84 episodes

Navigating our way through this complex, challenging time requires taking a clear look at the issues we're confronting. Join Omkari Williams and her guests as they take on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Stepping Into Truth: Conversations on Social Justice and How We Get Free omkariwilliams

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 32 Ratings

Navigating our way through this complex, challenging time requires taking a clear look at the issues we're confronting. Join Omkari Williams and her guests as they take on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

    Detoxing from America’s wellness culture with Kerri Kelly

    Detoxing from America’s wellness culture with Kerri Kelly

    Kerri Kelly

    September 11th changed life for all of us, but for Kerri Kelly the impact was especially personal. In the aftermath of that event Kerri upended her life and went on a search for wellness. What she found was not what she expected and, once again, the trajectory of her life was changed.

    In her new book, American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal, and in this conversation, Kerri explores the ways in which our culture of wellness perpetuates systems that are deeply unwell. She leads us in a conversation that helps us find our way towards the deep, connected wellness that nourishes us all and away from individualistic focus that keeps us stuck in unhealthy comparison and competition.

    I couldn't put Kerri's book down and then, when we spoke, I wanted to talk to her for hours more. 

    Our distorted ideas of wellness hurt us all, and those ideas are so deeply embedded it can be hard to even see them. Kerri pulls back the curtain and gives us a path out, a path towards true healing.

    Her book is out now and I can't say enough about how important a book I think it is. Listen to our conversation, read her book, and find your way to the healing that we so deeply desire. 

    For a written transcript of this conversation click here.

    About Kerri Kelly:

    Kerri Kelly, is the founder of CTZNWell, a movement that is democratizing wellbeing for all. A descendent of generations of firemen and first responders Kerri has dedicated her life to kicking down doors and fighting for justice. She has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. She is a community organizer, wellness activist, and author of American detox, the myth of wellness and how we can truly heal. Kerri is also recognized across communities for her inspired work to bridge transformational practice with social justice. Her leadership has inspired a movement that is actively organizing around issues of racial and economic justice, healthcare as a human right civic engagement and more. Kerri is a powerful facilitator, TED speaker, and is the host of the prominent podcast citizen, that is spelled CTZN. You can learn more about her work at KerriKelly.co.

    Three Actions:

    1) Interrogate yourself. Be relentlessly curious about what you've been taught, how you've been shaped and indoctrinated by dominant stories and dominant narratives and cultures, and how that's holding you back from your own wholeness. So be curious about that. And how that's a part of a larger system, right, how you're a part of a larger system. 

    2) Locate yourself inside that system. What is your place, and proximity? We're all impacted and implicated in different ways. And I want to just say different and disproportionate, I feel like I have to say that as a white bodied woman with so much privilege. So it's really important for us to both take responsibility for our part in this mess. And also see ourselves as part of the solution, right? So it's like, locate yourself so that you can step into your right role and responsibility.

    3) Engage in collective action, get political, work with other people, line up in solidarity with organizations who are on the frontlines of the many issues that we are navigating right now. Because personal solutions are not going to solve the many problems, the many systemic and collective problems that we're facing. And so it's really important for folks to see their practice beyond the cushion, and to see wellness as a radical political act, as we work to create the conditions where everybody can be well.

    Resources mentioned in this episode:
    American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal by Kerri Kelly
    Decolonizing Wealth: indigenous wisdom to heal divides and restore balance
    by Edgar Villanueva
    Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas

    Connect with Kerri:

    Website
    CTZNWELL podcast

    Credits:
    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend.

    • 59 min
    Shawn Ginwright and The Four Pivots

    Shawn Ginwright and The Four Pivots

    Shawn Ginwright

    What if we've been approaching this whole idea of justice and have left out a critical piece? What if our very approach is actually helping cement the damage that bias and systemic inequity have caused? 

    We all know that there is much healing that has to happen if we're going to be the equitable society that we envision. The question is how do we get from here to there? What are the tools we need, the way of thinking that will help move us along?

    Professor Shawn Ginwright, in his new book The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves, argues that we are failing to use all the tools of social change that are available to us. And, he says, those tools begin close in, with us as both as individuals and in our close familial and community relationships. 

    This conversation deepened my understanding of what it's going to take for us all to get free. I hope it does the same for you.

    About Shawn:
    Shawn Ginwright, PhD is one of the nation's leading innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development. He's the founder and CEO of Flourish Agenda Incorporated, a national nonprofit consulting firm that design strategies to unlock the power of healing and engage youth of color and adult allies in transforming their schools and communities. He is Professor of Education in the Africana Studies department and Senior Research Associate at San Francisco State University. He is the author of The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves.

    For a written transcript of this conversation click here.

    Three Actions:
    1. At the end of each day map your emotional self. What were the emotions that you experienced that day. This, over time, allows us to map who we are, what our life is like, and whether we are showing up in the world in the ways we would like.

    2. Ask, "Where am I going?" This is a question about who we want to become and where you (and your family and larger community) are going. This helps develop the habit of future thinking for yourself, your family, community, and society.

    3. Practice these things in community. We in the West are taught to be individualistic but true healing happens in community.

    Connect with Shawn:

    On his Website

    Credits:

    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend

    • 42 min
    Tatenda Musapatike: Changing How We Get Out the Vote!

    Tatenda Musapatike: Changing How We Get Out the Vote!

    Tatenda Musapatike

    If your best friend asks you what you want to do in the world and your response is, "Run shit" then you and Tatenda Musapatike should probably sit down and grab a drink. 

    The founder of the organization, Voter Formation Project, Tatenda and her team work to leverage the digital age to not only get people registered to vote but also to get them excited to vote.

    From working for Facebook to starting her own firm not only to run shit but to do it with intention and integrity Tatenda is creating a new model for how political work is done. One that isn't about living an underpaid, overworked existence. 

    This conversation opened my eyes to the need for this kind of outreach to potential voters in this time of active voter suppression. I learned a lot and you likely will too. 

    For a written transcript of this conversation click here.

    About Tatenda:

    Tatenda Musapatike, has spent over a decade working on digital programs and in tech to support progressive causes. She was most recently a senior advisor at ACRONYM where she built a $12.5 million program from the ground up to expand the electorate working to reach register and mobilize Black and Latino voters across eight states in the 2020 general election and the Georgia Senate runoff elections. Before ACRONYM, Tatenda was the Client Solutions Manager for democratic politics at Facebook where she supported progressive leaning nonprofits in their platform strategies. And she is now the founder of Voter Formation Project.

    Action Steps:
    1) Please visit our Twitter @voterformation, or go to our website, voterformationproject.org. And just learn more.
    2) There are donation links on Twitter and the website.
    3) If you are really moved by the work that we do, get involved in your local community so that you can help talk to people who don't vote and get more folks registered and involved in the process.

    Connect with Tatenda:

    Twitter
    Website

    Credits:
    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend

    • 43 min
    Nisha Anand and the Power of Choosing Common Ground

    Nisha Anand and the Power of Choosing Common Ground

    Nisha Anand


    Around the world the divisions that define our societies are becoming deeper and more hardened. In this inspiring conversation Dream Corps CEO Nisha Anand and I talk about the power of finding common ground. 


    If we truly want to make the difference that we say we want to make we have to be willing to work with people who may have radically different points of view to ours but who, miraculously, share common ground with us on maybe only one thing. 


    Nisha gives us a map to coming together in service of a mutually important goal, beyond the politics and divisions that keep us in our silos of left, right, conservative, or progressive. 


    This conversation made me think differently about what's possible to achieve with unlikely collaborators. 


    Have a listen and then take her model out into your own work and expand your power to make change. 


    For a written transcript of this conversation go here.


    About Nisha:


    Nisha Anand is a boundary-buster, common ground creator, non-violent culture-creator, outside-the-box experimenter, and national leader for social and racial justice. Once a grassroots activist arrested in Burma for pro-democracy demonstrations, Nisha is known today as a leader in cultivating unlikely and unconventional partnerships to create change. As Dream Corps’ CEO, Nisha guides a team of storytellers, organizers, and policy experts working on some of society’s toughest problems to create a better future for all.


    3 Action Steps:
    1) Listen deeply and with curiosity, not trying to change anyone's mind. Listen to understand.
    2) Grieve with others. We've all lost something these past 2 years, grieve with others.
    3) Dream big, the world can change overnight, so dream big.
    Bonus action
    4) Get involved with Dream Corps



    Resources mentioned in this episode:
    The Radical Act of Choosing Common Ground Tedx talk



    Connect with Nisha:


    Website: https://www.nishaanand.org/ 
    Twitter: @nishamanand 
    Instagram: @nishamanand 
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nisha-m-anand/ 
    YouTube: Nisha Anand Playlist


    Credits:
    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend

    • 44 min
    The Fight for America’s Soul with Scholar Obery Hendricks

    The Fight for America’s Soul with Scholar Obery Hendricks

    Obery Hendricks


    From the moment of his announcement that he was running for the presidency Donald Trump directed his efforts towards courting white evangelicals with  racist and anti-immigrant sentiments. But he didn't start this trend, he simply hopped on a bandwagon that had been gaining speed for years.


    Author, scholar, and ordained minister Obery Hendricks and I explore some of the lesser known aspects of this issue and including the culpability of large swaths of the Black church for not responding forcefully to the ongoing assault on civil rights.


    In theory the United States has separation of church and state, but do we really or are white evangelicals succeeding in shaping the country in the image they would like to see?


    In this conversation we look at what has happened, what is happening, and how we can take action to prevent the U.S. from being dominated by the religious right.


    For a written transcript of this conversation click here.


    About Obery:


    Obery M. Hendricks Jr, is a visiting scholar in the departments of Religion and African American and African Diasporic Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of several books, including The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus's teachings and How They've Been Corrupted, The Universe Bends Towards Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic, a novel, Living Water, and his latest book Christians against Christianity: How Right Wing Evangelicals are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith.


    Resources:


    Christians against Christianity, How Right Wing Evangelicals are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith (please consider buying this book from a local bookseller)


    Credits:


    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend


     

    • 39 min
    Land Justice & Liberation with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

    Land Justice & Liberation with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

    For many Black Americans the land itself is the scene of the crime. That legacy of slavery has dramatically impacted the relationship that many Black Americans have with the land. 


    Food and land justice activist Leah Penniman is working to change that.


    A founder of Soul Fire Farm and the author of Farming While Black, Leah has made it her mission in life to reconnect Black and Brown people with the land. 


    In this conversation Leah and I talk about not only how the legacy of slavery is still seen in connection to the land and land ownership but how to heal some of these wounds. From spending time working with the land, to reparations, to political advocacy Leah and I talk about where we are, where we want to be, and how we get there. 


    About Leah:


    Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol farmer, author, mother, and food justice activist who has been tending the soil and organizing for an anti-racist food system for25 years. She currently serves as founding co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a Black & Brown led project that works toward food and land justice. Her book is Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. Find out more about Leah’s work at www.soulfirefarm.org and follow her @soulfirefarm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


    For a written transcript of this conversation go here.


    Action Items:



    Check out the Soul Fire Farm website where you'll find a ton of resources and action guides.

    Look at the reparations map created by the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust and Soul Fire Farm and find a project that connects with you and needs resources if you are able to make a financial contribution.

    Pay attention to legislation that is happening around farmers and our food and get in touch with your representatives. As few as 20 contacts from constituents make a difference.


    Resources:


    Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land by Leah Penniman


    Connect with Leah:


    Soul Fire Farm


    Farming While Black, the book 


    Instagram


    Twitter


    Credits: 
    Thank you to the National Liberty Museum for their production support.
    Harmonica music courtesy of a friend. 


     

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

The Bookwoman ,

Veronica Chambers and Obery Hendricks

I’m new to this podcast, but I’m loving it!!! The intelligent conversations, the clarity of ideas and the ease and pace of the interviewer is so wonderful! Definitely sharing you with more friends. 💯💯💯

ArlieLP ,

So grateful for this resource!

This podcast is so important! The critical conversations that Omkari Williams facilitates are inspiring, engaging, and enlightening. Stepping Into Truth should be required listening… don’t miss it!

Sloucks ,

Amazing Content

The content is inspiring as it speaks to the activist in each one of us. Powerful truths in how the story we care has value in the world of activism.

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