Counter Stories We discuss race, identity, social justice and culture in a region grappling with demographic changes.
Counter Stories

Counter Stories

From MPR News

We discuss race, identity, social justice and culture in a region grappling with demographic changes.

Most Recent Episodes

One Black family's struggle with both racism and a pandemic

The coronavirus has changed almost everything about our way of life. Then came George Floyd's death, followed by international protests and civil unrest. How do parents cope with the crises that are engulfing the U.S.? For the past few months, Counter Stories co-host Anthony Galloway has recorded his family's experience of living together in the middle of a global pandemic — from the loneliness of his two children as schools closed, to the financial strain of job losses and the trauma of being Black in America. Galloway talks about the pressure of keeping his family together in these hard economic times, and his concern that the ongoing peaceful protests and civil unrest following George Floyd's death may have an impact on his children's mental and emotional state. He spends time with his son Ezra talking about George Floyd's death, the resulting riots and the role of rioting in American history. Counter Stories would like to thank the Galloway family for making this documentary possible.

Counter Stories: Native Americans celebrate significant wins

The past few weeks have been filled with significant news for Native Americans. Washington's football team says it's dropping its name and Indian head logo, which Native Americans have long protested were culturally offensive. The Supreme Court recognized the validity of a tribal treaty in Oklahoma. And a federal judge sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down until more environmental review is done. Another court has since said the pipeline can keep operating in the meantime, but still, many Native Americans see these developments as victories they didn't think were possible. What might they mean for the future? Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Patina Park, Director of Tribal State Relations for the State of Minnesota, joined the Counter Stories hosts this week. Counter Stories is hosted by: Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Anthony Galloway, senior partner at Dendros Group Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

Calling out racism, and calling in with love

Race and racism have been at the forefront of news headlines for more than a month now, ever since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis cop. Regardless of the color of your skin, it's likely you're talking about race with friends and family. And that can lead to some uncomfortable conversations. Today the hosts of Counter Stories share their strategies for engaging people on issues of race and identity. And they share some of the awkward moments they've experienced in discussions within their own communities, involving both race and colorism. They look at what it means to be "called in"... how it differs from being "called out"... and what to do when it happens to you. The team is joined this week by author, playwright and performer Saymoukda Vongsay. Vongsay uses her sharp sense of humor to combat racism and ethnic division. Counter Stories is hosted by: Anthony Galloway, senior partner at Dendros Group Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

Counter Stories: How to keep the movement moving

In the weeks since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis officer, protests have erupted around the world, but black people continue to die at the hands of police. We're at a pivotal moment regarding race in America. Will we see meaningful change in the days to come, or will we slip back into old patterns? In this episode of Counter Stories, our conversation starts on the streets with stories of police violence and ends up in the board rooms of corporations who have yet to fully commit themselves to true diversity. We talk about the pressing need for empathy and imagination, as well as the "three C's" — courage, curiosity and compassion. The Counter Stories team is joined by guest Acooa Lee Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way. Counter Stories is hosted by: Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Hlee Lee, owner of The Other Media Group Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

In the wake of George Floyd's death - grieving, healing and rebuilding

The protesters on the front lines working for meaningful change are still dealing with the trauma of witnessing the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. Added to that, in recent days they've head to deal with both a militarized police force and white supremacists invading their neighborhoods. Now communities of color are working to the point of exhaustion - and beyond - to create new infrastructures to replace the local grocery stores and pharmacies that were damaged or destroyed. And the people heading up most of these efforts are black women - a group that has suffered so much, and is perpetually under supported. We talk about the best ways to lift up and sustain the efforts of black women and others who are leading the way forward. Counter Stories is hosted by: Anthony Galloway, senior partner at Dendros Group Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Hlee Lee, owner of The Other Media Group Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

Counter Stories: Amid global pandemic, racism survives and thrives

The threat of COVID-19 has changed the way we live. But some things remain the same. Unprovoked attacks on black people persist. In fact, it appears the virus is exacerbating the pre-existing condition of America's racism. On today's show, we talk about two recent incidents: 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and shot while out for a jog. Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor was shot in her apartment by police who raided the home, only to realize they were at the wrong address. Taylor's boyfriend was charged with attempted murder for firing back at the police. We look at mainstream media and how it chooses which stories to tell, and how social media is being used to put pressure both on news agencies and on the authorities. We also begin a series of conversations with some of the most vulnerable communities in Minnesota. Luz Maris Frias talks to a DACA recipient about the impact of Covid 19 on unauthorized immigrants. Counter Stories is hosted by: Anthony Galloway, senior partner at Dendros Group Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Hlee Lee, owner of The Other Media Group Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

Counter Stories: A personal journey of grief in the era of COVID-19

Earlier this month the Minnesota Department of Health released the names of 32 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities facing outbreaks of COVID-19. Eubanks' mother, Isabelle, lived in one of the named facilities. In this episode, Don recalls his experience learning his mother had tested positive for COVID-19, and the pain and anger he felt as he could not hold her or say goodbye. The Counter Stories co-hosts also talk about how the virus is preventing people both from mourning with their families and observing important cultural traditions. Hosts are : Donald Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant Hlee Lee, owner of The Other Media Group Luz Maria Frias, equity coach and founder of The Savvy Coach Anthony Galloway, senior partner at Dendros Group Marianne Combs, correspondent for MPR News

COVID-19 is hitting communities of color hard

Screenshot by Hlee Lee The coronavirus may be keeping our hosts apart, but it won't stop the conversations. Producer Jo Erickson (top left), and co-hosts Hlee Lee, Marianne Combs, Luz Maria Frias (bottom left) and Anthony Galloway create the show while staying at home. On this episode of Counter Stories: Early data suggests black people are contracting and dying of COVID-19 at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. We look at the history behind health disparities in the African American community, and how those disparities are making them more vulnerable today. Plus misinformation about the coronavirus has fueled a wave of racist attacks on Asian Americans. Counter Stories host Hlee Lee shares how glares and verbal abuse from strangers have driven her family to find alternative ways to shop for food. Meanwhile, all of our hosts are working to dispel myths about the pandemic that are circulating in their communities and on social media. And, the pandemic has revealed that many jobs typically filled by immigrants are actually essential to keeping the country running. But few workers are getting the protective gear they need to keep themselves safe. Today's hosts are: Hlee Lee, Owner of The Other Media Group Anthony Galloway, Executive Director of Arts-US Luz Maria Frias, Equity Coach and Founder of The Savvy Coach Marianne Combs, Correspondent, MPR News

How are people of color affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the St. Paul teachers strike?

Counter Stories looks at three news stories and their impact on communities of color. The spread of the coronavirus across more than 100 countries now qualifies as a global pandemic. The U.S. has over 1000 reported cases. Communities of color, especially Southeast Asians, are concerned about attacks based on a fear of coronavirus. This week, New York City has put in place a hate crimes task force to assist the NYPD in investigating coronavirus-related assaults against Asians. We look at how the St. Paul teachers strike impacts other workers including teacher assistants, school bus drivers and canteen workers. And in our tribute to Women's History Month, we celebrate the achievements of women of color. Hosts Don Eubanks, associate professor at Metropolitan State University and cultural consultant. Anthony Galloway, executive director of Arts-US Center for the African Diaspora. Hlee Lee, owner of "the other media group" Luz Marie Frais, Equity Coach and Founder of The Savvy Coach

How are people of color affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the St. Paul teachers strike?

When probation leads to prison

Close to 100,000 Minnesotans are on probation, some of them for sentences of 20 or 30 years. And simple technical violations — such as missing a meeting with their parole officer — could land them back in prison. According to a recent study, 31 percent of Minnesota's prison population is made up of people who violated their probation. Last month the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission approved a five year cap on probation sentences — but that cap is not retroactive. In this episode of Counter Stories, the hosts talk with three guests who are working to reform Minnesota's parole and probation policies. Guests: Kelly Lyn Mitchell is the Executive Director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, and is also co-director of the Institute's Sentencing Guidelines Resource Center Philip Holmes and David Boehnke, members of Decarcerate Minnesota, a grassroots organization working with the Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Hosts: Luz Maria Frias, Equity Coach and Founder of The Savvy Coach Anthony Galloway, Executive Director of Arts-US Jo Erickson, Producer, Counter Stories

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