The “Matter of Fact Listening Tour,” hosted by Soledad O’Brien, continues its exploration of difficult issues surrounding race and equity in a new digital presentation, “To Be An American: Identity, Race And Justice.”

Watch the special in the player at the top of this page.

Throughout the 90-minute program, a diverse lineup of guests from academia, literature and entertainment 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. 

Guests include: 

  • Dr. Ray Block, Jr., Penn State Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies
  • Gina Brillon, the Bronx-born comedian, winner of NBC’s Stand up for Diversity contest
  • Lydia X. Z. Brown, disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, writer and White House honoree
  • Raj Chetty, Harvard University William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics and Director of Opportunity Insights, which uses data to identify barriers to economic opportunity
  • Stefanie DeLuca, James Coleman Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of Coming of Age in the Other America
  • Eric Foner, Columbia University DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, specializing in the Civil War and reconstruction, slavery and 19th century America
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University and recipient of sixteen book prizes, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and creator of the 1619 Project
  • Shaka King, acclaimed filmmaker and director of the Warner Bros. motion picture Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute
  • Dr. Lilliana Mason, University of Maryland, College Park, Associate Professor of Government and Politics, author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity
  • Nikki Pitre, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
  • Ilyasah Shabazz, educator, activist, author and daughter of civil rights leader Malcolm X
  • Jose Antonio Vargas, journalist, filmmaker, immigration rights activist and author
  • Edgar Villanueva, Principal, Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital; author of Decolonizing Wealth
  • Bruce Western, Bryce Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University
  • Valerie Rawlston Wilson, Director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy
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