Ep. 75 - Youth Radio: Inside & Out ft. Simone St. Pierre Nelson & Stories by Youth Incarcerated in Seattle

Bourbon 'n BrownTown

30-08-2021 • 1 hr 33 mins

BrownTown and Simone discuss the power of youth radio in this episode that includes three (3) full audio stories produced by and featuring teens incarcerated in Seattle. In April 2021, Simone, David, and Caullen worked with the teens to create the featured stories in a two-day workshop with KUOW Radioactive Youth Media. They discuss the importance of authentic narratives in media creation, intergenerational youth programming, and uplifting justice-involved youth while navigating inequitable social conditions and the institutions that reinforce them. Collectively, BrownTown and Simone unpack their personal proximity to these themes, the pitfalls of adultism, and zoom out to compare and contrast the obvious stark differences and invisible similarities between restorative justice and the carceral system; and commissary and capitalism.

As creators of media who work with younger people and were, of course, younger people ourselves, how do we make spaces not only accessible to youth of various ages but also create sustainable conditions where they can thrive and we can build together? From an abolitionist lens, how does this lend itself to making presence outside of normative, hierarchical structure that we may have been brought up in? Here's their take.


Simone St. Pierre Nelson (all pronouns) is an 18-year-old writer and audio producer who is passionate about radio, education justice, and police and prison abolition. Simone produces and teaches with RadioActive Youth Media at KUOW Public Radio, hosts a podcast amplifying youth organizers for Student Voice, and was an intern and facilitator for the Seattle-based National Center for Restorative Justice. Simone lives with their family in Issaquah, Washington, and is headed to college in California in the fall. When Simone isn't teaching and making radio, you can find them playing dungeons and dragons or walking their dog.


Follow Simone on Twitter, Instagram, listen to her podcast Students Speak Out, and follow her work at KUOW. Follow Student Voice on their site and Linktree.

Audio stories from 'They can never lock your mind up.' Three stories from juvenile jail (in order of episode and article):

  • 'More than my name.' [transcript] -- Milli, Shadow and Glow discuss observing Ramadan in jail, what they do for joy, and what makes them proud.
  • 'Can't nobody make you change. You got to change yourself.' [transcript]-- Milli, Tilley and Trilly say job training, mentorship and access to youth programs— not incarceration— is what King County youth need to thrive.
  • 'Your body is in jail but your mind is not.' [transcript]-- From brushing their teeth to "smacking some snacks," J-Wow, T-Dog and EJ take listeners through a day in juvenile detention.

RadioActive Youth Media is where young people discover public radio journalism and gain access to the skills, community and institutional resources that spur their growth as media makers. Through their stories, listeners of all ages gain a deeper understanding of young people whose voices are rarely heard by the greater public (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).


CREDITS: Intro song World in My Hands by Saba ft. Smino and Legit and outro song Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro and Kiera Battles. Episode photo by Megan Sobchuk.

Special thanks to KUOW RadioActive for letting BrownTown amplify youth stories!


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