54 episodes

Discover the real-life stories of every day people surviving soul-crushing ordeals to take back their lives, becoming wiser, enlightened and triumphant in defying former tormentors and oppressors. Hear inspirational heroes speak honestly about their often-brutal experiences with Stand Up Speak Up to raise social awareness and remove stigmas. Listen to how the hurt, lost and forgotten overcome cruel adversity and go from victimized to victorious.

Stand Up Speak Up Stand Up Speak Up

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 12 Ratings

Discover the real-life stories of every day people surviving soul-crushing ordeals to take back their lives, becoming wiser, enlightened and triumphant in defying former tormentors and oppressors. Hear inspirational heroes speak honestly about their often-brutal experiences with Stand Up Speak Up to raise social awareness and remove stigmas. Listen to how the hurt, lost and forgotten overcome cruel adversity and go from victimized to victorious.

    Episode 60: Letters on Sex Trafficking.

    Episode 60: Letters on Sex Trafficking.

    Human trafficking is a hard conversation to have, as most of us would like to think we have nothing in common with people who sell other people or those that exploit humans in any way. But, the reality is that this is a thriving business throughout the world, in every country, state and many communities that otherwise seem safe and quiet. In this episode, we try to get into the minds of the players in the sex trade - from the pimps that find and exploit people, to johns that buy sex, to people involved and forced into the trade. 
     
    Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
    Co-Host : Matt Cundill
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producers: Danielle Gallagher, Jessica de Bruyn
    Editors: Cesar Del Castillo & Matt Cundill

    • 30 min
    Episode 59: How does he do it? David Bernstein: Homeless youth to Harvard University.

    Episode 59: How does he do it? David Bernstein: Homeless youth to Harvard University.

    Dr. David Bernstein is a well respected, highly educated professional who has held appointments at Yale University School of Medicine, where he completed his doctoral internship, and Harvard University Medical School, where he completed his postdoctoral residency in Forensic Psychology in the Department of Law and Psychiatry.  Anyone who has come into contact with him can be forgiven for thinking that this highly intelligent professional probably grew up in a life of privilege which enabled him to go to the best schools. 
    But the reality is this strong advocate for working to correct the Foster Care System is himself a product of it.  David’s life started as an abandoned child, discovered on a New York City park bench in his infancy.  He became a Ward of the State, going from foster home to foster home, often running away from the abusive situations where he actually felt safer living on the streets or in abandoned buildings.
    The Foster Care System is often been referred to as a vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.  It’s known to be difficult to leave the world of poverty, teen pregnancy, sex abuse and crime behind.  Those who manage to escape its harsh grip rarely look back.  But David Bernstein did.  He has confronted his past and is trying to make a better future for those who currently follow in his foster care footsteps.
    He consults with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  He’s an expert in threat assessment and violence, able to tap into the instincts he honed as a child growing up homeless.
    Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn
    Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder
    Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder
    Music: What You’re Mad Of by Kayla Diamond http://www.slaightmusic.com/music-we-dig#!kayla-diamond

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Episode 58: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 2

    Episode 58: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 2

    This is the second part of a two part series featuring the charismatic founder of The Club Kids, Michael Alig.  The Club Kids were a group of young, flamboyant New York City underground dance club personalities in the late 1980s and early 1990s, who were also heavily involved in the drug culture.
    Alig spent 17 years behind bars for his part in a brutal drug induced murder in 1996 when he and roommate Robert "Freeze" Riggs murdered a third roommate, drug dealer Andre "Angel" Melendez, using a hammer.  They poured drain cleaner down his throat and kept the lifeless body of their roommate in their apartment for days before finally getting butcher knives to dismember him, disposing of the body in separate locations in the river. That murder and the partying lifestyle that led up to it was the subject of the movie, Party Monster, starring Macauley Culkin as Alig. 
    In this second part Alig recounts his relationship with his mother, discusses what kind of person he would like to be in a relationship with, talks drug use, and also his creative plans for the future.
    Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn
    Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder
    Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder

    • 38 min
    Episode 57: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 1

    Episode 57: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 1

    Michael Alig is a complex character.  He’s the charismatic founder of the Club Kids, a group of young, flamboyant New York City underground dance club personalities in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They wore outrageous costumes and were on the scene to be seen, setting an artistic standard for the fashion-conscious youth culture.   But they were also part of the drug culture, with many of the Club Kids becoming addicted.
    The party-hardy heavy drug use caused a spiral in Alig’s life.  In 1996, he and roommate Robert "Freeze" Riggs killed a third roommate, drug dealer Andre "Angel" Melendez during an argument over drugs.  Alig and Riggs brutally murdered Melendez with a hammer.  They poured drain cleaner down his throat and kept the lifeless body of their roommate in their apartment for days before finally getting butcher knives to dismember him, disposing of the body in separate locations in the river.  But they were eventually caught, partly due to Alig’s bragging about it openly.  He spent 17 years behind bars.
    Now a free man and back in New York, we catch up with Alig as he tries to rebuild his life.  In this first part of a two show series, Michael discusses the notoriety he’s achieved, both as the founder of the Club Kids and also his incarceration for murder, plus he delves into his life behind bars and his attempts to creatively turn his life around.
    Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn
    Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder
    Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder
    Music: Evil I Know by Ascot Royals http://www.slaightmusic.com/music-we-dig#!ascot-royals

    • 54 min
    Episode 56: Devin Price: Recovery – Relapse - Recovery

    Episode 56: Devin Price: Recovery – Relapse - Recovery

    We first met Devin Price in Episodes 45 and 46 of the Stand Up Speak Up Podcast, when he took us through his road to addiction, becoming a drug dealer and pimp and his eventual arrest. After serving three years in prison, he had returned to his hometown to start over and we ended on an optimistic note with Devin getting a new job and restarting a relationship with his mother, Linda, who had also started her own recovery. 
    In this follow-up episode, we speak with Devin after a relapse that put him back into rehab. He tells us how one bad decision lead to slipping back into the world of partying and drugs that he and Linda had both tried to leave behind. As Devin decided to check himself back into rehab, he began keeping an audio diary of his final days before entering treatment and the aftermath once he was released.
    Devin’s struggle is not over. He speaks to our host, Karla Stephens-Tolstoy, about trying to connect with his children, who have been put into the foster care system and are eligible for adoption. He also speaks to us about Linda’s relapse and how addiction continues to affect all of the members of his family.
    Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn
    Production Editor & Sound: Cesar Del Castillo
    Narrator: Matt Cundill 
    End Music: "The Best Is Yet to Come" by Ascot Royals (https://www.ascotroyals.com)
     
    We want to thank Ascot Royals for the donation of this song, which speaks about overcoming adversity like that Devin has faced. Find their latest single, "Evil I Know" on iTunes, Spotify and places where music is sold.

    • 1 hr 42 min
    Episode 55: Bursting the Bubble on Police Corruption.

    Episode 55: Bursting the Bubble on Police Corruption.

    Kelly Donovan is a whistleblower. Her story begins working for a major bank, marrying a police officer, then deciding to become a police officer. 
    After only a few years, Kelly began to learn about internal inconsistencies, and unethical and unlawful decisions being made without any guiding policy or legislation.  In 2016, she addressed the issues with the Board, the oversight body of the police service, and as a result faced reprisal and was further silenced. She researched the prevalence of the issues and just how often police whistleblowers are silenced, while police leaders avoid any accountability.
    After involving all legislated oversight bodies to no avail, Kelly resigned in June, 2017.  Upon her resignation, she released her Report of Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppression of Whistleblowers; sendin the report to all MPPs and MPs in Ontario and the media. Kelly has since published the report on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.
    The she started her own business, Fit4Duty™ to educate employers, policy and lawmakers about the risks of having purely perfunctory vision and mission statements.  Too many Canadians work in a toxic environment due primarily to poor oversight and autonomous decisions made by inadequate management.
    In this episode - you’ll hear what drove Kelly to start the business and what needs to be done to end the corruption.
    Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
    Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel
    Co-Producer: Evan Surminski
    Editor &Narrator:  Matt Cundill

    • 1 hr 5 min

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