For Immediate Release
December 16, 2021
Contact Information

Paul Luthringer, Hearst,, 212-649-2540
Tom Campo, Hearst Television,, 646-202-2557
Carrie Davis for Soledad O’Brien,


Host Soledad O’Brien Interviews Guests Including Musician John Legend, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Among Many Others

(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK – The “Matter of Fact Listening Tour,” hosted by Soledad O’Brien, continues its exploration of difficult issues surrounding race and equity in a new digital presentation, “Promises of Change,” the third in a series that began in October 2020.  The new special will stream beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, December 16, on and Hearst consumer media digital platforms reaching millions of consumers. 

The 90-minute production, featuring a wide and diverse array of thought leaders from across the nation, is a special project from Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, the nation’s most-watched syndicated public affairs program, produced by Hearst Media Production Group. The October 2020 debut of the “Matter of Fact Listening Tour” launched a series of forums employing the digital platforms of many of Hearst’s consumer media brands, including 33 television stations; newspapers around the country; and many of the world’s most popular magazines — and Matter of Fact’s website, YouTube and Facebook Live channels.

Among O’Brien’s December 16 guests is award winning composer, musician, and singer John Legend, whose “Unlocked Futures” project supports efforts to restore voting rights for people with felony convictions who have served their sentences.   Also appearing is recently elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and the youngest person and first woman elected that city’s mayor. She plans to pursue a “green agenda” for Boston.  And the special features a previously taped interview O’Brien conducted with Associate Justice of The Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, addressing the challenges posed by hate speech.

“Promises of Change” follows the tour’s March 18 episode, “To Be An American: Identity, Race And Justice.” The tour debuted on October 2020 with “The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality.” The initial two episodes, which subsequently aired on the Hearst TV stations and A&E Network, continue to stream at

This latest Matter of Fact Listening Tour enlists the people working to overcome issues of racism and inequality in an effort to explore solutions,” O’Brien said. “I believe that to find solutions you need to understand the problem. That means hearing from people doing the tough work on the ground to understand why things happen and how to change them. It means looking critically at what works and what doesn’t, and taking the time to really listen and question and find ways to move forward.”

“Soledad and the dedicated team behind the ‘Listening Tour’ continue to develop high-quality, critically acclaimed content that has added meaningfully to the much-needed conversation around issues of race and justice,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb.  “I am proud this initiative has once again delivered programming that is truly differentiated, thought-provoking and important.”

Additional guests scheduled for the December 16 program include: 

Lt. Paul Antonovich of the Schenectady, New York, police department, joined by Schenectady community activist William Rivas, his partner in a first-in-the-nation program helping address bias by using a citizen review panel to vet potential officers.

Mehrsa Baradaran, professor of law at the University of California Irvine School of Law and author of “The Color Of Money: Black Banks And The Racial Wealth Gap.”

Bree Newsome Bass, a voting rights activist who entered the national spotlight in 2015 when she climbed a South Carolina capitol grounds flagpole to remove a Confederate flag.

Joy Buolamwini, MIT researcher and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, who is studying the effect of bias baked into facial recognition software increasingly used by government at various levels.

Claudette Colvin, who as a 15-year-old in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 was arrested when she refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a bus -- about nine months before Rosa Parks made headlines – and who to this day is still trying to get her arrest expunged.

Sarah De Guia, CEO of Change Lab Solutions, an Oakland, California, organization that uses tools of law to advance health equity.

Kyren Gibson and his nine-year-old son, Kyng, co-authors of a popular and critically praised financial workbook, “The Generational Wealth Building Activity Book.”

Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of Oklahoma-based IllumiNative, a nonprofit organization designed to illuminate the vibrancy and importance of Native voices, stories, and issues in media, pop culture, K-12 education and other key sectors.

Dolores Huerta, who, with the late Cesar Chavez, co-founded National Farmworkers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers.

Beth Howard, rural Kentucky campaign director for the organization Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and originator of the slogan Rednecks for Black Lives, adopted as the name of Facebook group interested in racial justice issues.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and best-selling author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” among other books.

Emmanuel Pratt, a MacArthur Genius Award-winning urban designer and the visionary behind The Sweet Water Foundation, whose resident-driven community development effort is transforming a South Side Chicago neighborhood wracked by disinvestment. 

Yolo Akili Robinson, executive director of BEAM (The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective), an organization that works to heal mental health issues in the black community. 

Eugenia South, a Philadelphia emergency room physician involved in projects to improve health outcomes for people living in distressed communities.  

Greisa Martinez Rosas, who leads United We Dream, which works to advance immigrant rights for the undocumented living and working in the U.S.

Archelle Thelemaque, a politically liberal member of Gen Z, who with Justin Russell, a politically conservative member of Gen X, took a lengthy stroll together across the monuments of Washington, DC, to discuss their differences… and their shared views.

Raj Vinnakota, president of the Institute for Citizens And Scholars, who previously co-founded The Seed Foundation to manage the nation’s first network of public boarding schools for underserved children.

About Hearst

Hearst is a leading global, diversified media, information and services company with more than 360 businesses. Its major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; global financial services leader Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; transportation assets including CAMP Systems International, a major provider of software-as-a-service solutions for managing maintenance of jets and helicopters; 33 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California, which reach a combined 19% of U.S. viewers; newspapers such as the Houston ChronicleSan Francisco Chronicle and Times Union (Albany, New York); more than 300 magazines around the world, including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Men's Health and Car and Driver, and digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital entertainment companies such as Complex Networks. Follow us on Twitter @Hearst. To learn more about Hearst, visit

About Hearst Television

Hearst Television owns and operates 33 television and two radio stations serving 26 media markets across 39 states reaching over 22 million U.S. television households. Through its partnership with nearly all major networks, Hearst Television distributes national content over nearly 70 video channels including programming from ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, MY Net, MeTV, Estrella and more. The radio stations are leaders in Baltimore news/talk and rock music listenership. Its Hearst Media Production Group unit produces original programming across linear and streaming platforms for domestic and international distribution.  Its Very Local app, free to download on household OTT devices and available across popular streaming services, offers 24/7 access to local news, weather and an array of local and regional programming.  Hearst Television is recognized as one of the industry's premier companies and has been honored with numerous awards for distinguished journalism, industry innovation, and community service. Hearst Television is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst.

About Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist, who founded Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multiplatform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues. She anchors and produces the Hearst TV political magazine program Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien and is a correspondent for HBO Real Sports. She is a thought leader, with over 1.3 million Twitter followers, who has a national impact through her speeches, numerous documentaries and her presence on the op-ed pages of platforms like The New York Times and HuffPost. She has anchored shows on CNN, MSNBC and NBC and reported for Fox, A&E, Oxygen, Nat Geo, the PBS NewsHour, WebMD and Al Jazeera America, among others. O’Brien’s work has been recognized with three Emmy awards, twice with the George Foster Peabody Award, three times with the Gracie Award, which honors women in media, twice with Cine Awards for her work in documentary films and also with an Alfred I. DuPont Award.