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Open Society Foundations Announce 2023 Soros Equality Fellows

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today announced the 2023 cohort of Soros Equality Fellows. The diverse group of fellows includes documentary filmmakers, authors, journalists, a podcast host, and a comedian. 

Working from places like Asheville, Chicago, and Tucson, the fellows will take on a range of issues at the core of Open Society’s work advancing racial justice. Their projects will focus on a range of policy issues that disproportionately harm BIPOC communities, including government surveillance programs, artificial intelligence, and environmental waste management practices.  

“As we navigate the many challenges, both new and unfamiliar, to advance racial justice, we are proud to support the remarkable individuals pushing for real and lasting change that is representative of the inclusive multiracial democracy we aspire to become,” said Andrew Maisel, a senior program officer at Open Society-U.S. “This seventh cohort of Soros Equality Fellows brings a vision, passion, and creativity to this work that is necessary and truly inspiring.”  

Founded in 2017, the Soros Equality Fellowship program supports innovators and risk takers striving to create and develop new ways of tackling the systemic causes and symptoms of racial disparity and discrimination. 

The 2023 Soros Equality Fellows will receive stipends of $130,000 for their projects over the course of 18 months, along with networking and other professional support aimed at strengthening new ideas in the racial and social justice movement. 

Applications for the 2024 cohort of fellows will open on November 27th. 

The 2023 Soros Equality Fellows 

Sayu Bhojwani will advise practitioners and create written materials on sustainable leadership practices and collective power for cohorts of women of color in electoral politics and organizing. 

Assia Boundaoui will design an interactive installation and build out an arts-based co-creation methodology to address intergenerational trauma caused by targeted state surveillance of Muslim-American communities across the United States.  

Ruxandra Guidi will produce a narrative podcast, Happy Forgetting, that tells untold stories about racial justice victories in the United States.  

Tahir Hemphill will produce a variety of data-based tools to analyze Hip Hop and study the racial bias implications of machine Learning / artificial Intelligence models to address issues of how technology can reinforce racial bias and erode belonging in a democratic society. 

Jeffrey Neal will address the systemic racism of current waste management systems to produce better health outcomes for BIPOC communities.  

Anshantia Oso will produce a style guide and accompanying educational programming for media organizations on how to speak about Black women and girls in a way that provides dignity, integrity, and belonging in representations in text and media. 

Tsanavi Spoonhunter will produce a documentary film entitled Holder of the Sky about the struggle for indigenous sovereignty in Wisconsin. 

Rev. Erica Williams will produce a series of events serving as a national truth commission on conditions faced by poor Black women and girls.  

W. Keith Young will facilitate the creation of the Reparations Stakeholder Authority of Asheville, managing the distribution of monetary reparations to Black citizens and educating the public about the historical injustices of slavery and systemic racism. This initiative will also serve as a model, paving the way for the establishment of similar authorities in regions across the country. 

Maysoon Zayid will create comedic content, including a feature-length mockumentary, entitled Majdoleen, that aims to educate the public about issues of disability rights and cultural and religious belonging through humor and popular culture.  

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