Join the Virtual Discussion on “Truth, Resilience, and Democracy” at the Ifill Forum

How will we do the work of imagining a more just future?

On Saturday, November 6, the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities will host the Annual Ifill Forum. This signature event carries on the legacy of Gwen Ifill '77, '93HD by bringing together important national voices for a public conversation on key issues of the day. The virtual format is free and open to the public and allows us to expand our reach and welcome participants to the national conversation.

This year’s Forum honoree is Robin Roberts, journalist, author, host, and anchor of Good Morning America. Roberts will receive the 2021 Gwen Ifill Next Generation Award, which recognizes the work of a leader who embodies Gwen Ifill’s legacy by making an impact in their field through professional excellence and mentoring.

With more than 30 years of experience as a producer, reporter, and radio and television anchor, Roberts exemplifies the boundary-breaking work this award promotes. Her many accolades include the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, induction to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

headshot of Michele Norris, Washington Post columnist
Michele Norris

The award will be presented to Roberts by fellow journalist Michele L. Norris, one of the most trusted voices in journalism. Norris is a contributing columnist for The Washington Post opinion page, author of The Grace of Silence, and former host of National Public Radio’s afternoon magazine show, All Things Considered.

During the past year and a half, a global pandemic profoundly changed daily life, amplified inequities, and required extraordinary individual and community resilience. At the same time, a long-awaited racial reckoning fundamentally challenged US democratic institutions in the face of systematic voter suppression, an armed insurrection in the capital, and police violence in BIPOC communities. The theme of the Forum, “Truth, Resilience, and Democracy,” speaks to the current social and political climate in this nation. The panel will tackle important questions about resilience in democratic institutions and the possibilities for community, racial justice, and civic life in a post-pandemic era.

Kevin Merida, Executive Editor LA Times
Kevin Merida

The panel will feature Roberts, as well as Kevin Merida, Executive Editor of the LA Times and a member of the 2020-2021 Dean's Advisory Council of the Ifill College. Previously, Merida was a senior vice president at ESPN and editor in chief of the Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports, and culture.

Simmons University Associate Professor Traci Griffith will moderate the panel. Professor Griffith is a former correspondent and national editor for the Associated Press and now a media ethicist, community-engaged scholar, certified DEI expert, and student mentor.

“The Ifill Forum pays tribute to Gwen Ifill by asking difficult questions and engaging in national conversations around justice and democracy,” says Dean Brian Norman. “Her legacy continues to inspire us to educate the next generation of leaders, storytellers, and trailblazers.”

Previous Forum themes and award recipients include “Facing Hard Truths,” with writer, producer, director, and founder of Array Now, Ava DuVernay (2020), and “Race, Media, and Democracy,” with journalist and Whitehouse Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, Yamiche Alcindor (2019).

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