Join Soledad O’Brien for a virtual talk on homelessness and COVID-19

Crosscut is collecting questions from readers to help shape a conversation between Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien about homelessness and coronavirus in Seattle.

Soledad O'Brien, journalist and documentarian

When the pandemic hit the United States, Crosscut was in the final stages of planning our annual Crosscut Festival — a two-day event dedicated to smart conversations with fascinating, creative and influential people. 

Like so many organizations, we canceled our event to support the community’s safety and to do our part to flatten the infection curve. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a bit of pain in letting go of all that planning. 

In the weeks since, the events team at Cascade Public Media (that’s the parent company of Crosscut and KCTS 9) has rallied around some new ideas and events. Many of the guests originally booked for the festival will now appear during the second season of the Crosscut Talks podcast, which launched Friday, May 1. But we reserved a few of the heavier hitters for Crosscut Talks Virtual Sessions, a new series that you can experience from anywhere you choose — and you can help shape the conversation. 

Listen to the Season 2 premiere of the podcast: The twist in a former GOP strategist's plot to unseat Trump

This isn’t exactly a replacement of the Crosscut Festival, but it represents the same spirit of learning, conversation and exploration of complex topics and ideas we’re grappling within the Northwest. The virtual events will be hosted via Zoom, and will be free for all who RSVP. All you need is a computer or device with a stable internet connection. 

Our first Crosscut Talks Virtual Session will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 7, and will feature a conversation between renowned journalist Soledad O’Brien and PBS NewsHour’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien. Soledad O’Brien will discuss her upcoming documentary Outbreak: Seattle. Her latest work dives into the origins of Seattle’s affordable housing shortage, rising rents, homelessness and struggle to find effective solutions. As Soledad O’Brien and her team were filming, the coronavirus outbreak swept through the city, so the documentary is among the first films to stitch together Seattle’s longtime struggles and the brand-new complications presented by the pandemic. Miles O’Brien reported from Seattle as the Coronavirus crisis unfolded and documented the experience in his recent Frontline report, "Coronavirus Pandemic." 

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. Among other projects, she created the Black in America and Latino in America series on CNN and now hosts Matter of Fact.” 

Miles O’Brien is a veteran, independent journalist who focuses on science, technology and aerospace. In addition to his PBS NewHour role, he’s a producer, director, writer and correspondent for the PBS documentary programs Nova and Frontline and an aviation analyst for CNN. 

As part of this event, we want you to help shape the conversation. If you have a question about how coronavirus is changing the homelessness issue in Seattle, submit it through the Northwest Wonders module below. We’ll let you know before our conversation if your question was chosen.

This event has passed and we are no longer taking questions.

To RSVP, visit our event page. For questions, email community engagement manager Andrea O’Meara We will be announcing our next guests in the coming weeks — if you want to be the first to know, sign up for our events newsletter.


Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of Soledad O'Brien's documentary. We regret the error. 

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