This year, we have been living through the collision of two interconnected crises, each long in the making: the crisis of systemic, racial injustice, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has, because of long-standing inequalities, disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.
At Emerson Collective, we know that there is no single solution for these challenges. That’s why, this fall, we set out to select a cohort of Emerson Collective Fellows who are working across domains on original, COVID-19-related projects that address systemic racial and economic inequality, reimagine our systems, and show us the path to a just recovery.
This new cohort is cross-disciplinary by design — our group includes a data journalist, epidemiologist, choreographer, chef, photographer, and visionary individuals working where these domains collide. What connects them all is a shared commitment to equity and justice — guiding principles for healthier and stronger communities.
We call this group the Recover and Renew Cohort. Their projects are helping us to recover from a deadly virus, to heal, and to nourish both our bodies, and our souls. And their projects are helping to renew, deepen, and actualize our commitment to one another. Through their work, we hope to begin to replace what has long been broken with something new.
Chef & Activist
Reem Assil is building Sumoud, a scalable apprenticeship program that trains food-industry workers to lead the effort to change the systems impacting their lives, and provides a replicable model for employee ownership and self-governance — a first step toward building a more equitable food system. Learn more >
Camille A. Brown
Choreographer & Educator
Camille A. Brown is creating a Social Dance for Social Justice School to provide free programming, both in person, and virtually, for education, cultural engagement, and mentorship during the pandemic, in an effort to provide opportunities for young artists of color, and to spread the joy of dance. Learn more >
Mona Chalabi is writing a book that explores income inequality in the age of COVID-19, elevating the human stories behind personal datasets, national statistics, and international comparisons, revealing how income determines how someone experiences the current economic and health crises. Learn more >
Mónica Feliú-Mójer is developing culturally relevant, Spanish-language resources to help Puerto Ricans stay safe during COVID-19. Ultimately, the project will serve as a new model for engaging other marginalized and underserved communities — especially Spanish speakers — with science. Learn more >
Anita Ho is examining the ethical issues raised by the use of health care data, digital surveillance, and artificial-intelligence technologies during COVID-19. She seeks to uncover biases in practices like contact tracing to show how surveillance technologies might exacerbate systemic inequities. Learn more >
Andrew Janss is expanding a new initiative to create paid opportunities for musical artists to provide live, virtual performances for ICU patients who are experiencing acute isolation during COVID-19, while also supporting performers whose livelihoods have been threatened by the pandemic. Learn More >
Lawyer & Bioethicist
Nia Johnson is studying the impact of COVID-19 in Flint, Michigan, to understand how it has compounded the harms of the ongoing water crisis. Ultimately, she hopes to propose a legal framework to compensate Flint residents for the combined devastation of two, historic public-health crises. Learn more >
Photographer & Filmmaker
Adam Perez is producing “Pandemic in the Heartland,” a photography and video project that captures the devastating impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities in California’s Central Valley, and highlights the residents, local organizations, and community leaders fighting to contain the disease. Learn more >
Physician & Advocate
Brie Williams is creating programming to educate people who work in America’s corrections system — epicenters of infectious disease — on the role that racism and educational injustice play in mass incarceration, in an effort to equip them to transform prisons into centers of rehabilitation. Learn more >
Epidemiologist & Journalist
Seema Yasmin is mapping the overlap of medical deserts and news deserts to reveal "double deserts" — regions where communities are doubly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to lack of access to health care and accurate health information — in an effort to inspire projects that address these inequalities. Learn more >
The Emerson Collective Fellowship aims to encourage people of exceptional talent to advance bold new projects in Emerson Collective’s priority areas: education, immigration, social justice, the environment, media, and health. The fellowship gives individuals autonomy to advance their current work, pursue exciting new chapters with unknown destinations, and make lasting breakthroughs.