Meet our grantee:
Type of grant:Movement-led Pop Culture Narrative Strategies
Define American is a media and culture organization that proactively reshapes the cultural conversation on immigration to root it in empathy and mutual understanding. Founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas, the organization sees media as one of the most powerful tools for creating wide-scale change. Recognized by Fast Company as “one of the most innovative companies in the world, Define American has consulted on more than 45 films and television projects on networks and platforms including ABC, NBC, Netflix and Hulu.”
In this urgent time of hateful and xenophobic sentiment, Define American will strengthen their efforts to advance just narratives about immigrant communities and immigration in mass culture over the long-term and around key rapid response moments, such as the 2019 #Free21Savage campaign. The organization’s key strategies involve production of content that tells complex and authentic stories of immigrants’ lives, and partnering with content creators understand to advance just narratives about immigrants in popular culture.
In this moment, there is no greater question that we can ask ourselves than how we define what it means to be “American.” While Pop Culture is continually answering this question for us, Define American challenges news and entertainment media to think deeply about how they are navigating the narrative waters of the immigrant experience in our country today.—Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Managing Director of Creative Initiatives