The Areva Martin Podcast
Why Kamala Harris needs an extra line of defense Ft. Karen Bass

Why Kamala Harris needs an extra line of defense Ft. Karen Bass

September 27, 2020

Since being elected the the California State Assembly in 2008, Congresswoman Karen Bass has become a prominent presence in the Democratic Party. Her tireless work on criminal justice reform even earned her consideration as the Biden campaign´s VP pick, a rarity for a sitting member of Congress. In her 7 years of service at the state level, Congresswoman Karen Bass has witnessed some tumultuous moments in recent American history, and here she joins our host Areva Martin for a candid, revealing conversation.

4:37 An Election Year to Remember?

Election years are always notable for public officials, but 2020 has given Congresswoman Bass more memories than most. Fresh off a 5th re-election to her 37th District post, she speaks on the experience of helping to launch a pivotal Democratic campaign. Although she was also considered, she highlights the merit of representation for minority women overall. Expressing excitement for the convention´s star-studded speaking lineup, she credits party unity and enthusiasm with her positive outlook for this year´s election.

 

7:13 The Politics of Politics

After a selection process that can often be contentious, Congresswoman Bass makes a point of congratulating Kamala Harris on being chosen for the campaign. However, she feels examining the root of criticisms leveled at her during the process can be instructive. She points to attempts made by various parties to create undue conflict between herself and Senator Harris. In refusing to engage negatively, she was called ¨too likeable¨ by a number of commentators, a problematic concept in an ecosystem built on mutual support.

10:40 Attacked from Every Angle

As a black woman, Congresswoman Bass has an intimate understanding of the structural challenges minorities can face in traditional institutions. Along with attacks from her political opponents, she and other black women can face gendered attacks as well as racial discrimination. She also explores the impact of foreign influence, as the nation's enemies have been able to exploit and exacerbate division through targeted campaigns. In her view, counteracting these volatile forces in a critical year will require an aggressive new strategy.

13:57 Eyes on the Prize
As her voting record shows, Congresswoman Bass´ approach to public service has been community focused and people-driven. Delivering tangible benefits for disadvantaged individuals remains her true passion. Through initiatives such as foster care support, foreign aid, and recidivism reduction, she works to create a more equitable society for those around her.

15:11 Gone Postal

The dismantling of the United States Postal Service continues even as COVID-19 crisis has made mail-in voting a necessity for the 2020 election. With nearly all 50 states reporting significant delays in mail processing, countless voters could effectively be disenfranchised by these cutbacks. USPS is also a major employer of minorities, veterans, and other vulnerable segments of society. Issuing strong rebuke for the federal administration, she warns that a failure to protect this key public service could have devastating and irreversible effects.

 

Connect with Karen Bass:

LA Office: (323) 965-1422
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RepKarenBass

Website: https://karenbass.com/

Being funny in unfunny times | Ft. Kim Whitely

Being funny in unfunny times | Ft. Kim Whitely

September 20, 2020

Actress and comedian Kym Whitley has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.  These ¨interesting times¨ have fundamentally altered her personal life as well. 2020 has brought on a profound period of evolution for this longtime TV star.  She sits with us today to share perspective on personal growth in trying times.

0:40 Strengthened through Shared Struggle

Like most of us, Kym Whitley has had both friends and family members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty. As a result, finding any sense of normalcy has proven a challenge. Enduring such difficult moments while retaining a creative space for he professional life requires a well-developed support network. She credits the people in her life with buoying her spirit through difficult moments despite their personal struggles, forging deeper bonds in her personal relationships.

 

3:34 Stop Mourning the Future
It can be easy to ebb into low spirits as we imagine the grand plans we may miss out on as quarantines and travel restrictions define our times. The actress emphasizes the importance of focusing on the immediate. We can never regain a future that never was, but with careful introspection we can discover new opportunities. For her part, Kym has pursued a newfound interest in physical fitness that has seen her lose nearly 30 pounds (13.5kg) over the last 5 months. The effort even earned her an ambassadorship with Weight Watchers.

6:32 Entertaining New Possibilities 

With her career on stage and in Hollywood essentially frozen for the time being, the coronavirus crisis has forced her to reimagine her career. Like a true creative, she has worked to rise to the occasion with imagination. Her viral ¨Corona Chronicles¨ series has helped keep her hilarious personality on the minds of her fans, although she acknowledges that the path to profitability can be less direct. Having multiple streams of income has become paramount, even for an entertainer with such an extensive resume.

 

11:09 Considering ¨Cancel Culture¨
Many of Whitley´s peers have been touched by the social phenomenon of ¨cancel culture.¨ Careers can be ended in an instant due to the social media firestorm that often follows a careless or inflammatory comment made by a visible individual. In her view, while many of these instances are justified, it is important to also consider the hundreds of people that contribute to a given project. She points out that writers, crew, and support staff bear the brunt of the backlash in the wake of a cancellation, as their jobs may never be replaced.

19:39 The Power of a Platform

Right or wrong, society often looks to its most visible members for guidance. These individuals, and the platforms they have, have tremendous potential to foment change. However, they also come with great responsibility, and this demands that they are handled with care. A veteran comic, Whitley speaks on public pressures for celebrity activism, and how it can sometimes result in individuals speaking out when they may have no standing to do so. Silence, in her view, can be as valid a form of participation as any hashtag.

 

23:36 Gently Preserving History

History, by definition, includes aspects that may be less than palatable when viewed through modern eyes. The events of 2020 have drawn this concept into focus, as we wrestle with a shared question: which relics of the past are still appropriate for the general public today? Here, Kym takes time to outline her opinion, including exploring the role of symbols in storytelling. She also takes on the more problematic realities of past eras in entertainment, balancing them with an appreciation of how far we have come as a society.

Connect with Kym Whitley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kymwhitley
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kymwhitley/

005 - Why police departments have to be defunded now!  | Ft .Minneapolis City Councilwoman Lisa Bender

005 - Why police departments have to be defunded now! | Ft .Minneapolis City Councilwoman Lisa Bender

September 10, 2020

The demonstrations that have awakened citizens in every corner of the country got their spark in the streets of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered by police officers. Lisa Bender, President of Minneapolis City Council, has tasked herself with ensuring his death was not in vain by compelling law enforcement to reimagine the way it interacts with the public. One of the most visible points of progress was the recent resolution to disband the MPD, and here she goes into detail on what a new model of policing may look like.

 

0:59 Decoding Defunding

At first glance, a phrase like ¨defund the police¨ may seem so radical as to entirely upend civil society. However, a central element of Bender´s current work in city council is demystifying the concept of redirecting resources away from armed patrols and toward community-focused and mental health-driven solutions. Through carefully considered measures such as these, society can address the root causes of crime and potentially turn out more well-adjusted citizens that require less intervention from the state in the first place. 

 

3:19 Systemic Concerns

Derek Chauvin, the principal officer involved in the George Floyd, stands as a stark example of conventional police training´s limits. A 19-year veteran of the force, Chauvin nonetheless acted with wanton disregard for both the law and public safety, drawing the policies of the department in general into scrutiny. Pointing to the egregious nature of the case, the City Council President advocates for a complete overhaul of the policing structure in Minneapolis and outlines her efforts to work with the community and identify viable alternatives.

 

7:06 Erasing the ¨Thin Blue Line¨

A particularly problematic aspect of police brutality in the United States is the culture of protection for officers who engage in violent misconduct. While she holds up labor unions as essential to protecting the workers of her city, she also expresses concern at the amount of power and leverage police unions have gained in Minneapolis and across the nation. In her view, transparency lies at the core of the worst issues associated with modern law enforcement, and so structural changes must be aimed at promoting accountability.

 

8:51 A City Without Cops?

As a community leader, Lisa Bender understands the importance in fostering a sense of security in her neighborhood. However, she contends that most situations that result in a call to 911 do not merit an armed response. Social workers, civilian watches, and local investment in quality of life would form the basis for a proposed new system for stabilizing society on an everyday basis, with what she hopes are more enduring and beneficial results. 

 

14:59 The Brewing Political Revolution

Despite representing what is nominally a Democrat-run city, the agenda of Minneapolis City Council is seen as radical in the larger party dynamic. Pushback from the political sphere is constant, but with the support of her fellow City Council members and an ample infusion of public will, Lisa Bender has been able to foment tangible changes for those most affected by the current national conversations, and turn the eyes of a nation to long-understudied issues.

Connect with Lisa Bender
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisabendermpls/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisabendermpls?lang=en

How Ferguson elected the first black mayor in history | Ft. Ferguson Mayor How Ferguson elected it’s first black mayor | Ft. Mayor Ella Jones

How Ferguson elected the first black mayor in history | Ft. Ferguson Mayor How Ferguson elected it’s first black mayor | Ft. Mayor Ella Jones

August 18, 2020

Few public officials today have a connection to the social justice movement of today quite like Ella Jones, Mayor of Ferguson, MO. After spending the early part of her adult life in the private sector as well as immersed in the Church, she underwent an evolution of purpose after one of America's most infamous incidents of deadly police misconduct, and this engaging episode follows her footsteps to the forefront of local politics.

TIMESTAMPS

2:34 Forged in Ferguson

The case of Mike Brown was a traumatic incident for much of the nation, and for residents of Jones´ Missouri hometown in particular. After extensive news coverage of this murder of an unarmed cvilian at the hands of local law enforcement, the verdict absolving the officers of the clear murder delivered a seismic shock to the small city. The future politician recalls urgent warnings from family members to leave Ferguson in an attempt to escape the forthcoming civil unrest, and her eventual decision to stay and shape her environment.

 

3:53 The Path to Public Service

By 2015, just months after the Mike Brown murder, Jones followed her heart into the field of politics, an arena where she possessed no prior experience. The road to her position was one with plenty of unexpected twists, and here she recounts her long journey from chemistry to the cloth and on to public service, describing the joy she found in each of these endeavors along the way, as well as the experience of becoming an entrepreneur through direct sales.

 

5:11 New Beginnings

Perhaps the defining influence in Mayor Jones´ commitment to public service was the death of her husband in the fall of 2013. Losing interest in her business, she found a new fire in the form of civic life, running for City Council after being encouraged by friends and neighbors to turn her passion to the pursuit of a better future for Ferguson.

 

7:00 A Vision for the City

Ella Jones recalls having eyes on the mayoral suite from the time she transitioned to politics, noting that she would have never run for office if not with intent to reach City Hall. Her ascension from first black female member of Ferguson City council to the city´s highest ranking office--during one of the its most turbulent periods--stands as a testament to her resolve. Mayor Jones looks back at the beginning of her time in the position, relating the  challenges involved with establishing herself as Ferguson's premier political force.

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11:23 Real Representation

The city of Ferguson has long had a predominantly black population, but as Mayor Jones´ June 2020 election as the city´s first black mayor highlights, the makeup of leadership has never reflected residential demographics. She speaks on the importance of representation for vulnerable segments of society, and the positive impact that inclusive, community driven solutions can bring to cities like hers.

 

13:29 A Recurring Nightmare 

The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police just weeks ago drew obvious parallels to the day that catalyzed her political career. Mayor Jones describes her emotions watching the footage, with the callous nature of the officers involved during the nearly 9-minute video making a particularly strong impression on her. She also details the following days and nights in Ferguson, where residents were again driven to unrest by echoes of police brutality, and offers some of her outlook on the demonstrations that rage on from coast to coast.

What a founder of Black Lives Matter wants the world to know | Ft. Dr. Melina Abdullah

What a founder of Black Lives Matter wants the world to know | Ft. Dr. Melina Abdullah

August 18, 2020

While much of recent American history has been shaped by incremental change, the ongoing protests that have gripped the hearts and minds of a nation demonstrate that the time for deliberation has passed. Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter LA Chapter, has worked tirelessly to catalyze change both for those that rely on her most and in society at large, and expands on her perspective in this engaging conversation.

TIMESTAMPS

3:34 Women of the Future

As chair of the Cal State LA Pan-African Studies department, Dr. Abdullah has persisted as an agent of change for her entire adult life. She reflects on how her motherhood and advocacy have shaped one another, particularly as it relates to raising her two teenage daughters as a single mother. Her passion for a better world is fueled by a desire to enhance their inheritance, and create a society more geared toward their complete humanity.

 

4:52 Service through Self-Actualization 

Raising three children alone is a daunting proposition under any circumstances, and the demands of serving as a high-ranking educator as well as a social activist make her a truly indispensable element of her community. Dr. Abdullah credits her work with Black Lives Matter with energizing her to express the fullest version of herself. She also takes pride in incorporating her various worlds, with her children frequently accompanying her to demonstrations and her oldest daughter ever taking an interest in community organization.

 

5:13 The Nuclear Family as a Limiting Construct

For its traditional centering of white men and erasure of female voices and same-sex partnerships, Dr. Abdullah regards the nuclear family as a construct of white supremacy. As the ancient wisdom informs, ¨it takes a village to raise a child,¨ and Dr. Abdullah takes time to acknowledge the many members of the BLM movement who have taken an active interest in the development of her children. By drawing on the specialized skills and inclinations of each community member, the collective becomes stronger and more well-rounded.  

 

7:26 Echoes of the Motherland

Although the pictures were certainly stunning, Dr. Abdullah´s trip to Ghana was far more than a well-earned sabbatical. She describes her trip to the West African nation as a profound experience, detailing her palpable perception of her ancestors that called the region home centuries ago. Invigorated by the visit, she turns the conversation to the ways in which the COVID-19 crisis and the travel restrictions that essentially confine Americans to within their own borders have had an unexpected effect on her family traditions.

 

11:51 The Making of a Leader

While her modern advocacy enjoys a larger platform than ever, Dr. Abdullah´s roots in the fight for racial justice in America are anchored deeply. She speaks on her formative years in 1970s Oakland, where her parents´ active participation with civil rights and community defense groups made an early and enduring impression on her. She also reveals how her years of study in the CSU system strengthened her commitment to the cause and the role the 2008 murder of Trayvon Martin played in putting her on her current path.

 

14:13 Confronting the Crimes

In Dr. Abdullah´s view, one of the driving forces behind the minimization of violence against black Americans is the narrative that is formed through use of language. For example, where incidents of murder are reported as simply ¨deaths,¨ there is a failure to acknowledge the true extent of the harm done or the culpability of the killer.

 

39:44 A Decentralized Movement

One of the biggest misconceptions about Black Lives Matter is that the organization is a monolith. Dr. Abdullah takes time at the end of the conversation to point out that BLM is a collaborative movement that centers groups instead of individual leaders, and emphasizes the role everyone has to play in ensuring black lives matter, and in ture, that all lives do.

 

Connect with Dr. Melina Abdullah:


Twitter: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/pas/Abdullah.php

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/docmellymel/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5DX4wh-zu1HhTEKUAIk6yg

 

Blues eyes/Brown eyes in the age of BLM | Ft. Jane Elliot

Blues eyes/Brown eyes in the age of BLM | Ft. Jane Elliot

August 18, 2020

Jane Elliott, world renowned educator and advocate, can hardly believe the world is still in such need of her work. Today working as a diversity trainer for organizations, Jane´s road to the forefront of allyship has spanned over 5 decades, and involved many moments of pain and deep introspection. Here, she offers her perspective on a world that isn´t quite as different as she´d imagined after a half a century fighting the good fight.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:37 Early Education

As racism is a learned behavior rather than an innate attribute, Jane Elliott holds early education on the topic paramount in creating individuals well-suited to a brighter future. Her famous ¨Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes¨ exercise drew considerable interdisciplinary attention by creating what Elliott envisioned as ´a microcosm of society´ in an effort to highlight the merits of empathy. Undeterred by decades of pushback, she instills the values of equality in each of her students by drawing on historical examples of oppression and their human cost.

5:41 Racism as a Brand Strategy

Ohe of the lifelong educator´s most intriguing contentions is her framing of racism and discrimination as a vehicle for capitialism. The United States prison system, by far the world´s most extensive, has repeatedly displayed a bias against minorities, and it is through the products and services generated by prison labor that many of the nation´s largest corporations are able to increase their profit margins and bolster their empires.

9:42 Weaponizing Race

¨Divide and conquer¨ is a strategy as old as the printed word, and so ignorance can be a valuable tool in the hands of a party motivated to manipulate. In Elliott´s view, the racially charged issues that pry at the foundation of the American public in 2020 are systemic in nature, and driven by narratives of division. She points to a lack of relevant education as a key obstacle to the progress of race relations, and highlights the role that the idea of American exceptionalist identity plays in driving a wedge between members of society.

18:53 The Illusion of Progress?

With the status of Confederate and other controversial monuments under intense recent debate, Elliott warns of the dangers of losing sight of larger goals while celebrating small victories. While statues and flags can be taken down, the underlying support for what these symbols represent are the most enduring and dangerous element of their existence. Among her more tangible concerns are white nationalists in the military, commitment of educational resources, and more honest evaluations of American history´s uglier chapters.

45:09 White Allies Matter

While it is important for allies not to center themselves in minority empowerment movements such as BLM, allies make up valuable members of any coalition. Awareness of language is important. Elliott recounts many instances of hearing well-meaning allies say things like ¨I don´t see color,¨ a phrase she finds problematic as this can also mean the viewer does not see distinct experiences. Instead, she advises allies to acknowledge that there is simply no way to truly relate to the struggles people of color face while still demonstrating their support.

57:00 Defunding and Deprogramming

Public sentiment is growing in favor of diverting resources away from traditional armed policing toward community building solutions, an approach Elliott enthusiastically endorses in the form of reeducation programs and diversity training. Racism, both within police departments and in wider society, is endemic throughout the United States, and its ripple effects contribute to many of our most pressing civil concerns.

59:23 An Educated Human Family 

With geneticists widely in agreement that every member of the modern human race shares a common ancestry, the inescapable truth is that we are all cousins. Elliott uses this reality to undermine white supremacist ideology both in her educational career and in her advocacy work. After more than half a century in her field, Jane Elliott is still working to prove that the only lasting remedy for ignorance and the fear it creates is a lifetime of education.

Connect with Jane Elliott

Website: https://janeelliott.com/

Email: https://janeelliott.com/contact

The LAPD facesit’s greatest crisis in a generation | An exclusive interview with LAPD Chief Michel Moore

The LAPD facesit’s greatest crisis in a generation | An exclusive interview with LAPD Chief Michel Moore

August 18, 2020

Law enforcement is under more scrutiny than ever before, and few people carry such a deep understanding of the crossroads at which the profession stands as LAPD Chief Michael Moore. His decades on the force in one of the nation's largest, most populous, and most diverse cities give him a unique and valuable perspective in the ongoing struggle to define and deliver justice for all in the United States of America.

TIMESTAMPS

2:15 Creating Consistency

Moore has became the target of public scorn over recent weeks for the behavior of his department, particularly at the ongoing police brutality demonstrations stemming from the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly two months ago.. Acknowledging that individual officers may step out of line with deadly results, Moore advocates for greater inquiry into each case to better understand how to use the tools at an officer´s disposal.


3:16 Top Cops Handcuffed?

Asked to comment on extrajudicial shootings around the country, such as those of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Rashard Brooks in Atlanta, Chief Moore highlights the significant differences between what top police officials are able to do unilaterally in various jurisdictions. In his view, the swift termination of the officers involved in these killings go beyond what Moore himself would be able to accomplish in any event, as the legal system of Los Angeles is designed to provide ample protection and recourse to its police officers.

5:22 On No-Knock Warrants

No-knock warrants allow police officers to enter the homes of private citizens without identifying themselves as law enforcement or obtaining the permission of the homeowner, and the inherent flaws of this legal construct have been drawn into clear focus in the killing of Breanna Taylor, an EMT who was shot by officers as she slept in her bed. Moore believes they should be used sparingly, if at all, and expands on how execution of these warrants run counter to the techniques officially employed by the LAPD.

7:08 Angles of Truth

The lawless conduct of Los Angeles police of late has drawn pointed comparisons to the 1992 riots that resulted from the acquittal of officers filmed viciously beating Rodney King as he lay prone on the freeway. Moore insists that the use of force by his officers was minimal, and employed only to protect the community and its resources. Regarding the pictures and videos of these incidents of officer misconduct captured by everyday citizens, he contends that they may not represent the reality of the scenarios depicted. 

11:34 Methodical Management

Moore repeatedly asks for patience with his department as they navigate a challenging situation. Where citizens may demand immediate action when faced with clear and public evidence of misconduct among the city´s officers, he sees more merit in a meticulous approach. He stresses the importance of placing events in their proper context, about understanding how the actions of all parties involved may have contributed to a given outcome, and facilitating order regardless of the circumstances.

22:41 A Career that Speaks for Itself

Over the years, the LAPD has earned a checkered reputation for their relationships with poor and minority communities. Chief Moore recently added fuel to the fire with some uniquely inflammatory remarks, stating that demonstrators ¨were as responsible for George Floyd´s death as the officer who kneeled on his neck.¨ Amid widespread calls for his resignation, Moore claims he misspoke on a single occasion, which should not take away from his service, and that he will continue to serve the people of Los Angeles to the best of his ability.

33:19 Public Trust: A $1.8 Billion Building Project

Asked to justify the LAPD´s annually swelling budget in a time when so many other public services such as education and healthcare go underfunded, Moore points to the importance of addressing crime at a structural level. He sees building community confidence and public engagement as key to creating more equitable outcomes for all members of a society, and has come to believe that the LAPD is a vital piece of that puzzle.

 

Contact LAPD Chief Michael Moore:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lapdchiefmoore

Department Phone: (213) 996-1200

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