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Shereen photo illustration
Shereen photo illustration

Photo illustration by LA Johnson/NPR

Twenty years ago, during the dog days of summer, a fledgling journalist named Shereen Marisol Meraji — maybe you’ve heard of her? — headed to Durban, South Africa. Her mission: to report on the meeting of thousands of organizers and ambassadors at the United Nations Conference Against Racism.

The conference, Shereen says, helped her develop a global sensibility, learn about the interconnected struggles of people of color around the world, and foster a sense of optimism about what the future held when it came to dismantling racism.

Then, days after the conference ended, that sense of optimism was abruptly wiped away.

On this special episode — the last that will be co-hosted by Shereen — we’re taking a look back at that conference, the issues that racial justice advocates were fighting for, and the day the world changed.

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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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