Data Driven Strategic Messaging for BIPOC Communities through Stories in the Public Square [PASSED]

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Data has the power to persuade mindsets, behaviors, and funding. The philanthropic sector turns to data to gain better understanding of the needs of a community. However, what has the messaging research and the media landscape been in the United States regarding Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian (BAMEMSSA) communities? What happens when data is coupled with communication strategy that silences and erases the exact voices that should be centered in the narrative?  What is the best way to develop an inclusive approach to studying specific and smaller populations to ensure the representation of voices that are usually unheard in public opinion research? Join us on August 22, 2023, at 2pm EDT/11am PDT for a 90-minute workshop-style webinar featuring Firdaus Arastu, program director, Rights and Inclusion Team, ReThink Media; Erum Ikramullah, research program manager, ISPU; and Neil G. Ruiz, head of new research initiatives and associate director of race and ethnicity research, Pew Research Center, and moderated by Zeyba Rahman, director, Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation. They will discuss research application to create language their organizations can use that connects to audiences through shared human values; and facilitates a more nuanced understanding of communities of color in the U.S.

Helpful resources to prepare for the webinar:


Live captioning will be available in English throughout the webinar. For additional accommodation requests, please contact GIA Senior Program Manager Sherylynn Sealy, at least three (3) business days prior to the event.





Firdaus Arastu, program director, Rights and Inclusion Team, ReThink Media

Firdaus Arastu is a communications strategist shifting the media narratives of communities of color, particularly those impacted by racism and Islamophobia. She is the Program Director of the Rights and Inclusion team at ReThink Media, which increases the media skills and communications capacity of leading experts, creative professionals, and organizations from Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian (BAMEMSSA) communities in the United States. She provides strategic communications consulting to over 150 organizations in the advocacy field and 100 arts and cultural production projects. An experienced and engaging trainer, with over 7 years of experience designing and leading trainings, she has trained more than 800 people across the United States and internationally. Before joining ReThink, Firdaus was a writer and magazine editor on women’s issues and Muslim American culture, and worked in global and domestic public health. Firdaus earned a B.S. in Anthropology and Psychology from Syracuse University. She has been published at altMuslimah, Al Jazeera English, Teen Vogue, The Huffington Post, Patheos, and The Tribune India, and interviewed on See Something Say Something podcast and Just for All Now.


·Erum Ikramullah

Erum Ikramullah, research program manager, ISPU

Erum Ikramullah is a Research Project Manager at ISPU, where she manages the activities of multiple research projects from initiation through dissemination. Erum has also served as co-author on ISPU’s American Muslim Poll report and has authored several other analysis pieces. Previously, she worked at Child Trends as a Research Analyst on both quantitative and qualitative research studies on topics related to child and family well being. Erum has experience with statistical analysis in SPSS, SAS, and STATA, has co-authored several academic journal articles, and has presented research at the Society for Research on Adolescents and the Population Association of America. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland.


Neil Ruiz

Neil Ruiz, head of new research initiatives and associate director of race and ethnicity research, Pew Research Center

Neil G. Ruiz is Pew Research Center’s Head of New Research Initiatives, and associate director of race and ethnicity research. He is the principal investigator of the Center’s comprehensive study of Asian Americans. Neil has a background in applying demographic, qualitative, and survey research methods in the U.S. and around the world. He utilizes this mixed methods approach to studying Asian Americans, other racial and ethnic groups, and immigrant populations. He is the founding chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Research and Affinity Group of the American Association for Public Opinion Researchers. He previously was an associate director for the global migration and demography research team. Prior to joining the Center, Neil worked as a migration and economic development expert at the Brookings Institution, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. He was also the executive director of the Center for Law, Economics and Finance at George Washington University. He is a political economist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s degree from Oxford University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.


Zeyba Rahman

Zeyba Rahman, director, Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation

Zeyba Rahman is the director for the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation. In this capacity, Rahman oversees the program’s grantmaking to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision. Prior to joining the foundation in 2013, Rahman led internationally and nationally recognized projects as a creative director/producer to promote understanding between diverse communities. Her prior roles include: director, Asia and North America, Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco; artistic director, Arts Midwest’s Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet; curator, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Mic Check Hip Hop; creative consultant, Public Programs, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia Galleries; and senior advisor, Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas Festival. Throughout her career, Rahman has dedicated herself to collaborative approaches that strengthen cross-community bonds to advance social change through creativity. To that end, she is a frequent public speaker whose topical writing includes the contribution of an essay to the New York University Press published anthology titled “Are the Arts Essential?” The book, which includes a seminal set of essays by artists, cultural practitioners, scholars and thinkers explores the vital meaning of art and its power as a civic need. She serves as an advisor to Artworks for Freedom, a Steering Committee member for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Music Awards and a director of the board for Grantmakers in the Arts. Twice honored by New York City’s government, Rahman is the subject of two television profiles as a global arts leader.
August 22, 2023 from  2:00 PM to  3:30 PM
Event Fee(s)
Webinar Fee
GIA Member $0.00
Non-member $35.00
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Tuesday, August 22, 2:00pm EDT/11:00am PDT

  • Firdaus Arastu, program director, Rights and Inclusion Team, ReThink Media

  • Erum Ikramullah, research program manager, ISPU

  • Neil Ruiz, head of new research initiatives and associate director of race and ethnicity research, Pew Research Center

  • Zeyba Rahman, director, Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation

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