Almost There

Emerson Collective

On Almost There, a new podcast from Emerson Collective, poet and lawyer Dwayne Betts talks to creative problem solvers—architects, doctors, writers, voyagers, organizers, and artists—about their approach to making meaningful social change. In each episode, we’ll learn about the journeys that have led our guests to the big questions driving their work: How do we keep our families and communities healthy? How do we build a fairer immigration system and promote civic participation? How can we stay alert to the beauty around us and harness human ingenuity to protect our planet? The conversations on Almost There will explore these pressing questions and new possibilities. Produced by Magnificent Noise. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

The anti-slavery roots of America’s public parks
Nov 28 2023
The anti-slavery roots of America’s public parks
When Hurricane Katrina barreled toward her home stretch of the Gulf Coast, Sara Zewde had not yet decided what she wanted to do professionally. But the aftermath of the storm inspired her to work across ecology, infrastructure, and culture as a landscape architect. Today, she runs Studio Zewde, a landscape-architecture practice based in New York City, and is an assistant professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. As one of just a few Black female landscape architects, she is dedicated to building culturally-responsive spaces where people experience a sense of belonging. “People walk around Central Park, around landscapes, around sidewalks and street corners, and don’t realize they are living in somebody’s design,” she says. “Every single tree, every single path, all the topography – it’s a complete work of fiction.”  In this episode, Sara tells Dwayne about her interest in Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture in the U.S. and the designer of New York’s Central Park, who, she learned, traveled the American South as a journalist and documented the horrors of slavery there – an experience that came to fundamentally shape his approach to park design.  For more on the work of our guest, Sara Zewde: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/sara-zewde   To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there.  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Is it possible to build a great school in a prison?
Nov 21 2023
Is it possible to build a great school in a prison?
Each year, more than 200,000 young people are held in hundreds of juvenile-detention centers across the U.S., many of which do not provide a quality education to the students in their care. David Domenici is working to change that. He co-founded the Maya Angelou Schools, a successful network of alternative schools in Washington, D.C. that includes the Maya Angelou Academy, located inside Washington’s juvenile-correctional facility. In 2011, he founded BreakFree Education, which works closely with teachers and incarcerated students to advocate for policy change and advise prison educational programs. “By ensuring young people in prison receive the education they deserve, we can help restore their humanity and dignity, and positively influence the institutions that hold them captive,” David says. In this episode, David tells Dwayne about transforming the notorious Oak Hill juvenile facility into the Maya Angelou Academy; the books that have changed the lives of his students; and why it’s so important to see all young people – in and out of prison – as students first. Plus, Dwayne reads an excerpt of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.  For more on the work of our guest, David Domenici: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/david-domenici  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When Black mothers have the financial freedom to dream
Nov 14 2023
When Black mothers have the financial freedom to dream
In 2018, Aisha Nyandoro launched what is today the longest-running guaranteed income program in the U.S. after doing something radical: asking Black women what they needed most. The support of monthly cash payments of $1,000 from the Magnolia’s Mothers Trust has allowed Black mothers in Jackson, Mississippi to put food on the table, do that long-delayed car repair, enroll a child in their first dance class, or save for a family home. Now, Aisha wants to reimagine the social safety net all together, driven by the insight that what’s most transformative for families is having the financial resources to invest in joy.  In this episode, Aisha tells Dwayne the reason she moved back home to Jackson, Mississippi; about the meaning she finds in one of her favorite books, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple; and about the liberatory power of free cash.  For more on the work of our guest, Aisha Nyandoro: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/aisha-nyandoro  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
You can do WHAT with seaweed???
Nov 7 2023
You can do WHAT with seaweed???
Joan Salwen has a thing for cows. After all, she grew up helping her grandfather tend to the livestock on his farm in Iowa. But as an adult, Joan was shocked to learn that cows are pretty terrible for the environment: they burp huge amounts of methane, a destructive greenhouse gas driving climate change. So she built a company, Blue Ocean Barns, around a surprising solution: making feed with a red seaweed native to Hawaii that dramatically reduces cows’ methane emissions when they eat it in small amounts. It’s an innovation that could make farmers like Joan’s Grandpa Mo heroes in the fight to slow climate change.  In the Season One finale, Joan tells Dwayne about her many professional pivots, from software engineer to middle school English teacher to startup founder; and shares what she’s learned from farmers about how we can all care for our planet. Plus, Joan shares fun facts about cows!   For more on the work of our guest, Joan Salwen: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/joan-salwen  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Want to protect democracy? Hug an election official.
Oct 31 2023
Want to protect democracy? Hug an election official.
Across the U.S., local election administrators are the unsung heroes of democracy, helping to protect our right to vote. But who is protecting them? Scarce resources and increasing threats of violence are causing many in the profession to find new jobs. Fortunately, Tiana Epps-Johnson has big ideas on how to make their jobs easier. Tiana and her nonpartisan organization, Center for Tech and Civic Life, provide local officials in the U.S. with the funding, technology, and training they need to administer secure, modern elections. “We are laser-focused on a vision where our country’s election officials have the funds, tools, and skills they need to administer professional, inclusive, secure elections for all of us,” Tiana says.  In this episode, Tiana reflects on why she considers the 2020 election, which happened in the midst of a global pandemic, so successful; what she has learned about how to help election officials orchestrate successful elections; and what she has learned from her mother and grandmother. Plus, Dwayne reads Tiana his poem, “White Peonies”.   For more on the work of our guest, Tiana Epps-Johnson: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/tiana-epps-johnson  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there.  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The marvelous connections between poetry and medicine
Oct 24 2023
The marvelous connections between poetry and medicine
Sri Shamasunder likes to say he was a poet before he was a doctor. His college mentor, the legendary poet and activist June Jordan, passed away from cancer during his first year of medical school, but had a lasting impact on his practice of medicine. She encouraged him to harness righteous anger and to use his voice to fight inequity, inspiring Shamasunder’s work as a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and as the co-founder and director of the HEAL Initiative, an equity-based global health fellowship that provides quality care for communities in need around the world.  In this episode, Sri and Dwayne discuss the surprising similarities between poetry and medicine; how the HEAL Initiative cultivates “noble friendships” across cultural divides; and the impact of the mentorship of June Jordan and Dr. Paul Farmer on Sri’s life and career. Plus: so much poetry! Poems mentioned in this episode include:  "The Gift" by Li-Young Lee: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43010/the-gift-56d221adc12b8  "To Walk in Beauty Once Again" by Sri Shamasunder (for Adriann Begay, June 2020): https://courtney.substack.com/p/to-walk-in-beauty-once-again  "The Guest House" by Jalaluddin Rumi: https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/guest-house/  "In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver: http://www.phys.unm.edu/~tw/fas/yits/archive/oliver_inblackwaterwoods.html  "Our Daily Bread" by César Vallejo: https://www.scribd.com/document/324203734/Our-Daily-Bread#  "It’s Hard to Keep a Clean Shirt Clean" by June Jordan (poem for Sri Shamasunder): https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48759/its-hard-to-keep-a-clean-shirt-clean  For more on the work of our guest, Sri Shamasunder: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/sriram-shamasunder  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there.  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
If farmworkers picked the food, shouldn’t they get a seat at the table?
Oct 10 2023
If farmworkers picked the food, shouldn’t they get a seat at the table?
Tonight at dinner, you are likely to eat something that was picked by a farmworker. This is back-breaking work, involving long hours in the hot sun. And yet farmworkers, many of whom are immigrants to the U.S., often do not have basic workplace protections like heat standards or overtime pay. “The cruel irony in this country is that the very people who nourish us often can’t afford to put food on their own table,” says Diana Tellefson Torres. The granddaughter of a migrant worker herself, Diana’s work at the UFW Foundation is helping ensure farmworkers have a voice in the conversation about their labor and their rights.  In this episode, Diana tells Dwayne the story of her own family’s journey to the U.S.; what she has learned from the farmworkers she meets every day; and why we should all know the stories of the people who picked the food on our dinner tables.  For more on the work of our guest, Diana Tellefson Torres: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/diana-tellefson-torres    To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there.  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What the AIDS epidemic taught this nurse about keeping the world healthy
Oct 3 2023
What the AIDS epidemic taught this nurse about keeping the world healthy
Sheila Davis began her career as a nurse working on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Boston. Today, lessons from that experience guide her work as the CEO of Partners In Health, the global health nonprofit with nearly 20,000 people, providing care across 11 countries, from Rwanda to Haiti. Building on the legacy of PIH founder and Sheila’s longtime friend Dr. Paul Farmer, who died unexpectedly in 2022, Sheila and her team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and administrators are working to establish medical centers, educate future generations of health care workers, and directly provide care to those who need it most. “We are fighting for global health equity, boldly and unapologetically,” she says. In this episode, Sheila talks to Dwayne about the lessons she carries from her time as a nurse into her leadership role at Partners in Health; why joy and beauty are so important to the healing process; and why you should always listen to your driver when you arrive in a foreign country.  For more on the work of our guest, Sheila Davis: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/sheila-davis  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there.  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
You—yes, you—can decide how the government spends money
Sep 19 2023
You—yes, you—can decide how the government spends money
Shari Davis first began dreaming about how to empower young people as a teenager, while serving on the Mayor's Youth Council in Boston. In 2014, the Mayor of Boston asked Shari to launch the country's first youth-focused “participatory budgeting” effort—a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Today, Shari co-leads the Participatory Budgeting Project, which has helped more than 700,000 people in over 30 cities directly decide how to spend $400 million in public funds. The process has led to new art walls, park renovations, student centers, and imaginative public safety efforts.  In this episode, Shari and Dwayne talk about the key steps in the participatory budgeting process; real-world examples of participatory budgeting in action; and what the Black martial arts tradition taught Shari about how democracy works. Plus, Shari and Dwayne bond over Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower. For more on the work of our guest, Shari Davis: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/shari-davis  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Following the data to a fairer criminal justice system
Sep 12 2023
Following the data to a fairer criminal justice system
You can’t change what you can’t see. And good data, Amy Bach believes, is one of the keys to seeing what’s not working in our criminal justice system. She is the founder of Measures for Justice, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization developing data tools to help both community advocates and law enforcement reshape how the criminal justice system works. Amy believes that data trends from a local criminal justice system – like the racial disparities in diversions for felony convictions, for instance – can become tools to help communities advocate for real change, and can, at the same time, be a way for prosecutors to demonstrate a commitment to reform. “When we can see where things go wrong, we can work to make them right,” Amy says. In this episode, Amy and Dwayne talk about Commons, a new criminal justice data platform; what’s possible when data is used to start difficult, community-driven conversations about reform; and why data can ultimately only ever tell part of the story. Plus, Dwayne reads a Langston Hughes poem to Amy.  For more on the work of our guest, Amy Bach:  To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How to teach history in a divided America? Let students think for themselves
Aug 29 2023
How to teach history in a divided America? Let students think for themselves
Chuck Yarborough is a sixth-generation Mississippian who teaches American history at one of the best high schools in the state, The Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science. In the midst of a national debate on how we teach American history to young people, Chuck doesn’t just rely on textbooks. Instead, he sends his students to original sources to research overlooked and untold histories, helping them turn what they learn into vivid public performance for their community. “I try to create spaces where students can engage with difficult topics, in an environment where they can be honest and where all they are going to be met with is love,” Chuck says. In this episode, Chuck tells Dwayne about the childhood birthday party that changed his life; about the memorable public performances of his students, which take place in graveyards; and his guiding principles as a high school teacher. Plus, hear excerpts of performances from Chuck’s students, Dairian Bowles and Madison Echols. For more on the work of our guest, Chuck Yarborough: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/chuck-yarborough To learn more about our show and read the transcript of this episode: emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Reginald Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com. To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Could virtual reality make us better coworkers?
Aug 22 2023
Could virtual reality make us better coworkers?
Work isn’t just the place where we work. It’s also the place where we meet new people who are different from us, which is why Elise Smith thinks the office is the perfect place to start building a more empathetic world. She is the co-founder and CEO of Praxis Labs, an immersive learning startup that is reimagining diversity, equity, and inclusion training for corporate America. Using virtual reality, workers take on new perspectives, experiencing incidents of bias or discrimination from multiple points of view, and get to actually practice responding. The goal: to build empathy and spark behavior change.  In this episode, Elise talks to Dwayne about what it is like to raise venture funding as a young, Black founder; the early virtual reality experiences that changed her life; and the surprising similarities between poetry and virtual reality.  For more on out guest, Elise Smith: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/elise-smith   To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Native life is everywhere. Just look around.
Aug 15 2023
Native life is everywhere. Just look around.
A member of the Crow/Apsáalooke tribe, Wendy Red Star was raised on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, which encompasses two million acres. And while she was immersed in Crow culture growing up, she didn’t really learn the broader history of Indigenous people in the U.S. until college. Today as a visual artist, Wendy centers this history, along with Native life and culture, in work that spans imaginative self-portraiture, vivid collage, and site-specific installation. An avid researcher, Wendy re-examines cultural artifacts and historical imagery, using them as inspiration for work that is inquisitive, witty, and thought-provoking. You can find her vibrant work in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the British Museum, and others.  In this episode, Wendy shares with Dwayne the meaning of her very first art project, in which she set up a tipi in the middle of the football field at Montana State University; what it feels like to find artifacts that belonged to your ancestors in a museum archive; and why she is so drawn to humor in her work.  For more on out guest, Wendy Red Star: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/wendy-red-star-2  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What if we let asylum seekers fix our immigration system?
Aug 1 2023
What if we let asylum seekers fix our immigration system?
As the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant and a Cuban refugee, Conchita Cruz first got involved in immigrants’ rights work to support her own family. Today, she is the co-executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), the largest organization of asylum seekers in U.S. history, with over 500,000 members. Supporting people who have fled their home countries in search of safety and protection, ASAP provides resources to help their members navigate the legal system and advocates for a more inclusive country through litigation, policy, and storytelling. “Only an organized collective of asylum seekers has the power to fundamentally re-envision the asylum system and create a more welcoming United States,” Conchita says. “Their voices and stories must be centered in order to bring about transformative systemic change.” In this episode, Conchita tells Dwayne about her family’s immigrant story and her own journey through law school; what inspired her to start ASAP; and about the change that’s possible when asylum seekers have the chance to tell their own stories. Plus, Dwayne reads a poem he wrote for Conchita. For more on the work of our guest, Conchita Cruz: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/conchita-cruz  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How does it feel to be known as a “felon” forever?
Jul 25 2023
How does it feel to be known as a “felon” forever?
Robert Stewart defended his doctoral dissertation almost 11 years to the day after he walked out of prison. Today, as a sociological criminologist at the University of Maryland, he researches the experiences and beliefs of people who have also been through the criminal legal system. Asking important questions about civic inclusion, Robert has researched the startling impact of criminal records on college admissions, and today is working to understand the political beliefs of the 4.6 million Americans who are barred from voting due to a felony conviction. “We have to rethink the labels that we apply to people,” Rob says. “We have to rethink how we reduce people from infinitely complex human beings with views and experiences and likes and dislikes to that one event that happened in their life.” In this conversation, Dwayne and Rob talk about their own experiences with the prison system; what it feels like to carry the label of “felon” through life; and what we sacrifice as a society when we punish people by taking away their right to vote. For more on the work of our guest, Rob Stewart: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/robert-stewart  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Want to run for office? Here's how.
Jul 18 2023
Want to run for office? Here's how.
When life-long politics nerd Amanda Litman woke up the day after the 2016 election, and the candidate she had been working for lost, she didn’t wallow. Instead, she launched Run for Something, an organization that helps young people run for office. The organization’s team of experts offers guidance to potential candidates under 40 on everything from selecting a race, to planning a campaign, to what to do after Election Day. (They even help candidates cope with a hard loss.) Since launching, Run for Something has helped more than 800 candidates across the U.S. run for office and win. In this episode, Amanda shares with Dwayne the questions any young person should ask themselves before running for office; what it takes to mount a successful campaign; and the unique change that’s possible in local communities when young people are elected. For more on the work of our guest, Amanda Litman: https://www.emersoncollective.com/articles/want-to-run-for-office-heres-how  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com. Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What you learn when you sail around the world without a compass
Jul 11 2023
What you learn when you sail around the world without a compass
Sailing around the world is very, very hard. But sailing around the world without the help of modern navigation technology? Shouldn’t that be impossible? Not for Lehua Kamalu, who has captained her way across our great oceans as the Voyaging Director for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, an organization based in Hawaii that perpetuates traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration. Lehua travels the ocean in Hōkūle’a, a double-hulled canoe designed to replicate ancient Polynesian voyaging vessels, powered only by traditional wayfinding methods that rely on the natural elements—the sun, stars, and ocean wildlife. In this episode, Lehua tells Dwayne about the valuable leadership lessons she’s learned from captaining her team across thousands of miles of ocean; what she has realized about the beauty of the natural world; and how we should think about humanity’s place on this planet. Plus, she helps coach Dwayne through his fear of the ocean. Lehua is currently leading her most important voyage yet—a 4-year, 43,000-mile voyage around the Pacific. Follow her journey: https://hokulea.com/moananuiakea/ To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com. Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This profoundly simple act can save the lives of millions of Black women
Jun 27 2023
This profoundly simple act can save the lives of millions of Black women
Walking is the single most powerful thing a Black woman can do for her health, according to Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison. Black women and girls experience higher rates of hypertension and diabetes, higher maternal mortality, and overall shorter life expectancy than other Americans. As a practical first step to healing and transforming their own lives, members of their organization, GirlTrek, form local groups that walk together in their neighborhoods. Today, GirlTrek has blossomed into a global community of over 1.5 million walkers, making it the nation’s largest nonprofit focused on the health of Black women and girls. “We know that when Black women get involved, everything can change,” Morgan says.  In this episode, Dwayne, Morgan, and Vanessa take a walk outside together and discuss the joy of building community through movement; the origin story of GirlTrek; and what’s possible when Black women take to the streets of their neighborhoods.  For more on the work of our guests, Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/t-morgan-dixon-vanessa-garrison  To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast  For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller.  Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com.  Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Our buildings are making us sick. Could they heal us instead?
Jun 20 2023
Our buildings are making us sick. Could they heal us instead?
Before Michael Murphy became an architect, his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. For the next eighteen months, as his father was treated, they worked together to restore their old family home. When the house was completed, his father’s cancer was in remission, and he told Michael that the project saved his life. Today, as the founder of MASS Design Group and lead designer on projects like the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, Michael is committed to making buildings that can heal, reshaping our understanding of what architecture can do for our health and for the planet. As Michael says, “If architecture can change our health and can keep us alive, it has to be a right.” In this episode, Dwayne and Michael discuss the perverse architecture of prisons and hospitals; their collaboration designing the first-of-its-kind “Freedom Library” bookshelf for prison dormitories; and the lasting impact of the great Dr. Paul Farmer, who co-founded Partners in Health, on Michael’s design thinking. For more on the work of our guest, Michael Murphy: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/michael-murphy To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com. Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How America can tell the truth about the history of slavery
Jun 20 2023
How America can tell the truth about the history of slavery
How do we remember the darkest parts of our collective past—from slavery in the U.S. to the Holocaust in Germany—while moving steadily forward? This question has driven poet and journalist Clint Smith to travel the U.S. and cross oceans in search of places, stories, and public memorials that deepen our shared understanding of what human beings have done to each other, and how we can collectively heal. He is the author of the book How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, and the new book of poems, Above Ground. In the premiere episode of Almost There, Dwayne and Clint discuss places across the U.S. that successfully—and not-so-successfully—confront the history of slavery; what Clint learned visiting Holocaust memorials in Germany for his Atlantic cover story; and Clint’s formative experience as a high school English teacher. Plus, Dwayne reads one of Clint’s new poems. For more on our guest, Clint Smith: https://www.emersoncollective.com/persons/clint-smith To learn more about Almost There and to read the transcript of this episode: https://www.emersoncollective.com/almost-there-podcast For more on Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/ Learn more about our host, Dwayne Betts: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/ Almost There is produced by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise for Emerson Collective. Our production staff includes Eleanor Kagan, Julia Natt, Patrick D’Arcy, Amy Low, Alex Simon, and our sound designers Paul Schneider and Kristin Mueller. Email us at almostthere@emersoncollective.com. Subscribe to the Emerson Collective Fellows newsletter: http://www.emersoncollective.com/fellows-newsletter To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices