2020 census: Defining the next decade

ASU's Knowledge Exchange for Resilience examines how Arizona performed and how mapping response rates might improve future accuracy

November 5, 2020

Amid new challenges posed by COVID-19, states struggled to increase their census self-response rates in 2020. 

Widely considered the most accurate method used in this once-in-a-decade population count, these rates stagnated nationwide around 67% and only reached 64% in Arizona, ranking 32nd nationally. In 2010, the census undercounted an estimated 16 million people nationwide. Assessing the 2020 census, the Urban Institute estimates up to about 100,000 Arizona residents might be missed. A photo of the 2020 census letter Photo by Enayet Raheem on Unsplash Download Full Image

This year census workers had about three months — as opposed to the usual five — to follow up with those who hadn’t already responded online, by phone or by mail. These counts are already less reliable than self-responses, as their accuracy depends upon a resident being home, in addition to being able to understand and willing to respond to the census worker’s questions.

And accuracy matters. Census counts are used to determine Congressional representation, draw local political districts and allocate more than $650 billion of federal funding each year. The Arizona Complete Count Committee estimates that every resident not counted represents an annual loss of $887 in federal funding for education, transportation and social services.

“Certain populations like renters, people of color, young children, rural and Indigenous communities are all typically undercounted,” said Patricia Solis, executive director of Arizona State University's Knowledge Exchange for Resilience. For these populations, an undercount can mean 10 years of underrepresentation and underfunded services.

Although Arizona as a whole exceeded its 2010 self-response rate, the rates varied widely among counties and census tracts.

The 2020 Census Response Rates for Arizona map, developed by the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience with support from Geospatial Research and Solutions and using a data feed from the U.S. Census Bureau, depicts self-response rates for each Arizona census tract. 

Map of 2020 census response rates for Arizona

“We wanted to be able to track in real time what areas of Arizona were having good response rates and which weren’t so that it would enable us to work with community partners in particular areas to encourage their residents to complete the census,” said Lora Phillips, postdoctoral research scholar for the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience. 

The map includes layers depicting response rates from 2010 and 2020 and a layer highlighting which census tracts achieved a rate of 25% or less.

“Looking ahead, it’s going to really benefit us to have in 2030 two previous data points and be adding a third, so we can see trends in certain neighborhoods,” she added. 

“The next step is to start adding other data layers that might help explain the trends that we’re seeing,” said Shea Lemar, geographic information system senior project manager at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

“Being able to compare these response rates over time will really help us make a plan and be more successful in completing the next census,” Phillips said.

Beyond the direct impact it has on Congressional representation and federal funding allocation, improving the accuracy of census counts influences planning and decision making in every sector.

In January, the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience hosted the 2020 Census Matters Symposium, gathering leaders from across the state and the country to discuss the local impact of the decennial census. Journalism professionals spoke to the data’s importance as a demographic baseline for fact-checking, while nonprofit leaders noted how it could be used to supplement grant proposals to address community needs.

In the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, census counts are used to inform population estimates and projections.

“The base is the decennial census, so without the decennial census, there’s nothing we can do,” said Jim Chang, Arizona state demographer.

Researchers and academics, too, rely heavily on census data. “Having access to more accurate census data means that we as scientists are able to improve our understanding of the kinds of needs, shocks and stresses our communities are experiencing,” Solis said.

“Professionals of all fields utilize census data all the time to make the world better for their citizens,” Lemar said. “It is one of the most important data sources in the United States.”

To explore the 2020 Census Response Rates for Arizona map, visit asu.maps.arcgis.com.

Abigail Johnson

Communications management intern, Knowledge Exchange for Resilience

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Tender and tenacious journalism

November 3, 2020

Must See Mondays brings journalists to a virtual roundtable to discuss tragedies, triumphs in disability reporting

Disability reporters must be tenacious.

Their stories, in-depth and data driven, can take months to report and their beat can take years to fully understand.

But the effort is worth it, according to four award-winning national disability reporters who spoke at an ASU virtual event on Nov. 2.

Because it forces change for the better.

That's why the National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ), which is headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, invited four winners of the 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability to discuss their work and impactful storytelling in an informative and exciting virtual event, part of the Cronkite School's Must See Mondays series.

The award was established in 2013 with the support of Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who has been blind since birth. The reporting contest is administered by the NCDJ at the Cronkite School.

“We had incredible entries for this year’s Katherine Schneider awards from media outlets around the world, on as many disability-related subjects as you can imagine. This is the only contest specifically designed to recognize exceptional coverage of journalism about disability, and the judges had a tough job this time, with more than 100 entries to consider,” said Amy Silverman, an award-winning Phoenix-based journalist and author, and a member of the NCDJ advisory board who has taught at ASU’s Cronkite School.

“The winners are truly remarkable, and the first place projects demonstrate a commitment both to gathering data and telling individual stories that show how much hard work we face as a society, even on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Silverman moderated a live Zoom event on Monday titled “The Best in Disability Reporting,” which included Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune, Jodi S. Cohen and Lakeidra Chavis of ProPublica Illinois, and Shelly Conlon of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Smith Richards, Cohen and Chavis placed first in the large media market category for “The Quiet Rooms,” an in-depth investigation by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. The project investigated the practice of isolating school children, many of whom have disabilities. The trio examined records from more than 100 school districts across Illinois and determined that while seclusion sometimes met the legal definition of the law, in many instances it was stretched or abused and children were cruelly punished.

“It turns out that this was an issue that had no real state oversight and lots and lots of schools were using them,” said Smith Richards, a veteran education reporter whose work has touched on everything from sexual abuse in schools to police accountability to school choice. “A lot of people who work in schools really don’t even know about these practices at all, but they have a really interesting history on seclusion and isolation that migrated from the psychiatric facilities.”

Smith Richards said her reporting team came across several names for the types of rooms where students with disabilities were isolated – Common Room, Reflection Room, Blue Room. They discovered that some of the rooms had padding while others had restraints.

“There are lots of names for them but the purpose is the same,” Smith Richards said. “That is to remove the student from contact with anybody else.”

Chavis said in addition to collecting “tens of thousands of pages” of data and information from school districts, they built their own documents and spreadsheets. These detailed incidents including the testimony of students, schools, staff members’ names and the disciplinary measures they took. Some disabled and nondisabled students were sent to seclusion for the smallest of infractions – including throwing a pencil in class.

“We felt it was very important to understand the type of distress they were going through while being placed in seclusion or being restrained,” Chavis said. “One of the most surprising things to me was the amount of distress the students were under while locked down inside of one of these rooms.”

Cohen said the day after the story published, the Illinois governor and the state board of education announced an immediate ban on locked seclusion and limited the use of floor restraints. The state also required school districts to submit to them three years’ worth of records about past use of seclusion and restraint.

“The key to this (story) was not to be traumatizing to anyone in the course of our reporting,” said Cohen, whose work has led to several higher education and police reforms in Chicago. “We always met with them (parents and students) on their own terms … we wanted to capture the children as complete children.”

Conlon, an award-winning journalist and education watchdog, penned a seven part series in 2019 called “Ignored: South Dakota is failing deaf children,” which won a first place Schneider award in the small media market category. The project explored how South Dakota’s education system failed to meet the needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“No matter what these families did, they kept hitting brick wall after brick wall, and their services at that time were being diminished,” Conlon said. “Their resources were being outsourced and it fell on the shoulders of the school district to be able to handle what was needed for these children to get a quality education. But they didn’t have the money and they didn’t have the training.”

Conlon said her quest to find answers took longer than usual because of South Dakota’s limited open records laws. That protection stretched from school district employees to government officials, and even to the police.

“We can’t even get the basic police report here,” Conlon said. “I had to rely heavily on parents who kept their child’s academic data … I also had to reach out to lawyers and support specialists tied to nonprofits to get a really full picture of what was happening because whenever I went to the school district, they would only tell me so much, cite privacy laws or would reject me completely.”

Conlon’s pursuit ultimately paid off. Days after the series was published, the superintendent for South Dakota’s School for the Deaf and School for the Blind and Visually Impaired announced her retirement. The board of regents also set up an advisory board to make the school more accountable and more focused on students' needs.

Smith Richards said she, Cohen and Chavis went through many emotions on their journey, even crying to each other at times. She said a helpful piece of advice from an editor continually resonated with her and helped get them through the rough spots.

“Stay angry,” she said. “Don’t let the information overwhelm (you). Stay angry so you can focus on that very important point.” 

Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

First Place: Lakeidra Chavis is a reporter for The Trace in Chicago, where most of her work focuses on the city's gun violence prevention efforts. Prior to The Trace, she reported for ProPublica Illinois and Chicago Public Media (WBEZ), where she reported an in-depth piece on how Chicago’s Black communities have been impacted by the opioid crisis.

First Place: Jennifer Smith Richards has been a reporter at the Chicago Tribune since 2015. Smith Richards has a specialty in data analysis and previously covered schools and education for more than a decade at newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia; Utica, New York; Savannah, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio. Her work has touched on everything from sexual abuse in schools to police accountability to school choice.

First Place: Jodi S. Cohen is a reporter for ProPublica Illinois, where she has revealed misconduct in a psychiatric research study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, exposed a college financial aid scam and uncovered flaws in the Chicago Police Department’s disciplinary system. Previously, Cohen worked at the Chicago Tribune for 14 years, where she covered higher education and helped expose a secret admissions system at the University of Illinois, among other investigations.

First Place: Shelly Conlon is an award-winning journalist who has covered education for more than seven years between Texas and South Dakota. She was also named an investigative reporting finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists Fort Worth chapter’s 14th annual First Amendment Awards in 2016 for uncovering how top-level officials knew of academic wrongdoings and administrative bullying months before seniors graduated without earning course credit properly. Currently, she is a watchdog education reporter for the largest paper in South Dakota, the Argus Leader. 

Second Place: Janine Zeitlin is an enterprise reporter for the USA Today Network-Florida, The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, BBC and elsewhere. She is the recipient of 50-plus journalism awards for public service, diverse coverage, investigative reporting, feature writing and community leadership.

Second Place: Mike Elsen-Rooney is an education reporter covering New York City public schools, the nation's largest school system, for the New York Daily News. Before that, he was a fellow for two years at Columbia Journalism School's Teacher Project, where he did deep-dive reporting on educational inequities across the country, and an intern at the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, education-focused newsroom. Elsen-Rooney is a former high school Spanish teacher and afterschool program coordinator.

Third Place: Ed Williams has worked as a journalist in the U.S. and Latin America for digital, print and radio media outlets since 2005. He spent seven years in public radio before joining Searchlight New Mexico as an investigative reporter, covering foster care, education and other issues. His work has won numerous national awards, including the 2019 Frank Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting. Williams was a 2016 USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellow, and he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010.

Third Place: Joseph Shapiro is a correspondent on NPR’s Investigations team. Among his wide areas of coverage, he has reported on disability issues for more than three decades. Shapiro is the author of "No Pity: People With Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement." His 2018 series “Abused and Betrayed”, on the epidemic of sexual assault of people with intellectual disabilities, won the Ruderman Award from the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University. 

Honorable Mention: Naaz Modan is an associate editor for Education Dive, a B2B publication for education leaders. She covers education policy, curriculum, school safety, equity issues and, most recently, the pandemic's impact on K–12. Prior to joining Education Dive, she freelanced for media outlets including CNN and Bustle, and has worked as the national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the executive editor of Muslimgirl.com.

Honorable Mention: Michael Schulson is a contributing editor at Undark Magazine, where he writes about the intersections of science, politics and culture. His recent work for Undark has included features on nursing-home reform, bias in psychology research and vaccination mandates. In 2020, he won an award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for his reporting on COVID-19, and, in 2017, he was a finalist for a Mirror Award at the Newhouse School. Schulson's reporting for Undark has been republished by NPR, Scientific American, Wired and many other outlets. 

Top photo: Winners of the 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. Clockwise from top left: Naaz Modan, Mike Elsen-Rooney, Lakeidra Chavis, Jennifer Smith Richards, Ed Williams, Shelly Conlon, Michael Schulson, Joseph Shapiro, Jodi S. Cohen and Janine Zeitlin. Courtesy of The National Center on Disability and Journalism at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU alumna reflects on her path to becoming Phoenix mayor's chief of staff

November 2, 2020

Lisa Fernandez became interested in politics early. Her mom, Charlene Fernandez, is well known in the world of Arizona politics, having worked for Congressman Ed Pastor, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and now serving as the Democratic leader of the Arizona House of Representatives. She said it was her upbringing that initially sparked her interest in politics, but her time at Arizona State University that motivated her to pursue a lifelong career in the field.

“I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I thought if I ended up teaching or if I went to law school, a political science degree would still work because it's so versatile. But then I found that it was a great program and I stuck with it because of the professors,” Fernandez said. “To me it really feels like it all started at ASU.” Lisa Fernandez, chief of staff for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and ASU alumna, will be inducted to The College Leaders this fall. Download Full Image

Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2009 from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Fernandez went straight into the campaign world. She spent a year in Washington, D.C., working as a staff assistant for her hometown congressman, Raúl Grijalva. She then moved up to the position of finance director, and eventually went on to serve as finance director for other organizations and campaigns including the Maricopa County Democratic Party, Arizona Democratic Party, Andrei Cherny for Congress and Cheri Bustos for Congress. 

She continued in politics for three years, working as campaign manager for Kate Gallego for City Council, as a campaign consultant for Ruben Gallego for Congress and as campaign manager for Greg Stanton for Mayor. In 2016 she briefly departed from politics, serving as the chief development officer of Educare Arizona. From September 2016 to March 2019 she served as the vice president of Resolute Consulting.

She made her return to politics in 2019, becoming the chief of staff for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Fernandez said her path has come full circle, serving on ASU’s Alumni Board and sitting in on the mayor’s quarterly meetings with ASU President Michael Crow.

“It's really interesting to engage with the president of the university, someone who I wouldn't have interacted with otherwise,” she said. “Getting to work with the university that helped bring me up is pretty unique and really exciting for me. ASU is all around us and involved in so many things. I've been really proud to see how the university has grown since I was there as a student.”

This fall, Fernandez will add The College Leaders to several other recognitions she’s received for her work over the years, including Arizona List’s Rising Star Award in 2015 and the American Association of Political Professionals 40 Under 40 in 2018.

She shared with ASU Now about her experiences at The College, challenges she's faced throughout her career and more.

Question: How did your program at ASU help prepare you for your career?

Answer: When I got into college, I assumed in political science you mostly just learn about campaigns. But you really get to see all aspects of the political process from doing campaigns and elections, to statistics, global politics, the origins of political systems and the history of it all. Although we're in a challenging and difficult time, there's always something that we can look back on that helps give us an idea of how we can move forward. So I do think there's a level of history and government background that helped prepare me for this. But really the experiences I had and the relationships I built at ASU gave me the outlet to get to know the candidates, volunteers and people who helped me elevate myself in the political world. 

Q: What is your favorite part about your chosen career path?

A: I think that most people who are in the role of chief of staff of a mayor of a large city like Phoenix have a very different background than I do. Some have 30 years of government experience, some have corporate backgrounds. Having campaigns as my background is very different. But understanding the politics and knowing how to engage and work with people, managing up, managing down and helping to work with the mayor, the city manager, the city council and our staff as well — it's a really unique job. I don't think there's another job like this in the city or in the state. It's so much fun and it's great, but I would say what's most exciting for me is being in this role and having a different background, being a native Arizonan and a Latina.

Q: Have you faced any challenges throughout your career? If so, how have you overcome them?

A: Being a young Mexican woman in the workplace can sometimes be challenging. I pride myself in being from rural Arizona, but sometimes being in the city of Phoenix with people who have been in Phoenix for generations can be challenging. I'm not always looked at as the same because I'm from Yuma. There have been times where I've been shut out of things, not listened to or ignored. There have been times where people have taken credit for my work or not given me proper credit for things. Throughout my career, I have absolutely been the only woman, the only minority and the youngest person in the room all at the same time. That's a challenge because you have to balance your experience, your perspective and your background that not only uniquely sets you up for that job, but gives you a perspective that you have to share with the room. But you have to be able to do it in a way where people are able to take your opinion, listen to it and use it. You just have to kind of roll with the punches, but overall, working hard and continuing to grow relationships and building people around you who are loyal to you is how you can continue to move up in whatever professional world you're in.

Q: What has been your biggest motivation to succeed professionally?

A: Knowing that everything we do here on a day-to-day basis helps improve the community is what drives me. It is the outside world that we want to change and we want to better our community. I also don't ever think about what's next in life or what's next in my career. I am really focused on what's right in front of me, and what's in front of me is trying to work with our team and the mayor to make Phoenix the best city it can be.

Q: What advice would you give to students in The College?

A: Really take the time to get to know your professors. Find the things you're passionate about and find outside work. Don't be afraid to volunteer your time. I've seen too many young people that were either in college with me or after who wouldn't take a position because it wasn't paid or wasn't exactly what they wanted or it wasn't glamorous. I did a lot of grunt work for a long, long, long time and am still not afraid to do it. If I have to jump on the phones here and talk with a constituent, I do it. And I know how to do that because I was kind of brought up on that. So the more work and time you put into doing the grunt work, the more it's going to pay off and you're going to have a better understanding of whatever it is you're doing.

Emily Balli

Communications Specialist and Lead Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

7th annual Hacks for Humanity goes virtual, attracts international participation

October 30, 2020

A biomedical engineering student in Arizona, a designer in New York, a nonprofit professional in Canada and a high school student in Israel wouldn’t typically find themselves in the same place at the same time before 2020. But this year, at Arizona State University's Project Humanities’ seventh annual Hacks for Humanity event, diverse groups like this worked together virtually to create innovative tools to advance solutions to big social challenges.

From Oct. 9–11, 59 competitors of all ages and backgrounds logged on from 14 countries around the world: Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Peru, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Israel, India, Ghana, Canada, the United States, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Within the U.S., competitors participated from six different states: Arizona, California, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. For the first time in its seven-year history, Arizona State University's Project Humanities' Hacks for Humanity event went virtual this year, attracting international participation from 14 countries around the world. Download Full Image

Although Project Humanities has always had an international vision, Neal Lester, professor of English at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of Project Humanities, said the shift to virtual programming in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed them to connect with global audiences like never before. On night one, participants were randomly assigned to teams, in contrast to typical hackathons, where teams are often preassembled. Among them were high school and college students, business professionals, graphic designers, humanists, computer programmers and developers. The formation of random teams is by design, with the intention of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

“With Hacks for Humanity we're interested in bringing people into new conversation and having them think differently when they leave our events,” Lester said. “When they come in, they know no one and nothing, and they don't get to choose their teams. But by the time they leave, sometimes they leave with friendships, they leave with some new ideas and they leave with a sense of accomplishment — look at what we've done together.”

Teams communicated primarily through Zoom and Slack, and were supported throughout the event by a multitude of mentors, volunteers and Project Humanities staff. The objective for the teams was to work together to create a product or tool that addressed an issue relating to one of three tracks; aging, safety or justice. In addition, products had to embody three of the seven principles in Project Humanities’ Humanity 101 movement — empathy, compassion, respect, integrity, forgiveness, kindness and self-reflection. 

Building a global community virtually

Mohit Doshi, a senior at ASU majoring in computer science and a third-time participant of the event, first attended Hacks for Humanity in 2017. The experience sparked his interest in hackathons; he’s since participated in more than 25 hackathons across Arizona and the U.S.

“For me, Hacks for Humanity really opened my eyes to hackathon culture,” Doshi said. “Seeing how people can ideate, develop, prototype and demo something in a span of 36 or 48 hours is always so amazing. Because of COVID-19, doing events like these is a good break from my routine and also a great way to meet people.”

The Project Humanities staff incorporated fun and engaging ways for participants to make connections around the world including an at-home scavenger hunt, a breakfast show-and-tell, a Bob Ross-inspired Microsoft Paint challenge, a game night, slideshow karaoke as well as other presentations from entrepreneurs and experts around the country.

Rachel Sondgeroth, Project Humanities program coordinator, was the main architect of the online experience, creating all of the technical blueprints and leading the IT team. Sondgeroth said she was not only pleasantly surprised by the high-level of international participation but also by the way individuals bonded in-spite of differing time zones.

“Initially, the Project Humanities team feared that hosting the event online would take away from the community-building aspect of the event,” she said. “Luckily, we were proven wrong. We saw that the teams actually found a way to bond with one another as they worked through their projects. The small events and activities helped build an overall sense of community and by the end, we felt like a little family. I am glad we were able to preserve that aspect.” 

Diverse teams creating innovative solutions

On the final night of the event, a panel of judges selected seven out of 11 teams to present five-minute live pitches to share their product or concept. 

In first place was Whole Heart, an app that seeks to empower potential domestic abuse victims and identify if their relationship is abusive, connect them to services, provide ongoing support and give them the ability to record incidents of abuse in a digital journal. The app was created with safe and secure access in mind, with built-in “camouflaging” features including the ability to change the app icon to make it appear as a yoga or cooking app.

The winning team consisted of four members; Juliet Addo, an ASU graduate student studying biomedical engineering in Arizona; Lauren Dukes, a user experience/interface designer based out of New York; Shitangshu Roy, a nonprofit professional based out of Canada; and Noam Zaks, a high school student from Israel.

“We started out with lots of projects under each topic. Eventually we ended up agreeing to focus on domestic violence because we recognized that there had been an increase in domestic violence since quarantine began,” Addo said. “It’s something that is going to gradually increase if nothing is done about it. So we were drawn to that because we’re passionate about it and we all believe everyone should have a safe space where they can thrive.”

Although the team is unsure of what the future holds for Whole Heart, they said they ultimately left the experience with new friendships as well as a deeper appreciation for cross-discipline collaboration with a diverse group of individuals.

“I really do think that there is power in focusing on diversity in problem-solving and in conversations around issues that relate to all of us,” Dukes said. “Everyone is affected by aging, safety and justice. I love that Project Humanities is trying to bring in as many people as possible to come up with the best solutions possible. The event isn't necessarily focused on coming up with the coolest technology, instead it’s about coming up with the best solution to an existing problem.”

Runner-ups included: Night Light, an app where users can stay safe by tracking and reporting their whereabouts to friends and family; Elder Aid, an app for older adults to easily find and access resources and benefits; and Good Neighbors, an app that facilitates volunteer food delivery services for people in vulnerable communities such as older adults and immunocompromised people.

Winning participants were awarded $10,000 in cash prizes through the support of sponsors including State Farm, Silicon Valley Bank, Come Rain or Shine Foundation, Amazon Tempe, ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Center, ASU J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, and Celtic Property Management.

Finding strength, resiliency and connection in difficult times

Lexie Gilbert, a PhD student at ASU studying linguistics and applied linguistics and a graduate teaching associate for ASU’s writing programs, served as one of the judges for the event. Gilbert said she feels events like these not only help bridge the gap between the humanities and technical fields like computer science, but they also highlight new ways to communicate.

“People from all over the world were able to attend the hackathon and meet and work with others. What a mental, physical, emotional, communicative exercise — to be put into groups with people from all over the world with the goal to create some meaningful product,” Gilbert said. “There are new ways of being in the world together, and that’s kind of exciting. Like many other events happening right now, Hacks for Humanity reminds us of all the ways we’re isolated from other people, but also the warmth, resilience and connection we’re still capable of.”

Although pulling off the event was no small task, Shana Tobkin, Project Humanities coordinator, said it showed the Project Humanities team the power of virtual human connection.  

“I learned that despite not being able to interact face-to-face, people can still connect with each other in meaningful ways,” Tobkin said. “While this year has been challenging for everyone, particularly with the increase in isolation, this event demonstrated that we can still form meaningful relationships and create things together that benefit the social good.” 

Looking toward the future, the Project Humanities team said they hope to offer a hybrid form of Hacks for Humanity in 2021, given the high-level of international interest at this year's event.

Emily Balli

Communications Specialist and Lead Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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ASU’s Polytechnic campus students create virtual altar for Day of the Dead

October 29, 2020

While some holiday traditions may be in jeopardy this year because of the pandemic, one small group of students at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus will celebrate an important Hispanic holiday by bringing the festivities to life in the digital space.

Every fall for the past few years, students enrolled in the English course “Transborder Chicano Literature” are asked by their professor to create a timely, themed altar for the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated Nov. 1–2. This year, because of the pandemic, the altar — or ofrenda (offering) — will be virtual.  

“The focus for this year is on deceased Chicana/o/x authors, prompted by the recent passing of Rudolfo Anaya, who is the godfather of Chicano literature,” said Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, assistant professor of English in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. “This year, the students got into four different groups; each of them chose the author that they were going to work on, and they created individual altars for the authors. And over the past two weeks, they found a way to make one big (virtual) altar.”

The students, who were given full creative control, used innovative graphic design techniques to put the altars together into a slide show. One of the deceased authors even narrated his own story, thanks to technology.

Day of the Dead Altar

A virtual ofrenda for late author Rudolfo Anaya, created by ASU students.

Benigno Guadarrama, an undergraduate student majoring in technological entrepreneurship and management in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, said he enjoyed creating the altar for his author as if he was a family member.

“It’s a beautiful tradition, and (Día de los Muertos) taught me growing up the acceptance of death, and to not see it in a sad way,” Guadarrama said. “My family would celebrate it each year, and it helped me feel closer to a lot of relatives that I was not able to meet, or I didn’t know. Overall, it just took away any anxiety or fear that’s related to death.”

Fonseca-Chávez said she is “100% amazed” by what her students were able to pull together. She explained that she picked this group of authors because she wanted the students to think about a range of Chicano authors from different backgrounds and from different generations.  

"Anaya is old-school and represents, for many, that first generation of Chicanx literature," Fonseca-Chávez said. “Gloria Anzaldúa’s work paved the way for Chicanx feminists and queer communities to theorize their borderland experiences. Francisco X. Alarcón was a wonderful poet who drew upon Indigenous Nahuatl languages and also wrote children’s books. And Michele Serros was a really cool skateboarding Chicanx whose writing explored the many ways one could live their Chicanx identity.”

In years past, prepandemic, the project has been a conversation starter, especially amongst the Latino community on the Polytechnic campus, who were able to visit the altar in person in the Student Union and leave a message for a deceased loved one.

“I think it really goes to show you how important these holidays are in the Latinx community,” said Eric Daniels, an undergraduate business major in the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Even though it’s the Day of the Dead, it’s really a celebration of their life and a remembrance of their life, so I think moving forward, I know at least from my personal life, this is something that I’ll be able to celebrate even if it is virtually. Or, hopefully, as the years get better with the pandemic, we can celebrate as a bigger community.”

Now through Nov. 3, the ASU community is invited to virtually visit the students' Day of the Dead altar, and to leave an ofrenda for a deceased loved one.

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

ASU communication professor wins national mentor award

October 27, 2020

Daniel Brouwer, associate professor of rhetorical studies at Arizona State University's Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, was awarded the 2020 Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division Faculty Mentor Award from the National Communication Association

Given annually, the award publicly recognizes “the considerable time and energy that particular teachers and scholars may devote to helping others succeed in our profession.” Associate Professor Daniel Brouwer Download Full Image

Brouwer was nominated by a number of ASU alumni who are his former advisees. Leading the effort was Shuzhen Huang, an assistant professor in communication studies at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Brouwer has a reputation for promoting diversity by serving students on the margins," Huang said. "He has shown sustained effort and care to help me and other young scholars succeed in our professional careers, especially in the case of historically underrepresented groups. He has also shown his ability to make students feel seen, recognized and affirmed. Like many of his advisees, my scholarly path is greatly impacted by Dr. Brouwer, who has served as an influential role model that I aspire to be.” 

Roberta Chevrette, assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University, also wrote a letter for support of Brouwer and said his mentorship “helped me find clarity and confidence in my own scholarly expression.” 

“Not only has Dan long mentored LGBT+ students and faculty through his teaching, scholarship and service, but he has also been instrumental in promoting visibility and inclusion within the discipline at large through his long run as one of the founders and co-organizers of NCA’s Queer No Host."  

Chevrette added, “I always laugh when I think back to the first paper I got back in theory class, which had extraneous commas scratched out throughout. In one place, a comma appeared to have been scratched out so vigorously that the essay had a hole in it, next to which appeared the written explanation: 'no comma.' Although this moment does not in itself illustrate the actual substance, depth and time that Dan invests in scholarly mentoring, it does bring a smile to my face thinking of the attention to detail and subtle humor that he brings to the task of helping students learn to express themselves more clearly. Such work extends far beyond the classroom into his close, careful work with his advisees as well as the numerous other graduate and undergraduate students on whose committees he has served." 

Michael Tristano Jr., an assistant professor at Towson State University, said that Brouwer has been attentive to the mental and emotional well-being of his advisees to remind them that they were cared for. 

“As a mentor, Dan is a patient listener," he said. "He is very sensitive to power dynamics, offering help and support in a way that people feel comfortable. For instance, the comments he provided for students’ works are always in a conversational style without implying the common professor-student hierarchy, although such a friendly style usually means more work for him.” 

Paul Mongeau, professor and interim director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, commented that, “Dan is an extremely fitting awardee. The amount of time that he spends working with students is simply extraordinary. He sets a very high bar toward which the rest of us strive.”

Brouwer’s award will be presented virtually on Nov. 21 at the NCA 106th annual convention.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication


It’s all about the process: ASU historians discuss elections throughout American history

October 26, 2020

Each election, whether it is a race for the presidency, a senate seat or a seat on a city council, captures the unique snapshot of a region or group of people in history.

Many people are referring to this year’s presidential election as the most important election in our lifetime, and no matter what the outcome might be, it will be remembered for the distinctive circumstances it is taking place under.  Vote stickers scattered on a white surface Photo courtesy of pexels.com Download Full Image

Many elections in the history of the U.S. have been seen as important and all of them for different reasons. Before you head into Election Day, learn about a few elections that may be just as novel as the current one.

Historians in Arizona State University's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies spoke about other important elections in the U.S. and the context in which they took place. 

The election of 1800

The election of 1800 took place a little over a decade after the first presidential election in the U.S. when the country was still figuring out how the government should be established. In fact, the election of 1800 established new rules about elections that are still in play today.

The main candidates in 1800 were John Adams, who was running for reelection after serving as the second president since 1796, and Thomas Jefferson.

“There was not yet the modern system in which a president and vice president run together,” said Catherine O’Donnell, professor of history. “Instead, each elector in the Electoral College cast two votes; the person who received the most became president, and the person who received the second most became vice president.”

At the time, Jefferson's supporters wanted Aaron Burr to be his vice president, and Adams' supporters wanted Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. With Jefferson running as a Republican and Adams running as a Federalist, the country was divided between two different visions for the country. 

“Thomas Jefferson favored a limited national government and was eager for the new nation to remain distinct from European societies,” O’Connell said. “Although a slaveholder, he imagined that the U.S. would do best as a republic of yeoman farmers and he understood himself to be a defender of the common man.

“Adams believed that all human societies inevitably contained hierarchies, and government should be strong enough to direct elites' interests toward the common good. He thought that the U.S. needed to develop manufacturing and banking in order to survive in a dangerous world. He also favored policies that restricted speech and immigration, policies that Jefferson found destructive to the republic.”

The election led to heated rhetoric to the point where the American people wondered if the republic could survive. Many Americans didn’t think there should be political parties, so each party saw the other as an unwelcome challenge to democracy and a betrayal to the ideals of the American Revolution. 

“Then came the vote,” O’Donnell said. “At the time, all action occurred within the Electoral College, that is, there was not a popular vote. Supporters of Jefferson and Burr had a slight numerical advantage. They meant to withhold one vote for Burr, so that Jefferson would be president and Burr vice president. Instead, each of them cast one ballot for each, and both men received 73 electoral votes.”

The vote was moved to the House of Representatives because of the tie and the House was mostly in favor of Adams. They saw an opportunity to stop Jefferson by supporting Burr as a way to advance their political interests.

“There were 36 rounds of balloting that extended deep into February of 1801,” O’Donnell said. “Finally, in part because some of those who mistrusted Jefferson mistrusted Burr even more, Jefferson emerged victorious.”

The election proved to the American people it could survive a difficult, partisan struggle and a contested election. 

"Adams accepted his loss without complaint, setting a crucial precedent for peaceful transfer of power,” O’Connell said. “In his inaugural address, Jefferson welcomed both supporters and opponents, saying, ‘We are all Federalists, we are all Republicans.’”

Of course, no one wanted to go through a similar election in the future. This led to the ratification of the 12th Amendment, which establishes the current system of choosing a president and vice president together.

'The County Election'

In 1854, the painter George Caleb Bingham painted a scene of a county election day in Missouri. The painting gives some clues to the political culture at the time.

There are no voting booths and no barriers between voters and the candidates running for office. 

“Citizens of Missouri and several other states voted viva voce or live voice,” said Calvin J. Schermerhorn, professor of history. “You got up in front of the recorder and spoke your vote. The men tipping black top hats are handing out tickets — vote for me and my party.”

Yet the painting depicts important omissions from the democratic ritual. No women and no African Americans are voting.

“The most prominent Black man is pouring cider on behalf of a candidate to a voter who apparently needs a lot of it to decide,” Schermerhorn said. “In 1854 only five states permitted Black votes, and they were all in New England. Women didn’t get the vote nationwide until 1920, though states like Wyoming permitted it in 1869 and New York in 1880.”

Beyond the poll, there appear to be voters consuming alcohol and others having discussions. 

“Election days were public festivals, and parties routinely offered their arguments with cider or whiskey chasers,” Schermerhorn said. “In fact, distiller Edmund G. Booz packaged his whiskey in glass bottles resembling log cabins since politicians liked to point to candidates’ humble origins.”

The key issues happening in the painting are not clear, but during the 1850s, Americans were divided by those who wanted slavery to expand westward and those who wanted it to stop. At the time the painting was made, Missouri was a slave state.

“Violence on the Kansas-Missouri border flared in 1854,” Schermerhorn said. “Most of the issues involved local matters of taxes and restrictions, but the government was small and there was no income tax.”

The country was in the midst of major political realignment. A new Republican Party was forming in states like Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan since the old two-party system had collapsed. In just seven years, the country would be thrown into the Civil War as politics couldn’t contain the growing divide regarding slavery in the country. 

The election of 1964

After the assasination of president John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency and worked to fulfill Kennedy’s commitment to the civil rights struggle. He passed the Civil Rights Act in July 1964 and launched the War on Poverty, a series of social programs designed to ameliorate the worst economic forms of discrimination during his short stretch as president. 

Johnson decided to run for election in 1964 as a Democrat from Texas against Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, a U.S. senator from Arizona.

“Goldwater, a staunch fiscal conservative who was a fierce believer in rugged individualism and American patriotism, disapproved of how Johnson handled several political crises during the president’s short tenure in office,” said Katherine Bynum, assistant professor of history. “The chill of the Cold War and the first long, hot summer intersected at a crucial moment during the presidential election of 1964.”

By attacking Johnson’s administration for their policies of Cold War liberalism, Goldwater held a political advantage. He regularly criticized the president for being too accommodating with the Soviet Union, for excessive government funding of the War on Poverty and blamed him for the urban rebellions that erupted that summer in Chicago, and Harlem and Rochester in New York.

“Like many other Americans, Goldwater disapproved of the civil rights movements and he often made erroneous links between the growth of civil rights protests in the 1960s and War on Poverty spending to the rising crime rates across the U.S.,” Bynum said. 

As a response to Goldwater’s attacks, the Johnson administration launched “one of the most controversial and successful television advertisements in our nation’s history.” They portrayed Goldwater as a "hot head" who would likely lead the country into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. 

The advertisement was a success, but Johnson worried about Goldwater’s accusations about his excessive government spending, the rising crime rates and the spread of communism would hurt him and he ended up adjusting both his foreign and domestic policies.

“Not only did Johnson accelerate the nation’s involvement in Vietnam by falsely claiming that North Vietnamese forces attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964, but he also undercut many of the Great Society’s programs by unleashing the War on Crime,” Bynum said.

Johnson, like Goldwater, was disturbed by the rising urban rebellions happening during the summer of the election year, which arose from cases of police brutality. 

“Though Black residents who participated in the uprisings did so in response to racist policing and economic and racial exclusion, Johnson labeled them as criminals, arguing that the civil rights legislation and the War on Poverty provided Black Americans with tangible solutions,” Bynum said. “Instead of confronting discriminatory policing, Johnson introduced increased federal spending in local police agencies on an unprecedented level by passing a series anti-crime laws that not only derailed the War on Poverty but also contributed to the rise of mass incarceration.”

When the election took place in November of that year, Johnson won in a landslide, but his victory was significant for other reasons. He accommodated Republican talking points by asserting he was tough on crime and communism. 

“In doing so, he significantly undermined his commitment to Cold War racial liberalism by trying to disprove Goldwater’s claims,” said Bynum. “The acceleration of the war in Vietnam and the ill effects of his anti-crime legislation became the central focus of the presidential election of 1968 that ultimately led to the rise of the New Right.”

Participate in the historic democratic process and vote. You can vote early on any ASU campus, or you can vote by mail or in-person.

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

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Parenting together when we’re not together anymore

October 23, 2020

Project Humanities panel discussion examines the difficulties of co-parenting children in a modern world

Raising children isn’t like it was in your parents' and grandparents’ generation. 

The family dynamic has changed because we have changed. Our choices have expanded. Our focus has shifted, and we’ve honed in on our children’s emotional and psychological well-being. There is a lot more nuance to parenting now. 

Arizona State University’s Project Humanities felt it was a subject worthy of examination and debate in a recent livestream event titled “Humanity 101 on the Homefront: Co-Parenting.”

“Even in the best of circumstances when parents or caregivers are together, parenting is challenging," said Neal A. Lester, professor of English and director of Project Humanities. "Tonight’s conversation, in partnership with the Come Rain or Shine Foundation, continues our ongoing series on parenting via the lens of Humanity 101 — respect, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, empathy and self-reflection. Our diverse panelists remind us again that there is no ideal parenting manual and that to be ‘good’ parents, we must be good adults.”

The Oct. 22 event's panel featured William Fabricius, an associate professor in ASU’s Psychology Department; Eboni Morris, a licensed clinical psychologist who works at a correctional facility; Kaine Fisher, a senior partner and family law attorney at Rose Law Group in Scottsdale; and Annapurna Ganesh, program director for the Early Childhood Education program at Mesa Community College. Michelle Melton, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Phoenix, handled facilitating duties.

People in a Zoom meeting

Humanity 101 panelists discuss the idea that the mythology of the "nuclear family" that consists of a mom, a dad and two children is little more than a fairy tale because in reality, family structure has always been varied and evolving. Discussing co-parenting in the first part of the 21st century are (clockwise from top left) Annapurna Ganesh, facilitator Michelle Melton, Kaine Fisher, ASU Associate Professor William Fabricius and Eboni Morris.

The panel was tasked by Project Humanities to define co-parenting; identify the challenges and feelings of the co-parenting experience; discuss the role of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality and religion; look at the legal system and how it deals with co-parenting; and offer tips, resources and best strategies to support co-parenting families.

Insightful answers were not in short supply.

The panel essentially agreed with the American Psychological Association’s definition of co-parenting: “An enterprise undertaken by two or more adults who together take on the socialization, care and upbringing of children for whom they share equal responsibility.”

But there are many nuances to co-parenting, and by the end of the session, many of those layers had been explored. According to Fisher, co-parenting applies not only to birth parents but divorced and separated couples, same-sex couples, grandparents and stepparents.

“I tend to lean towards a more broad definition of co-parenting because I see such a broad scope in the line of work I do,” Fisher said.

Ganesh said there are three types of co-parenting models:

  • Conflict parenting is when parents create a toxic and harmful environment for the children, which usually ends up in court.
  • Parallel parenting is when the two adults share very little communication with each other but work with the child. She said children can often take advantage of this scenario because they get shuttled back and forth.
  • Cooperative co-parenting is when parents collaborate and keep an open line of communication with each other. Most important, their child’s needs are the center of attention.

“In these three different models, we see the challenges the child faces when their feelings aren’t taken into consideration,” Ganesh said.

Within the mix of those models are a plethora of potential issues. They include the mental health of one or two co-parents, drug and alcohol abuse, money problems, domestic violence, and religious, cultural or racial differences.

“Children pick up on everything,” Fabricius said. “They think their parents aren’t happy with each other, even if they’re not fighting — that can be just as hard on children because they feel like, ‘I might be abandoned if my parents don’t like each other. I’m going to be left alone.’”

Morris, who works in the correctional field, said she has seen incarcerated parents maintain positive relationships with their children despite their situation.

“I think the reason why it has been so successful is because of that attachment and open line of communication,” Morris said. “They convey that understanding, ‘I’m here (for you) regardless of where I am.’ Children understand that.”

Family law attorney Fisher said co-parents need to prioritize the needs of the child; otherwise, they end up needing his service and finding themselves in front of a judge — a place they do not want to be.

“Judges refer to themselves as ‘complete strangers' … and that complete stranger is going to probably meet these people (co-parents) for about an hour to three hours, or a full-day trial if you’re lucky,” Fisher said. “Then they’re going to be making decisions about where that kid goes to school, who makes the decision about medical or who’s their doctor … I don’t want strangers making decisions for my kids.”

While the panel listed plenty of challenges that come with co-parenting, they agreed that the main goal of parenting is simple: Communicate and put the wellness and the needs of their children first.

“No matter what, it’s always about the child,” Ganesh said. “The child is the future of society.”

 Top photo by iStock images

Reporter , ASU Now


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ASU Art Museum explores light as a medium and source of energy

Download ASU Art Museum's free coloring book, "Traditional Stories of Light."
October 22, 2020

Free coloring book, available now, shares Native American stories of light

The ASU Art Museum is exploring light as an artistic medium in several ways this semester.

“Traditional Stories of Light” is a new all-ages coloring book that’s available for free at the ASU Art Museum or to download. The project is a collaboration of the museum and three Native American artists: Vanessa Moreno, who is Purépecha and Tepehuán, designed the book, which was illustratrated by Eunique Yazzie, who is Navajo, and Dustin Lopez, who is Navajo, Yacqui and Laguna Pueblo.

Artist Leo Villareal will debut a work in mid-November that uses technology to harness light and is unique to the ASU Art Museum.

And on Dec. 22, the ASU Art Museum will hold a “Sunrise Light Walk,” a guided walk that explores features on the Tempe campus using the four cardinal directions as a guide.

These projects exploring light are in addition to ASU’s ongoing relationship with James Turrell, a renowned artist who is creating a masterpiece of light at Roden Crater, a large-scale installation in northern Arizona. Turrell has created several smaller scale works that also manipulate the viewer’s sense of light, and one of those, “Air Apparent,” is on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The use of light in art goes back centuries, according to Miki Garcia, director of the museum.

“The notion of light as it refers to the heavens or God or transcendence, and, within individual cultures, light as a source of energy and life has a deep, rich history,” she said.

Turrell has shaped his Roden Crater installation, inside a volcanic cinder cone, to become a natural camera obscura.

“In his work, he sees light as a material the way you would see oil or pastel or bronze – as a material you can shape to experience different visual and body sensations,” Garcia said.

Villareal works with light from a technology perspective, using LED bulbs and computer programming to create illuminations. For the new work, debuting in mid-November, Villareal did three-dimensional mapping of the ASU Art Museum building and used the data to create an active light work that will be specific to the museum.

The “Native Stories of Light” project was an intentional effort to expand the consideration of light beyond the work of Turrell and Villareal, Garcia said.

“We’re making a very concerted effort to make sure that all of our programming is considering our place in Arizona,” she said.

“We’re not just ‘Any Museum USA.’ We’re in a site that is on Tohono O’odham land. So this is an example of how we’re trying to move the museum toward a more open and inclusive and accessible space so we can be a museum for all.”

Yazzie, one of the coloring book illustrators, has long incorporated light as a medium. She uses metallic paper to create floor-to-ceiling installations that shimmer.

“I do artwork that’s reflective and has some sort of iridescence to it. It’s like I’m weaving light,” she said.

“The coloring book is a different take on how light can be introduced by either traditional stories or by having an Indigenous narrative.”

Yazzie and Lopez had heard their own communities’ traditional stories, but they also researched other narratives.

“In Arizona, there are a ton of stories we can choose from, but I don’t know all the traditional stories for all 24 tribes in Arizona,” she said.

“We were thinking about sources of light – fire, the stars, sun and moon. Those are symbols we looked for in other narratives, and a lot of those symbols are in every tribal creation story, which we call emergence.”

Yazzie said that Lopez contacted traditional storytellers in different tribes and the artists learned the most appropriate ways to create the book, for example, by using only parts of stories.

“For traditional stories like the ones illustrated in the coloring book, some of them are not within the time frame to be telling the story. For most tribal nations, the story time is during the winter,” she said. “The first frost is when you can begin telling your cultural stories.

“We learned the background and the cultural significance and how we could reproduce it in the best way without stepping on traditional belief systems,” said Yazzie, who also recorded voice-overs for an app that will be available to accompany the sunrise walk on Dec. 22.

On Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. Yazzie and Moreno will participate in a Zoom conversation with Kathryn Medill, the audience experience coordinator for the museum.

In the spring 2021 semester, Marc Neveu, head of the architecture program in The Design School at ASU, will teach an iCourse titled, “Turrell and Roden Crater: Art, Design and Tech.” The course has no prerequisites and is open to anyone.

Top image: A portion of the cover image from “Traditional Stories of Light,” a coloring book designed by Vanessa Moreno and illustrated by Eunique Yazzie and Dustin Lopez, in collaboration with the ASU Art Museum.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


School of Music, Dance and Theatre events celebrate ballroom culture

October 22, 2020

Come AZ You Are, a minifestival celebrating spaces of affirmation and radical joy through art as social (inter)action, kicks off Oct. 23.

The interdisciplinary festival is inspired by the vogue and ballroom culture rooted in LGBT communities and is open to all. The program bridges the diverse communities on campus and outside of Arizona State University to foster transformational community through arts and culture.  X-Savior Thomas performs during Come AZ You Are 2019. Download Full Image

This year's festival hosts dynamic local and national artists and includes a performance, exhibition battles and a panel discussion. The event is part of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s Sol Motion series and cuts across the disciplines of dance, fashion, theater, design, music and more.

This year's Come AZ You Are series of events focus on connecting communities together with an online experience through two days of Zoom events. 

The first day includes a docuseries screening of “My House” featuring Precious Ebony, Tati Mugler, Alex Mugler, Jelani Mizrahi, Lolita Balenciaga and Relish Milan, and a panel discussion featuring Marlon Bailey, Enyce Smith and alumni Caress Russell and Rylee Locker. 

During the second day, attendees will get the chance to meet eight members of the West Coast ball scene and watch them represent their category in a demo ball. "Face," "runway," "realness" and "vogue performance" are in the lineup for the night. Other festivities include performances, a vogue workshop with Enyce and a session on learning how to make your vote count. The event will include Calypso Balmain, Rosie Ninja, Torie Balmain, Legendary Mike Mike Escada, Teyana Garcon, Jaylen Balmain, Pink Escada and Rigo Ninja.

The event is co-sponsored by Performance in the Borderlands and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

In conjunction with Come AZ You Are, Performance in the Borderlands is also co-sponsoring “Soul Claps in the Sanctuary: Black Performance as Black LIberation in the '80s and '90s” on Wednesday, Oct 28. The virtual event features DJ and scholar Lynnee Denise in conversation with Marlon Bailey, associate professor of women and gender studies in the School of Social Transformation. Both Denise and Bailey focus their work on queer Black cultural movements as places of Black survival. 

During the event, Denise and Bailey will explore Black music and performance as radical sonic landscapes of Black liberation and share their perspectives on Black feminism, the cultural politics of blues and techno music, and ballroom dance in Detroit. Bailey will talk about his scholarly work on underground ballroom culture as a creative space for Black joy, and Denise will talk about house and techno music as sonic landscapes of Black liberation connected to the politics of identity.

Other co-sponsors for “Soul Claps in the Sanctuary” include the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and the School of Social Transformation.

Both events are free and open to the public online. The in-person event is open only to registered ASU students. 

Come AZ You Are 

Day 1: 5–9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23

Day 2: 4–8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24

Via Zoom

A limited number of students who have registered via ASU Sync may choose to attend in person until the cap is reached. 

Soul Claps in the Sanctuary

10–11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28

Via  Zoom

Danielle Munoz

Media and Communications Coordinator, School of Film, Dance and Theatre