Stepping Into Truth: Conversations on Race, Gender, and Social Justice
Talking with Philanthropist & Activist Xander Schultz

Talking with Philanthropist & Activist Xander Schultz

January 12, 2021

How best can we support the work of those on the front lines of social justice? That’s a question that I’ve heard a lot. Xander Schultz, and those he works with, have come up with multiple effective and, often, clever ways to advance the causes that are most important to them.

In this inspiring, engaging, and impactful conversation Xander and I explore some of the ways to address the critical issues of our time. From Defeat By Tweet to creating spaces where refugees can find some moments of joy, Xander guides us to actions that we might not have thought of. Especially take note of what Xander says at the 23:49 mark. It’s really important.

I’m pretty sure that this conversation will get your mental gears turning and inspire you to come up with some creative ways of making the impact you want to make. 

Talking with Iranian Born Activist Ari Honarvar

Talking with Iranian Born Activist Ari Honarvar

December 22, 2020

She grew up in repressive and war torn Iran, then writer and activist Ari Honarvar came to the United States. In this timely conversation Ari and I talk about intersectionality and bringing joy to those stranded at the US border. Ari and I also talk about what it's like to be from a war torn country and some of the disturbing parallels to where we are in the United States right now.

What I loved about this conversation is that Ari not only shows us that finding joy is possible in the worst of circumstances, she reminds us that spreading joy is the best way to experience it for ourselves.

Some organizations that Ari is involved with that you should check out are

Gente Unida (full disclosure, I'm on the board), Floyd Rights, and Musical Ambassadors of Peace

Talking with Author & Activist Joel Edward Goza

Talking with Author & Activist Joel Edward Goza

December 8, 2020

I have never said, “You have to listen to this episode!”. I am telling you, you have to listen to this episode.

In this remarkable conversation Joel Goza, author of America's Unholy Ghosts: The Racist Roots of Our Faith and Politics, and I talk about the deep roots of the structural and systemic racism that plagues the United States. Drawing lines between people and events that predate the founding of the U.S. and taking a deep look at the complexity of Dr. King, Joel brings clarity to the discussion of where we are, how we got here, and what we need to do going forward.

I’ve had a lot of conversations about this subject and this is, without doubt, one of the most impactful discussions I’ve ever had. To say that I loved this conversation is such an understatement. Joel is wise and, most importantly, walks his talk.

Ruby Smith Diaz on Anti-Oppression, Body Positivity & More

Ruby Smith Diaz on Anti-Oppression, Body Positivity & More

November 24, 2020

As we work towards the goals of freedom and social justice one of the things that is most important is that we listen to and center the voices of young people. They are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of our actions, and our inactions.

Ruby Smith-Diaz and I discuss how she uses art to engage, empower, and inspire young people to use their voices and their creativity in service of their needs, dreams, and rights.

Beyond that Ruby and I discuss body image from the perspective of racial equity.

It was a fascinating and expanding conversation and I think you’re going to love it.

Talking with Author and Activist Anjali Enjeti

Talking with Author and Activist Anjali Enjeti

November 10, 2020

Anjali Enjeti and I had this great conversation all the way back in June. We talked about the election, about Black Lives Matter, about the role of race in American Literature and more.

Given that the election is over it might seem odd to even think about it now but this conversation will expand how you see the way that voting plays into sustaining systemic racism which matters so much because there are more elections to come and the efforts to make voting harder are constantly being ramped up.

But my favorite part of the conversation is talking with Anjali about shifts that we’re seeing in our engagement with the whole subject of race and how we can make our stand for anti racism broader and deeper in our lives. Also, we discuss the problems with To Kill a Mockingbird and other American classics.

Have a listen without the tension of wondering who is going to win the Presidential race and find a deeper understanding of where we are and what needs to be done.

Talking with The Politics of Trauma author Staci K. Haines

Talking with The Politics of Trauma author Staci K. Haines

October 27, 2020

It's 2020 and that means that there is almost no way to be living in the United States and not have experienced some sort of trauma. Lives and jobs upended and lost, our politics are out of control, systemic racism front and center, it's been a brutal year. 

Somatic practician and activist Staci K. Haines takes on this critical subject in her remarkable book, The Politics of Trauma. In our conversation Staci and I talk about the implications of power both for those without it and with it, the systemic trauma of racism and so much more.

Talking Combatting Anti Asian Racism and More w/ Activist & Organizer Grace Pai

Talking Combatting Anti Asian Racism and More w/ Activist & Organizer Grace Pai

October 13, 2020

In this episode organizer and activist Grace Pai and I discuss the divisions between Blacks and Asian Americans, how Coronavirus is impacting the Asian American community, and the potential that lives in cross racial collaborations. 

Grace is the Director of Organizing at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. Her years of community organizing have given Grace a perspective that is especially important in this fraught time.

This conversation opened my eyes to elements of the struggle for freedom for all of us that I hadn't been aware of. I think you'll find it as important, engaging, and informative as I did.

Talking Tomboys, Racism, and Busting Gender Norms with Lisa Selin Davis

Talking Tomboys, Racism, and Busting Gender Norms with Lisa Selin Davis

September 29, 2020

One of the joys of childhood for a lot of girls, me included, was being a tomboy when I was a child. I ran around with a pack of boys and girls and we played with abandon.

Does this sound familiar? Was that you or a friend of yours? In this episode I speak with author Lisa Selin Davis. Selin Davis has written a book that not only looks at the general idea of being a tomboy but also at the deep racism that lies at the heart of the 19th century practice of encouraging girls to be tomboys.

Tomboy-ism isn't just a way of being in the world, it has implications that underpin our society as a whole and the dynamics that define our understanding of gender roles. If you have were a tomboy, have one in your life, or are curious about how racism and tomboy-ism are connected, have a listen. It's fascinating...

Talking Elevating the Voices of Girls and Young Women w/ Writer & Actress Kim Sykes

Talking Elevating the Voices of Girls and Young Women w/ Writer & Actress Kim Sykes

September 15, 2020

In this episode I speak with actress and writer Kim Sykes who is the artistic director for Girl Be Heard an organization dedicated to elevating the voices of girls, young women, transfeminine, and gender nonconforming, and gender fluid individuals . 

These  are the future and Girl Be Heard is dedicated to building the activists and changemakers who will be running the world in years to come.

Kim and I talk about the impact it has on them to write and perform their stories, to use the arts to explore their experiences, to find their voice, to be heard. 

In a world that still has rules for how we behave based on gender taking back the power of telling their own stories and envisioning their own futures is powerful medicine. 

This conversation gave me so much hope for the generation coming up now. It also made me think about what my responsibility as an ancestor is. I hope it does the same for you.

Talking Fighting & Winning a “Qualified Immunity” Defense w/ Attorney Christopher Brown

Talking Fighting & Winning a “Qualified Immunity” Defense w/ Attorney Christopher Brown

September 1, 2020

Before Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McLain, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Michael Brown there was Wayne Jones. Mr. Jones was a schizophrenic, unhoused Black man living in West Virginia when a random encounter with the police resulted in Mr. Jones being shot 22 times.

In this conversation I speak with Christopher Brown, the attorney who took the Jones family's case, where the police had successfully argued qualified immunity, all the way to the Fourth Circuit court of Appeals. There he did something almost never accomplished, he won. 

In this moment of heightened attention on interactions between police and the Black community this conversation could not be more important.

In addition to talking about this specific case Christopher has some really excellent, concrete suggestions for how we change this system. Listen, and please, pass this episode along to everyone you know. 

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