In an indistinct office tucked in a corner of Von Kleinsmid Center library, USC librarian Elizabeth Galoozis explains the objective for her recent and completely distinct, lively and surprising Visions and Voices event, "Talking Race: Social Media and Social Justice." She wanted to create a "sort of real life podcast."
Inspiration stemmed primarily from two podcasts to which she frequently listens, including "Code Switch," an NPR podcast explicitly about race, and "Politically Re-Active," which focuses mainly on politics but also often takes on issues of race.
Both podcasts grabbed Galoozis's attention in 2016, when they addressed the phenomenon of how the Black Lives Matter movement was spreading through Twitter. In that year—before the presidential election and the Twitter-finger-happy Trump's arrival in the White House—she decided to propose programming a Visions and Voices panel on the usage of social media and its capacities for igniting conversation about race and social justice.
In 2016 and since, social media has been used to organize Black Lives Matter protests on streets and parks in many cities. Galoozis imagined a panel that would expose how and why. She turned to "Code Switch" and its team member, Karen Grigsby Bates, to Meredith Clark, who is the only person who has written a dissertation on Black Twitter, and to Feminista Jones, an African American activist who is exceptionally savvy about social media's power to influence and affect change. She then tapped Félix Gutiérrez, professor emeritus from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, to be moderator.
Galoozis reasoned the panel would be balanced, because Bates represented the traditional media platform through NPR, Meredith Clark came from an academic point of view, and Feminista Jones is more of an activist herself. The mix of different perspectives would give the panel a chance to have a dynamic and unexpected discussion. She wanted the conversation to play like a podcast and engage people.
"I want people to think about perspectives different from the ones they are used to," she said.
"Talking Race: Social Media and Social Justice" took place on March 27 in Doheny Memorial Library.