Long ago, Debby Irving dedicated her life to making the world a more enlightened place, one lesson at a time...ironically, she ended up becoming the student. Her career as an educator changed her view of the racial dynamics that define life in America. In this thought-provoking discussion, Irving endeavors to deconstruct the concept of ¨whiteness¨ and highlight the inherent danger of white ignorance.
Gaining perspective can be a life-changing experience, and few Americans understand this idea like Christopher Buckley. After serving the country in the War on Terror, Buckley developed what he called ¨an addiction to hate¨ that saw him fall into the clutches of the Ku Klux Klan. The now-former member of the ¨Georgia White Knights¨ grew to benefit from the privilege of perspective, with his recent op-ed for CNN gaining national attention. The reformed white supremacist visits us today to discuss a path forward through understanding.
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From the entertainment world to the political sphere, Omarosa Manigault-Newman holds an undeniably unique position in our cultural moment. The Apprentice cemented her as a powerful voice in contemporary culture. Today´s conversation details her ascension to the White House alongside former Apprentice host President Trump, including firsthand accounts of chaos in the West Wing.
In America Christianity has become increasingly associated with the Republican Party.
John Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor, an author and activist known for his social and political writings. His popular blog Stuff That Needs to be Said is read by millions. He has two books out one bearing the same name as his blog, and is a collection of some of his most widely read and beloved essays on faith, politics and greed. His second book, A Bigger Table was recently re-released. We're so happy today to be welcoming John to the show, and having an opportunity to sit down with him during this really crazy period that we find ourselves in.
America the Malevolent
America is living through a period that generates almost continual pain and grief. It’s a product of the malevolence, at the highest levels of our government. It’s exacerbating people's pain by continually manufacturing emergency after emergency. It’s perpetual. We don't know what we're going to deal with every time we get up in the morning. We never have time to sit with anything long enough to really grieve it.
We're in a place where many people feel like they are suffocating right now. The information that we're getting daily if incredibly distressing. We need to pull away and get some silence and solitude and rest. But if the opposite is true, if isolation and loneliness seems to be what's causing our anxiety. Community is medicinal. We need to seek out other people who are asking the same questions carrying similar burdens, and holding similar outrage. Those are the things that really help sustain us in these times.
Fighting the Theocracy
John never spoke about politics or individual politicians before 2016. But the Christian right, and Donald Trump have aligned to create a theocracy that is built on a religion of fear. Donald Trump has leveraged all the fears and prejudices that are the worst of religion. He has capitalized on people who have raised been raised with a God who is white, cisgender, heterosexual, American Christian, and votes Republican. He's fooled people into creating a disconnect between their religion and the Jesus of the Bible.
Understanding Toxic Christianity
People have been raised for decades in a really toxic Christianity. They can't even understand that the character of a loving God is an embracing idea. This isolationism of Donald Trump and this separation that he feeds into, it's really bears no resemblance to Jesus. In fact, Christians need to understand that the biblical Jesus who was not white and not republican and not Christian, would really be threatened in this America. And we, especially as a white Christians, we have to understand that every minute and realize that that's who we're speaking for. The “least of these” that Jesus teaches about has nothing in common with the Republican cruelty that we're seeing.
Pro-life means being for humanity. If we ask if Donald Trump and his policies are “for humanity”, the answer is categorically “no”. He takes away health care during a pandemic, that is not for humanity. Separating childre from their parents is not for humanity. People who are moderates and progressives need to continually lift up the idea of a consistent pro-life ethic and continually point to the fraudulence of Trump Christians who seem to embrace the idea of the fetus, but anything beyond the birth canal is irrelevant to them.
Donald Trump represents the most damaged version of humanity. But because he is the president people are now aspiring to that. We really have to be people who look for people who are hurting, and try to figure out how to reach them. As a Christian, that compassion is the sole marker of a believer. Do you care about other people? The fact that Trump is incapable of doing that says something about him. But the fact that someone would embrace him says a lot about them as well.
The Reverend Al Sharpton has never shied away from speaking truth to power, and in these unfamiliar hours his voice may have never been more important. After making an indelible impact on the social justice movement in recent decades, his perspective gains tremendous gravity in today´s conversations. In this electrifying edition, the civil rights icon sits with Areva Martin to deliver his views from the front in the ongoing fight for true freedom.
2:01 Hard Truths
The Reverend speaks on finding himself in a place of hope even as difficult discussions continue to unfold in practically every aspect of our lives. In his view, the depth of systemic racism is finally becoming apparent even to those who may not be directly affected by inequality. In the past, The Reverend has struggled to gain support for his struggle outside the black community. With the injustices of American society so clearly on display in 2020, Sharpton sees a rare and valuable opportunity to turn neutral parties into allies.
6:38 Held Down
The Reverend, known for his passionate oratory, gave an emotionally charged eulogy for George Floyd after he was murdered by Minneapolis police. In his speech, he drew sharp focus to the systemic nature of state violence, particularly against minorities. The method and manner of Floyd´s execution was highlighted as reflective of a larger pattern. Sharpton contends that systems in the United States actively work against minorities, pointing to other everyday instances of repression that rob minorities of full expression.
11:15 The Elephant in the Room
The Reverend speaks frankly about his relationship with now-President Trump. Although it has soured recently, with the world leader using his platform to denounce Sharpton on multiple occasions, they were once associates. Their budding friendship was fractured in the 90s, when Trump came out in scathing condemnation of the Central Park 5. It was severed for good when the future chief executive became the public face of the ¨birther¨ movement, and its clear racist origins. Although it proved successful, the strategy proved unforgivable.
20:07 Framing the Facts
In the sensitive matters that define our times, bad faith arguments can destroy any hope of finding a common ground. The famous firebrand preaches the importance of a fact-driven approach in changing hearts and minds. Directly responding to public sentiment that systemic racism and police overreach are overstated, he demands that objective data points be objectively assessed. For Sharpton, those that cling to their opinions when confronted with the facts are simply beyond conversion, and must have their influence diminished
25:17 Make it Real
Despite the headlines of the past 4 years, President Trump still enjoys substantial support in the black community. Asked to address this phenomenon, Sharpton laments the effectiveness of propaganda on those most affected by this administration. While a few have seen transient financial gains due to relaxed corporate regulation, on balance Trump´s presidency has been a disaster for minorities. Noting the time for subtlety has passed, The Reverend espouses a full frontal attack on the ideologies that support the administration..
29:00 Last Call
It is said that liberty stands upon four boxes: soap, ballot, jury, and cartridge. In 2020, the specter of the fourth box looms large for the first time in generations. For these reasons, The Reverend, in accordance with his enduring endorsement of nonviolence, advocates effective use of the second during this year's Presidential Election. Warning against complacency in the face of favorable poll numbers, Sharpton advises each of us to vote as if our lives depend on it...because this time, they just might.
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The word ¨legendary¨ can be overused, but Dolores Huerta´s role in the story of labor, racial, and women´s equality truly merits the term. Fighting at the side of the equally iconic Cesar Chavez, Huerta was instrumental in winning worker protections that transformed life in America for migrant workers. Over half a century later, she continues her work in defending the rights of the people that power our modern society. Today´s compelling conversation with Areva offers her pertinent perspective of the COVID-19 crisis at the ground level.
3:13 Essentially Invisible
As the numbers clearly show, the fallout from COVID disproportionately affects people of color. Huerta points to an even more stark contrast when considering the millions of migrant workers that form the backbone of the American workforce. While some workers were able to receive benefits such as hazard pay, the undocumented are typically left out of these initiatives. Worse, when these undocumented workers are mistreated, they have no recourse thanks to a byzantine system of contractors and clients that make accountability impossible.
5:42 Corporate Commitment
In the profit-driven industries of today, there is precious little room for inefficiencies of any kind. This means that workers who miss work for any reason risk losing their income...COVID-19 is no exception. Workers forced to choose between feeding their families and public safety face an impossible choice. For these reasons, the onus falls directly on the employer to ensure employees are kept safe. In Huerta´s view, this includes providing all appropriate PPE as well as redesigning workspaces to mute transmission.
8:33 Don´t Wait for November
The civil rights leader also stresses that there are immediate and tangible actions that citizens can take to assist in the struggle for worker rights. Political will is the driving force behind social change, and so constant pressure on representatives ensures the will of the people is upheld. With the historically anti-union Republican Party working to remove key worker protections in recent legislation, Huerta believes it is imperative that citizens act now.
The name Jesse Jackson evokes a range of reactions in the United States of America, but his cultural impact is undeniable. Over his decades in the public eye, his words and actions have made an indelible impression on the national consciousness. From controversial spiritual leader to one-time presidential candidate, the iconoclast´s unvarnished perspective on these volatile moments in history is the focus of today´s compelling conversation.
2:07 The Longest Struggle
After spearheading the fight for equality for decades, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has practically become synonymous with race relations in America. Commonly viewed as an incendiary presence, the roots of his passion have been laid bare in the wake of ongoing nationwide demonstrations. Detailing his long view of the fight for equality, he opens with a relevant quote from Dr. King: ¨the arc of the Universe is long, but it bends toward justice.¨
3:46 Pouring Concrete
One of the most visible characteristics of the modern BLM movement is its lack of centralized leadership. Jackson sees this as a mark of a work in progress, pointing to the natural formation of hierarchies in practically any organization. Leaders naturally emerge with time. He also emphasizes the importance of collective engagement within movements designed the challenge existing systems. A sustainable approach is paramount, and the long-term viability of a leaderless civil rights movement is yet to be seen.
9:48 Exploiting the Moment
There can be little doubt that the urgency of today´s issues have created a moment ripe for radical change. The Reverend enthusiastically advocates for optimizing our opportunities to make a mark on the future: exploiting the moment. As the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s shows, the will of the people decides the shape of society. This perspective follows a fundamental tenet of Political Science: ¨Never let a good crisis go to waste.¨
11:04 Debunking Distractions
One of the more controversial elements of the ongoing demonstrations in cities across the US is the collateral damage that can result. Detractors often use damage to property to delegitimize these forms of protest. For these reasons, agents provocateur have repeatedly attempted to hijack these social justice movements by doing undue damage to residential property. Jackson goes into detail on the history of protest sabotage, as well as the demographics that make painting these demonstrations with a broad brush problematic.
14:53 More On Leadership
The Reverend sharply criticizes national leadership, specifically the President, for its role in inciting violence. Pointing to the administration´s unsatisfactory response to the murder of a police brutality protestor at Charlottesville, he condemns what he sees as passive encouragement of dangerous ideology. Left unchecked, these belief systems can tear society apart at every seam and radicalize otherwise seemingly normal American citizens.
20:21 Beyond Rhetoric
A particularly effective aspect of Jackson´s platform is is ability to influence legislation. His most recent contribution, a bill proposing to redefine racism as a public health crisis, could have far-reaching implications. According to the veteran activist, the time has come for American society to undergo a meticulous self-examination. He believes that reviewing the roots of systemic racism will quickly uncover the myriad structural issues faced by minorities in America. In turn, targeted solutions such as this legislation can be devised.
28:33 A Unique Opportunity
While The Reverend´s approach has had tangible effects for Angelenos, he recognizes that LA is an environment all its own. Los Angeles County has one of the largest public service workforces of any local municipality, as well as one of the nation´s largest budgets. For Jackson, this puts the leadership of Los Angeles in a singular position to redirect resources to its most disadvantaged residents. By addressing inequalities in areas such as housing, policing, and education, LA can build a model that can be replicated elsewhere.
48:16 Evolution of the Democratic Party
Jesse Jackson famously ran for President as an independent on multiple occasions, capturing a diverse coalition numbering over 6 million in 1988. At the time he was considered a radical for his stances on matters such as healthcare and criminal justice. Since then, the party has moved left appreciably. Here, the former candidate speaks on seeing his passionately held ideas pass into the political mainstream in a critical election.
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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.
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LA Office: (323) 965-1422
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.
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005 - Why police departments have to be defunded now! | Ft .Minneapolis City Councilwoman Lisa Bender
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.
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