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Evolving In America
June 27th, 2013
12:00 PM ET

Evolving In America

Dear readers,

The In America blog began in November 2011, focusing on the untold, the nuanced and diverse stories of identity. We are proud and grateful that the blog quickly became a trusted place for news and insights about race, ethnicity, gender and culture.

We did it by covering the demographic changes happening right before our eyes, the ‘gayest’ U.S. city, the social media firestorm over Olympian Gabby Douglas' hair and more.

Now, our award-winning blog is expanding its coverage and audience beyond the confines of this space.

While we are archiving the blog, we will continue to focus on identity as a beat. Look for topical stories that delve into the people, places and perspectives that define us in the Living section, and throughout CNN.com.

We welcome your comments on our website, Facebook and Twitter, so keep the conversation going. We’ll be listening to what you have to say.

All the very best,

Alicia W. Stewart
Editor, In America

In America wins award for race, identity and politics series
May 24th, 2013
10:15 AM ET

In America wins award for race, identity and politics series

by Alicia W. Stewart, CNN In America Editor

(CNN) - It's not often that we toot our own horn, so please allow us a moment.

In America's race, identity and politics series won second place in the Series/Project category from the Society for Features Journalism 25th annual Excellence in Feature Writing Contest.

Moni Basu, John Blake, Jen Christensen and Todd Leopold wrote stories that explored race, identity and politics ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

Read their award-winning pieces:

The optics of politics: Seeing campaigns through a multicultural kaleidoscope
Last white House Democratic congressman in the Deep South fights for political survival
Civil rights icon fighting for change one registered voter at a time
Parallels to country's racist past haunt age of Obama

We are honored for the recognition and so grateful to our readers: Thank you.

See the full list of winners here.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Award • Politics • Race
June 18th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

5 ways the Rodney King beating and LA riots changed America

by Alicia W. Stewart, CNN.com Identity editor

Rodney King died Sunday, 21 years after he first became a household name.

But it was the way that he almost died, in a severe beating by Los Angeles police officers, that made him a reluctant symbol of police brutality and spurred a conversation about race, economics and justice in America.  The subsequent riot a year later, after the acquittal and mistrial of the four officers charged in the beating, was the "nation's deadliest urban race riot since the Civil War," according to Lou Cannon in his book "Official Negligence."

Rodney King looks back without anger

What impact did the beating of Rodney King, and the subsequent race riots a year later, have on America?

Here are five ways I have found. Are there other thoughts you have? Please leave them in the comments below.

1) It introduced a reluctant symbol, rather than a selected civil rights hero: The Rev. Al Sharpton called Rodney King "a symbol of civil rights," but in interviews with CNN, King was hesitant to be a symbol, much less a hero.  In the past, civil rights icons like Rosa Parks, were carefully selected by leaders.  Parks, who famously refused to get out of her seat, and spurred the Montgomery bus boycott, was selected by the NAACP over other women to test civil disobedience laws.  King's legacy is still being debated, and he ushered in an era where more everyday citizens became accidental national figures. Amethyst Ross put it this way on CNN's Facebook page: "Rodney was not a civil rights hero. He made very wrong and stupid mistakes. However, I totally disagree with people calling others 'worthless.' Every human being and livings have some worth because they are God's creations. Rodney's situation gave the world a look into police brutality and cover-ups. Subsequently, the world witnessed the riots as a protest of racial inequality. Say what you want ... he may have been wasteful, but no one is worthless. He will answer to his Maker for being wasteful of his time, fame, and money...not us."

Overheard on cnn.com: Rodney King had demons. But called them his own

FULL POST