Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City

Andrea Elliott
In conversation with Robin J. Hayes
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Episode Summary

What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family, and yourself? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott of The New York Times shares an unforgettable story of a girl whose indomitable spirit is tested by homelessness, poverty, and racism in an unequal America. Elliott’s latest work, Invisible Child, follows eight dramatic years in the life of a girl whose imagination is as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn shelter. Dasani was named after the bottled water that signaled Brooklyn’s gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. As Dasani comes of age, the homeless crisis in New York City has exploded, and she must guide her siblings through a city riddled with hunger, violence, drug addiction, homelessness, and the monitoring of child protection services. Out on the street, Dasani becomes a fierce fighter to protect the ones she loves. When she finally escapes city life to enroll in a boarding school, she faces an impossible choice between staying back to help her family or moving away for a chance at a better future. Join ALOUD for a conversation about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality as Elliott discusses this remarkable portrait of survival.

Participant(s) Bio
<;>Andrea Elliott is an investigative reporter for The New York Times and a former staff writer at The Miami Herald. Her reporting has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, a Scripps Howard Award, and prizes from the Overseas Press Club and the American Society of News Editors. She has served as an Emerson Collective fellow at New America, a visiting journalist at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a visiting scholar at the Columbia Population Research Center, and is the recipient of a Whiting Foundation grant. In 2015, she received Columbia University’s Medal for Excellence, given to one alumnus or alumna under the age of forty-five. She lives in New York City. This is her first book.

Dr. Robin J. Hayes is a staff writer on the forthcoming series Sandokan (from the producers of Transformers, The Shield, and Devils). After completing her studies at Yale and NYU and working as a human rights activist in Chiapas, Central America, and Cuba, she directed, wrote, and produced the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba and produced the prize-winning play 9 Grams (directed by S. Epatha Merkerson). A recipient of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Tides Foundation, Robin recently authored the critically acclaimed book Love For Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground.