private conversations about race and cultural identity. As such, the website has been used by schools, businesses, churches and even the military to foster a dialogue about race. The Six Word Stories are also featured regularly in reports by Michele Norris on NPR’s Morning Edition. The Race Card Project team is consistently amazed by the candor and emotional depth of the submissions collected via the award winning website, www.theracecardproject.com.
For More Information Contact: Melissa Bear (443) 465-6705 firstname.lastname@example.org