CHICAGO (AP) — A historian dedicated to keeping alive the stories of long-dead victims of racial violence on the Texas-Mexico border and a civil rights activist whose mission is to ensure that those released from prison are safe enough to go to the polling station. Freelancer is this year’s MacArthur Fellow and is among the recipients of a “talent grant”.
The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday announced 25 recipients, each of whom will receive $625,000.
Historians and activists are part of an eclectic group that includes scientists, economists, poets and filmmakers. As in years past, the work of many recipients covers topics that have dominated the news – from voting rights to how history is taught in schools. Race figures feature prominently in the work of about half of them.
The unseen population is also visible – from the art historian who sheds light on the visual arts created by people behind bars to the visually impaired researcher developing tools to help the visually impaired access technologies and digital information.
The selection process for the MacArthur grant is shrouded in secrecy. Instead of applications, anonymous groups make nominations and recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.
He clearly had COVID-19 on his mind. It comes in handy for at least four recipients, including a computational biologist building tools to track and forecast the virus, and a physician-economist who works on COVID-19 for communities that distrust medical institutions. 19 are working to better communicate the need for a vaccine.
“As we emerge from the shadows of the past two years, this class of 25 Fellows helps us re-imagine what is possible,” said Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of Fellows of the Foundation.
Some recipients said efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic to change the way elections are conducted in the US and the way students are taught in school have added a sense of urgency to this year’s awards.
“There is clearly an organized effort by some people who do not want history to be learned,” said Monica Muoz Martinez, a historian at the University of Texas, Austin, to limit efforts in some states as educators discuss racism. Martinez was recognized because of his book “The Justice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas,” nearly a century before when hundreds of Mexicans and Mexican Americans were killed by vigilantes as well as Texas Rangers.
“This award is timely for me personally, to remain committed to ensuring that the public has access to truth, true history, even when it is disturbing[and]especially when that history gives us a better future.” can help create,” she said. said.
Desmond Meade, who led a campaign that resulted in the passing of a measure in Florida that restored voting rights to felons serving their sentences, said the recognition — and the money — gave him his work to help former prison inmates. will help to continue. Mead’s effort suffered a setback last year when a federal appellate court upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led legislature that Florida hooligans must pay all fines before they can gain the right to vote.
Meade noted that he struggled with drug addiction and homelessness and that he himself has spent time in prison.
“The country needs to see the stories of victory and the everyday regular people who are impacting their communities,” he said. “This (talent grant) means that every person in this country has the potential to do something great.”
Full list of 2021 companions:
- Hanif Abdurraqib, 38, Columbus, Ohio, music critic, essayist and poet creating a distinctive style of cultural and artistic criticism through the lens of popular music and autobiography.
- Daniel Alarcón, 44, New York, writer and radio producer who describes the social and cultural ties that connect Spanish-speaking communities across America.
- Marcella Alson, 44, Cambridge, Massachusetts, physician-economist is examining the role that the legacy of discrimination and the resulting mistrust play in perpetuating racial disparities in health.
- Trevor Bedford, 39, Seattle, computational virologists are developing tools for real-time tracking of the evolution of viruses and the spread of infectious diseases.
- Reginald Dwayne Bates, 40, New Haven, Connecticut, poet and lawyer who promotes the humanity and rights of individuals who are or are imprisoned.
- Jordan Castell, 32, New York, painter depicting everyday encounters with people of color that invite mutual recognition of our shared humanity.
- Don Mi Choi, 59, Seattle, poet and translator witnesses to the effects of military violence and US imperialism on the citizens of the Korean Peninsula.
- Ibrahim Sisse, 38, Pasadena, Calif., 38, Cellular biophysicist. Growth microscopy tools to investigate subcellular processes underlying genetic regulation and misfunction.
- Nicole Fleetwood, 48, New York, art historian and curator, articulates the cultural and aesthetic importance of the visual arts created by those in captivity.
- Cristina Ibarra, 49, Pasadena, Calif., documentary filmmaker creates nuanced narratives about border communities, often from the perspective of Chicana and Latina youth.
- Ibram X. Kendy, 39, Boston, American historian and cultural critic is leading the conversation about anti-black racism and the possibilities of reparation across a variety of initiatives and platforms.
- Daniel Lind-Ramos, 68, Loiza, Puerto Rico, sculptor and painter transforms everyday objects into montages that speak to the global connections rooted in Afro-Caribbean and diaspora heritage.
- Monica Muoz Martínez, 37, Austin, Texas, public historian brings to light long-standing unexplained cases of racial violence on the US-Mexico border and their echo in the present.
- Desmond Meade, 54, Orlando, Florida, civil rights activists working to restore voting rights to formerly jailed citizens and remove barriers to their full participation in civil life.
- Joshua Mille, 52, Berkeley, Calif., adaptive technology designer is developing tools that enable blind and visually impaired people to access everyday technologies and digital information.
- Michelle Monje, 45, Palo Alto, Calif., neurologist and neuro-oncologist who advances the understanding of children’s brain cancer and the effects of cancer treatment with an eye toward better treatments for patients.
- Safiya Noble, 51, Los Angeles, digital media scholar, highlights the ways digital technologies and Internet architecture amplify racism, sexism and harmful stereotypes.
- J. Taylor Perron, 44, Cambridge, Massachusetts, geomorphologist is reconstructing the physical processes that create landforms on Earth and other planetary bodies.
- Alex Rivera, 48, Pasadena, California, filmmaker and media artist exploring the issues of migration and exploitative labor practices with a worker orientation in the United States.
- Lisa Schulte Moore, 50, Ames, Iowa, landscape ecologist applying locally relevant approaches to improve soil and water quality and strengthen the resilience of row crop agriculture.
- Jesse Shapiro, 41, Providence, Rhode Island, applied microeconomists devising a new framework of analysis to advance understanding of media bias, ideological polarization, and efficacy of public policy interventions.
- Jacqueline Stewart, 51, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures/University of Chicago, Los Angeles, cinema studies scholar and curator ensures that the contributions of communities of unseen black filmmakers and audiences find a place in the public imagination.
- Keinga-Yamahatta Taylor, 49, Princeton, New Jersey, historian analyzes the political and economic forces underlying racial inequality and the role of social movements in transforming society.
- Victor J. Torres, 44, New York, microbiologists are investigating how bacterial pathogens overcome the immune system and identify potential treatments.
- Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, 70, Tallahassee, Florida, choreographer and dance entrepreneur harnesses the power of dance and artistic expression to elevate the voices of black women and promote civic engagement.