Ever wonder what holds America together? Or for that matter, what it means to be an American?

Explore those questions through the lens of race, identity and justice in a special livestreamed event Thursday evening — the Matter of Fact Listening Tour.

Guests like Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times’ 1619 Project explain their struggle to tell stories about race and identity.

“My American story is working as a journalist, only wanting to become a journalist because I wanted to write about racism and Black folks. And 10 years ago, nearly being pushed out of the industry because I was told that I was biased, and that wanting to write about racism or racial inequality was a sign of my bias, and that our readers didn’t want to read those types of stories. Luckily, I didn’t listen to them and eventually wound up at The New York Times, where last year I was awarded the Pulitzer Prize on the same day as my shero Ida B. Wells — both of us for writing the stories about Black folks,” she said.

Join us Thursday evening for the Matter of Fact Listening Tour, “To Be An American: Identity, Race and Justice,” hosted by Soledad O’Brien.

The special program will stream beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on matteroffact.tv and other Hearst websites.

This presentation of the Listening Tour features a diverse lineup of guests from academia, literature and entertainment. They will share personal stories, essays and insights to bring greater understanding to the complex topic of race, identity and belonging. Matter of Fact contributors Jessica Gomez and Joie Chen will provide reports and interviews from around the country, while veteran journalist Ray Suarez will chronicle the history of Chinese Americans who helped build U.S. railroads but were denied citizenship. Viewers will be challenged to address questions such as, “What unites the United States, and what is it that truly makes America exceptional?” The program will open with a citizenship pop quiz, which encourages viewers to think about what those not born in this country must learn in order to become Americans.

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