The uprising for Black lives has disrupted the social and economic status quo through protests, highway shutdowns and occupations. It has also been an opportunity for activists and organizers to build power and engage people politically. But the pandemic, changes to the postal service, and the increasingly polarized political climate will impact the upcoming general election in major ways. So in this episode, we hear from a state representative who helped to come up with new absentee and mail-in balloting guidelines and two ministers who are part of multi-racial and multi-faith coalitions that engage voters and increase voter turnout.
In less than a year, the coronavirus has changed life as we know it-- from job losses to evictions and even the loss of loved ones. As we enter the fall and back-to-school season, we wanted to know: what does education look like in the midst of a pandemic and how can we keep students, educators, and workers safe? So in this episode, we hear from two teachers: one who will share what it's like to teach through a pandemic and another who has been organizing teachers to advocate for safer policies and practices in the St. Louis Public School system. We'll also talk to a student advocate and financial aid advisor from a local nonprofit scholarship organization about how COVID-19 is affecting college students and what it means to put a racial equity lens on the student loan crisis.
This is a bonus episode about the making of Black at Mizzou: Confronting Race on Campus, an audio documentary that was recently released by American Public Media. It provides a window into the community of Black students at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the impact of the Concerned Student 1950 movement. In this episode, we hear about the process of hosting and producing the documentary from someone that you already know, but are about to get a whole lot more familiar with: Lauren Brown, co-host and producer for We Live Here. Black at Mizzou: Confronting Race on Campus from APM Reports is out now-- on the Educate podcast from American Public Media-- everywhere you get podcasts. You can also find it online at apmreports.org.
As layoffs and furloughs continue through the coronavirus-induced recession and eviction moratoriums are being lifted, the U.S. is facing a major housing crisis. In St. Louis, people have been holding rallies and occupying City Hall to call for a moratorium on evictions for tenants and unhoused people alike, and framing this demand as a racial equity issue. So in this episode, we trace the story of two tent encampments: one occupied by people who are unhoused under an overpass and one occupied by activists and advocates at St. Louis City Hall. We also hear from the executive director and community engagement specialist of a fair housing enforcement agency about what racial equity means during a housing crisis.
Fighting for Black lives isn't new and some say that this uprising isn't new either. It's a familiar fight that Black people have been fighting for centuries. The difference is that now this fight is happening as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, especially within the African-American community. The pandemic, state violence, and racist attacks all have devastating physical consequences, but there is also a mental toll. In this episode, we hear from a Black healing practitioner and two Black psychologists about how the pandemic and the uprising are impacting the mental health of African-Americans and how Black people can maintain and promote their mental wellness during these stressful times.
Even though we are currently in a pandemic, the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and more have led people to take to the streets. Protests and marches around the world have sparked a renewed uprising for Black lives and when looting and vandalism began to impact large chain stores and small Black businesses alike. Many began asking how can they support small Black businesses during this time and people began following campaigns such as #BuyBlack, #BankBlack, and #BlackoutDay2020 to uplift Black business and communities that have been devalued and poverty-stricken for years. In this episode we hear from two small Black business owners about what's like to own a small business during this time and we ask an economic development specialist and a scholar of race and structural inequality about what's at stake if we continue to devalue Black businesses in the midst of an uprising for Black lives and beyond.
We wanted to give you an inside look into our next season on how people are rising up for Black lives around the world because for every moment captured on the news, there are a series of decisions that led us here to a time when record numbers of people are discontent with the status quo. What decisions will lead us to a more racially equitable future that truly values Black lives? We want to hear from you-- so send us a message on Twitter or Instagram at WE LIVE HERE S-T-L or call 314-396-2953 and leave a message about why you're rising up for Black lives and what you hope will happen next.
The pandemic has upended the lives of countless people across the world, but for refugees who fled their countries of origin to escape persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or ideology, COVID-19 makes it even harder to navigate healthcare, employment, education, and daily life. New restrictions on refugee resettlement and immigration add yet another layer of concern for people seeking a new life in the U.S. In this episode, we hear from a refugee who is a college student about what it's like to learn and live through COVID-19 and we ask a social worker and an immigration attorney about what social support and legal services are needed by refugees through the pandemic and beyond.
Masks, social distancing, and diligent hand washing have become the new norm in the era of COVID-19. But for many, following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread is nearly impossible. That's the case for people in jails, prisons, and detention facilities which are now understood to be major hotspots for the virus. And that's why advocates, public health officials, and public defenders are calling for decarceration-- reducing the number of people held in jails, prisons, and detention facilities-- as a strategy to flatten the curve and prevent massive outbreaks among people who are already vulnerable to the virus. In this episode, we hear from decarceration advocates, the Director of the Missouri Public Defender system, and the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis about what can be done to reduce the number of people held in jails, prisons, and detention facilities, what's at stake for public health and public safety if no changes are made, and how courts and jails have shifted their operations during the pandemic.
The Ferguson uprising catalyzed conversations and sparked action around racial equity in the St. Louis region. In the following years we've seen the growth of new research, movements, and programs that center the experiences of Black people. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans across the nation and in St. Louis raises a crucial question about how to work toward racial equity during a pandemic. In this episode, we talk to three Black leaders who've been centering racial equity in their work and learn their perspectives on investment, community health, and regional response during the pandemic.