WVIK Postpones Michele Norris “Hidden Conversations” Event Until 2022
Like many other events throughout the Quad-Cities, a 2020 special event that was rescheduled once, is being postponed again, to 2022.
WVIK, Quad Cities NPR, is moving “The Power of Words” with Michele Norris to March 10, 2022. This event was originally scheduled for
March 26, 2020, and was moved to March 11, 2021, when the Covid pandemic and related shutdowns made a live event with hundreds of attendees impossible.
“As a radio station, we do remote engagement all the time. The opportunity to meet an on-air personality live is the primary draw for our event,” WVIK director of development and community engagement Jared Johnson said this week.
“With this in mind, and our sponsors’ continued support, we decided to move this event into 2022,” he said.
“The Power of Words” is made possible by support from the Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, and was expected to draw between 200 and 300 in attendance, Johnson said Thursday.
“There’s still discomfort with Covid-19,” he said. “Even ticket buying, it’s very awkward. For us, this is more a community event, not so much a fundraiser for us. It’s not going to make or break us. It’s easy for us financially to move it into another fiscal year.”
When WVIK first moved its event, the public radio station took the opportunity last fall to launch “Hidden Conversations,” a series of online conversations about Black life in the Quad-Cities led by leadership and diversity expert LaDrina Wilson of IMAN Consulting.
Each episode of the series (premiering on Facebook Live the second Thursday each month since September) has been viewed by thousands in the Quad-Cities and remain available on both Facebook and YouTube. The topics explored have included:
- Racial profiling, police brutality, and civil rights
- Inequities in healthcare
- The Black military experience
- Inequities in education
- How the Black community is portrayed in marketing and media
- Being Black in the world of work
The “Hidden Conversations” were planned to culminate with a 2021 Power of Words event featuring Michele Norris on March 11, 2021. These online conversations are themed around Norris’ book “The Grace of Silence,” a personal memoir discussing the stories hidden within her own family that she only began to discover as an adult.
The March 11 event was to be at the RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, with appetizers, desserts, coffee, and cash bar available. Norris is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project and executive director of The Bridge, The Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity and inclusion.
For more than a decade, Norris served as a host of NPR’s All Things Considered, where she interviewed world leaders, American presidents,
Nobel laureates, leading thinkers, and groundbreaking artists. She has also produced in-depth profiles, interviews, and series for NPR News programs, as well as special reports for National Geographic, Time Magazine, ABC News, and Lifetime Television.
The same event will be held March 10, 2022 at the RiverCenter, including a 7 p.m. question and answer with Norris, moderated by LaDrina
Wilson. Other event sponsors include Merrill, a Bank of America company, Ken Croken, and Susan Sharar and Leo Schubert.
Tickets are $40 for the general public, and $20 for students under 18 or with valid college ID, available at Eventbrite.com.
Hidden Conversations will be continuing through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, with its next episode exploring Black entrepreneurialism on March 11 starting at 6 p.m.
You can watch the episode live and interact with the panel at facebook.com/wvikfm. Hidden Conversations is supported by a Healing Illinois Grant from the Chicago Community Trust and a new United for Equity Grant from United Way Quad Cities.
Also launching soon will be a book study of Michele Norris’ “The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir,” led by Dr. Lauren Hammond-Ford, assistant professor of history at Augustana College. Information about this new book group – including dates and times — will be announced on air and online in the coming months.
The book club will likely continue with other titles in the future, Johnson said, and was suggested by Colleen Sibthorp, WVIK director of finance and membership.
Additional information about The Power of Words with Michele Norris, the Hidden Conversations series, and the book study will be announced as they become available at wvik.org, facebook.com/wvikfm, and on Twitter @wvikfm.
WVIK, Quad Cities NPR, is a public service of Augustana College.