Open Society Foundations Name Soros Equality Fellows for 2017

The Open Society Foundations and George Soros have kicked off a new initiative in the field of racial justice with the inaugural Soros Equality Fellows for 2017. The fellowships will look to develop new ways to overcome racial and gender disparity arising from discrimination in the United States.

This March, the project chose seven winners from more than a thousand applicants from the fields of art and media. The criteria asked applicants to submit projects that “recognizes the enduring power of language, image, media the arts, and public opinion to combat or perpetuate discrimination against immigrants and people of color in the United States and across the globe; and prioritizes the dismantling of structures that perpetuate discrimination and limit access over the targeting of individual actors who engage in discrimination.” These proposals covered a wide range of topics such as LGBT rights, race, and Islamophobia. The Fellows are granted from $80,000 to $100,000 for up to eighteen months to actualize their proposals. Beyond funding specific projects, the program will promote leadership development and continued support with the objective of creating the next generation of social justice leaders. Fellows will be provided with leadership training and networking opportunities to carry on activities beyond their initial projects. Learn more about his profile at

These are the 2017 Soros Equality Fellows awardees:

Alice Hom is the Director of Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy’s Queer Justice Fund and winner of the Lamda Book of the Year Award. Ms. Hom Is going to record oral histories of the struggles of queer and Trans people of color to be digitally archived.

Deepa Iyer is a south Asian activist and author of We Too Sing America. She will create a web-based platform to share resources among social justice organizations to aid in organizing community action.

Leah Penniman is co-director of Soul Fire Farm and teaches at Darrow School. Penniman will train farm activists to organize for farm worker rights especially in the Third World.

Purvi Shah is an attorney that works with the Black Live Matters movement. He will create a center to promote collaboration among lawyers working on racial justice issues.

David Felix Sutcliffe is a documentary filmmaker and winner of a Sundance Film Festival Award for his work, Terror. Mr. Sutcliffe will produce a musical about media’s role in spreading Islamophobia, along with a series of videos on the role of discrimination in current events.

Rachel Swarns is a correspondent for the New York Times, and author of American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. She will author a work on what part slavery played at Georgetown University.

Hank Willis Thomas is a photographer who will create advertising campaigns to elicit a new racial narrative in the United States.

Read more at Politico about George Soros.

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