Interviews with leaders, activists and people from all walks of life who are transforming America into a more equitable nation... and ourselves in the process. Hosted by Kimberly J. Miller. Find more interviews, articles and essays on our website: Re-Construction.US.
Overcoming Hate Crime with Marshall Wong
One hallmark of the Trump administration was a rise in visibility and his support of white nationalism. Even before his insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, the year 2020 saw a record number of such attacks in the U.S. Then last week, the Department of Homeland Security warned that "the United States faced a growing threat from 'violent domestic extremists' emboldened by the attack" on January 6th. The former president pushed a false narrative of rioting people of color in American cities to win votes through fear mongering. But while hate crime by white supremacists has increased nationally, a closer look at the facts on the ground has consistently revealed that large cities with highly diverse populations have actually seen a drop in such incidents.
California's Los Angeles County, for example, boasts over 10 million residents. It also has one of the most diverse populations in the United States. Yet over the last 20 years, hate crimes have actually dropped by nearly half. 2019 saw only 524 reported incidents. This is a success story that needs to be told, including lessons that might apply in other communities across the country.
Today's guest, Marshall Wong has served as a Senior Human Relations Consultant with the L.A. County Human Relations Commission since 1999. He is the Commission’s Hate Crime Coordinator and the principal author of the agency’s annual Hate Crime Report. Marshall is a native of Los Angeles and also staffs a countywide coalition, the Network Against Hate Crime, and provides training for law enforcement and service providers. In this interview he shares insights into what drives and reduces these crimes in our communities.
Watch on YouTube: Marshall Wong
History's Climate Change Lessons with Brian Fagan
This week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden put climate change back on the U.S. agenda -- and none too soon! History has shown that climate change has a direct impact on societies and even the rise and fall of civilizations. In fact, most of the crises America has faced in the last year – a pandemic, economic implosion and massive civil unrest – can all be traced back in part to damage that global warming is already causing.
A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to teach high school geography. It’s not taught like it was when I was in school in the 1970’s. Now we look at how history and society interact with our physical environment. That year I came across the incredible work of today’s guest, Professor Brian Fagan, whose books on the effect of climate change has profoundly influenced the rise and fall of societies throughout history. In this interview he shares his insights from these important works.
Fagan is professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an archaeological generalist, with expertise in the broad issues of human prehistory. You’ll also get a preview of his new book, which is due out later this year. It promises to be another masterpiece on past climate change and the implications for our future.
Uniting for Democracy: Teressa Raiford & Steve Pierson
On today’s podcast, I will be discussing the events on January 6th with two previous guests: Teressa Raiford of Don’t Shoot Portland and Steve Pierson from Swing Left. I asked both of these progressive leaders to join me to discuss what can be done in the days and weeks ahead and how, most importantly we can work together strategically to combat the real threat of fascism that now lies before us.
Those of us who believe in the ideal of an equitable America and the democratic process cannot allow ourselves to get lost in the storm. There are some things that we can all support and take action on now. We can write letters to congress supporting Trump’s removal and prosecution for sedition. We can talk to our friends, family and neighbors urging them to do the same; and we can look support unity. Unity among all progressive and democratic organizations in standing up together to oppose the tidal wave of white supremacy President Trump has leveraged to create a cult of supporters. People have been convinced that his remaining in office – even as a dictator - is preferable to the inauguration of President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris. Both of whom were duly elected by the majority of the people of the United States.
Click HERE to sign Adam Schiff’s letter.
Watch this podcast on YouTube HERE.
Coronavirus Vaccine and the Research Revolution
It’s January, and people all over the world are celebrating the end of the year 2020. It was harrowing for so many reasons, not the least of which was our year with the Coronavirus. Thousands of American families who have lost loved ones and millions lost their jobs too. But there is hope on the horizon as millions of Americans have started receiving the new vaccines. Three options have already been released and a fourth is on it’s way.
The speed with which our scientific community has identified the virus and developed these vaccines is unprecedented. Never before have researchers been able to conduct thousands of tests in such a short period of time. In fact, it may be that the biggest impact over the long term will be the revolution in research science that made this unprecedented speed possible.
Today’s Guest, Dr. Thomas Hartung is the Director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), a laboratory for developmental neurotoxicity research based on genomics and metabolomics at Johns Hopkins University. Hartung has been leading a movement within the world of research to move away from animal testing and utilize new technologies that can save millions of dollars and lead to faster testing with more accurate results. I’ve asked him to join me today to share his insights on this revolution in a field that has been highly reliant on old methodologies.
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Building a Resilient, Equitable America with Richard Heinberg
It's the end of 2020, a year in which many of our nation's deepest problems and divisions have taken center stage. The coronavirus may be new, but the environmental issues that helped create it (and the politics that unleashed it's massive spread across our country) is not. Our economy, social systems, healthcare and every individual's sense of security have been deeply damaged this year. In response, we've seen historic levels of protest, voting and violence. It seems that no one is satisfied with the status quo.
The question is: how do we move forward together?
As this podcast has evolved and grown, I've realized that we can use these interviews to answer that very question. There is every indication that 2021 will be another tough year. No single person (or president) can fix the mess that we are in. But as always, challenge means opportunity. It will take the energy, analysis and activism of everyone to save our country and our planet. Today's guest is an expert on all three.
Richard Heinberg is an acclaimed writer and leader in the Resilience movement. His landmark work The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality provides a highly accessible and engaging analysis of the financial and environmental issues that have converged to create our current crisis. This interview was recorded in October as fires were raging in California and the elections were just around the corner, but the discussion was so comprehensive and timely that we saved it to kick off the new year. The hour includes an overview of key concepts like no-growth economics, peak oil and the resilience movement within the context of BLM and the urgent need to build unifying movement for all Americans toward a sustainable, equitable future.
One final note: We have exciting interviews with progressive leaders and activists coming next year and want to get to word out to as many people as possible. If you like this podcast and the work you read at Re-Construction.US, please pass it on and help us grow our audience. You can also help by rating & subscribing to the podcast, our YouTube channel and signing up for the weekly updates on our website.
Thank you for your support and enjoy the interview.
Onward and upward in 2021!
~Kimberly J. Miller
Building Change That Lasts with Nieeta Presley
For decades, Nieeta Presley has been building community and making change. As the Executive Director of Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has led numerous programs aimed at empowering people throughout the African American community.
Now, on the eve of her retirement, she spoke with host Kimberly Miller about her organization's accomplishments: most notably the completion of a multi-unit apartment and commercial building that helped transform the corner of Dale and University Avenues. Her story is one of action, neighborhood empowerment and entrepreneurship. It's one that all activists and anyone dreaming of a better future can learn from.