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American Mosaic Journalism Prize Awarded to David Dennis, Jr. and Michelle García

The Heising-Simons Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 American Mosaic Journalism Prize: David Dennis, Jr. and Michelle García.

The American Mosaic Journalism Prize consists of an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000 per recipient and is awarded to freelance journalists for excellence in long-form, narrative, or deep reporting about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the American landscape.

The prize is a complete surprise to its recipients. It is based on confidential nominations invited from more than 150 leaders in journalism throughout the country. A panel of 10 judges—including journalists from NPR, NBC News, CBS News, Telemundo, the Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, and Oxford American—selected this year’s recipients.

The Foundation created the prize in 2018 as part of its work supporting journalism as an essential arm of U.S. democracy — recognizing journalism’s critical ability to foster understanding.

“Every journalist today is in terrain made inhospitable by an imploded business model, relentless attacks from those who fear truth, and the perils of reporting in the midst of a pandemic. But the freelance recipients of the American Mosaic Journalism Prize stand out in their commitment to showing us the lives, beliefs, and humanity of people who might otherwise remain hidden, misconstrued, and unrecognized,” noted Foundation Board Chair Liz Simons. “We celebrate these story tellers whose compassionate narratives build bridges of understanding in a polarized world.”

We could not be more pleased with the judges’ selection for the 2021 recipients.

David Dennis, Jr. is a freelance writer, editor, educator and social commentator based in Georgia, whose recent  journalism includes a cover story in Atlanta Magazine, “Ahmaud Arbery Will Not Be Erased,” and the article “An Ode To The Black Women At Dillard’s.”

“My work is all about telling the stories that need to be told, like Ahmaud Arbery’s, whose life was full of beauty and power beyond its tragic ending,” said Dennis. “These are the stories of people who are ignored and gaslit, whose perspectives are most often never shared in this country. I often write about the person who is the one marginalized voice in the room so they feel less alone.”

Michelle García is a freelance print, audio and broadcast journalist based in Texas and New York, whose recent journalism includes “Hand of Terror,” and “In the Midst of a Border Crisis, Cooking Is About More Than Survival.”

“We’re in a critical moment, when our nation is reckoning with its foundational injustices, and I believe that journalism can provide us with possibilities to better understand each other and dismantle the walls that have divided us for centuries,” said García.

This prize is part of a portfolio of journalism grants supporting and elevating underrepresented groups and content in journalism, which includes support of Translash Media, Futuro Media Group, the Truth Be Told podcast, Emma Bowen Foundation, the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund, Brief But Spectacular, and Youth Radio, among others. For a complete list of journalism grants visit here.

We invite you to visit the prize’s webpage to learn more about David Dennis, Jr. and Michelle García, and explore their outstanding journalism.