SXSW EDU: When Culture Wars Come To School

NBC News' Antonia Hylton & Mike Hixenbaugh’s #1 hit podcast, Southlake, tells the story of how an idyllic Texas city became a symbol of a new national reckoning over race & education. They've heard from parents & educators across the US who say the same thing is happening in their districts. The journalists were joined by author George M. Johnson & school librarian Carolyn Foote to discuss the next front in the classroom culture war: the movement to ban books on race, sex, gender & sexuality.

Carolyn Foote

A library consultant and educator in Austin, Texas, Foote is engaged in the issue of intellectual freedom as part of the FReadom Fighters team and is also passionate about libraries, equity, library space design, and student voice.

Mike Hixenbaugh

Mike Hixenbaugh is a senior national investigative reporter for NBC News. In 2021, Hixenbaugh co-hosted the #1 hit podcast Southlake with co-host Antonia Hylton. Southlake tells the story of how this idyllic city, and its local school board election, became the poster child for a new political strategy with national repercussions.

Antonia Hylton

Antonia Hylton is an NBC News correspondent. She is an Emmy award-winning journalist reporting at the intersection of politics, civil rights, and immigration across NBC News platforms. Antonia has won several awards, including an Emmy for her development and reporting of an HBO special episode on the family separation crisis, a Gracie Award for her stories about women, a NAMIC Vision Award for reporting on violence and politics in Chicago, and two Front Page Awards for special reporting and breaking news.

George M. Johnson

George M Johnson is an award-winning writer, author, and activist located in the NYC area. George has written for major outlets including Teen Vogue, Entertainment Tonight, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, Ebony, THEM, and The Grio. They have also served as Guest Editor for’s Pride month. They were awarded the 2019 Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for their article “When Racism Anchors your Health” in Vice Magazine, and was named in The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2020.

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