11 episodes

Systemic is an award-winning podcast that uses audio diaries and interviews to document the lives of people working to create change.

In Season 2, the show follows a diverse group of educators, students and parents during a school year in which debates around race and equity in public education reached a fever pitch.

Season 1, produced in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests, follows Black Americans working to reform policing from inside and outside the system.

Systemic Colorado Public Radio

    • Society & Culture
    • 2.8 • 1.6K Ratings

Systemic is an award-winning podcast that uses audio diaries and interviews to document the lives of people working to create change.

In Season 2, the show follows a diverse group of educators, students and parents during a school year in which debates around race and equity in public education reached a fever pitch.

Season 1, produced in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests, follows Black Americans working to reform policing from inside and outside the system.

    Overcoming Hate

    Overcoming Hate

    When it comes to prosecuting hate crimes, Colorado didn’t have a great track record until they amended Colorado’s bias-motivated crimes statute.

    In this bonus episode of Systemic, we look at how Melissa Hall, a Black parent who was racially abused while volunteering on school premises, tested this new amendment in court.

    Host and producer: Jo Erickson
    Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
    Theme music by Daniel Mescher. (Additional music via Universal Production Music.)
    Art: Maria Juliana Pinzón

    • 23 min
    Dreams

    Dreams

    Leaders in Denver Public Schools acknowledge existing inequities in schools and are trying to address them. They recognize the lack of people of color in leadership positions has created policies that led to disparities between white students and students of color. To redress this problem, DPS created a leadership program. But while it solves some problems, it may create new ones. In this episode we follow educator Paulina Lerma as she attempts to break the glass ceiling to become a Latina principal.

    Host and producer: Jo Erickson
    Editor: Erin Jones
    Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
    Theme music by Daniel Mescher. (Additional music via Universal Production Music.)
    Art: Maria Juliana Pinzón
    Executive producers: Brad Turner, Kevin Dale
    Additional editorial support: Jenny Brundin, Rachel Estabrook, Sherkiya Wedgeworth-Hollowell, Luis Antonio Perez
    Thanks also to Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Mia Rincón, Arielle Wilson, Hart van Denburg.

    • 36 min
    Tipping Point

    Tipping Point

    The number of Black teachers leaving the profession is rising. Kevin Adams is a social studies teacher working in Denver Public Schools. He’s very popular with students and parents, but struggles with microaggressions from his colleagues. Like many Black teachers, he thinks about quitting education. Why are Black teachers walking away? Kevin and his friend started a podcast to put a spotlight on the hard truths about why teachers of color are leaving the profession. In this episode we follow Kevin Adams as he navigates a stream of microaggressions.

    Host and producer: Jo Erickson
    Editor: Erin Jones
    Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
    Theme music by Daniel Mescher. (Additional music via Universal Production Music.)
    Art: Maria Juliana Pinzón
    Executive producers: Brad Turner, Kevin Dale
    Additional editorial support: Jenny Brundin, Rachel Estabrook, Sherkiya Wedgeworth-Hollowell, Luis Antonio Perez
    Thanks also to Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Mia Rincón, Arielle Wilson, Hart van Denburg.

    • 34 min
    Safe Space

    Safe Space

    The dramatic exit of the superintendent and changes to school equity policies is cause for concern for Naomi Lopez, a speech therapist in Colorado Springs School District 11. Lopez works with children in special education who require services from the equity department. Without the equity leadership team overseeing the work, she fears her students will miss vital resources that assist in their academic goals. Naomi’s problems grew when two board members expressed transphobic messages on social media, and she feared for the safety of her gender fluid child. We follow Naomi Lopez as she tries to steer the board toward equity policies while addressing her concerns that her gender-fluid child is a target because of the school board's anti-LGBTQ comments.

    Host and producer: Jo Erickson
    Editor: Erin Jones
    Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
    Theme music by Daniel Mescher. (Additional music via Universal Production Music.)
    Art: Maria Juliana Pinzón
    Executive producers: Brad Turner, Kevin Dale
    Additional editorial support: Jenny Brundin, Rachel Estabrook, Sherkiya Wedgeworth-Hollowell, Luis Antonio Perez
    Thanks also to Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Mia Rincón, Arielle Wilson, Hart van Denburg.

    • 42 min
    No Equity, No Voice

    No Equity, No Voice

    Racial tension has been building in Colorado Springs School District 11 for some time. School volunteer Melissa Hall was racially abused by a white parent in the school parking lot. But tension escalated when the superintendent abruptly resigned and a school board member made racial comments toward Black men who attended a school board meeting. In this episode we follow Melissa Hall, a Black parent, as she feels the full impact of withholding equity policies as a school volunteer and a mother of four kids.

    Host and producer: Jo Erickson
    Editor: Erin Jones
    Producers: Rebekah Romberg, Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
    Theme music by Daniel Mescher. (Additional music via Universal Production Music.)
    Art: Maria Juliana Pinzón
    Executive producers: Brad Turner, Kevin Dale
    Additional editorial support: Jenny Brundin, Rachel Estabrook, Sherkiya Wedgeworth-Hollowell, Luis Antonio Perez
    Thanks also to Jodi Gersh, Clara Shelton, Mia Rincón, Arielle Wilson, Hart van Denburg.

    • 32 min
    Season 2 Preview: Equity & Education

    Season 2 Preview: Equity & Education

    Conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion found their way into schools, classrooms, and school board meetings over the past few years. But fixing an entire education system isn’t simple.

    Systemic, hosted and reported by Jo Erickson, is back for Season 2. This season, teachers, parents, students and administrators of color are asking hard questions about the American education system.

    What topics get to be included in the curriculum? How can educators make schools a place where every family feels like they belong? And how do we keep students safe?

    Systemic tells the stories of those who fight injustice as they attempt to dismantle the status quo. In each episode, you’ll hear from a person from a diverse community in Colorado trying to make a difference in education. In the audio diaries and interviews, you’ll hear their triumphs and struggles. And why they refuse to stand idly by and prop-up a broken system.

    The podcast returns January 10. Follow the show wherever you listen so you don’t miss an episode.

    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5
1.6K Ratings

1.6K Ratings

GLBuck23 ,

No Equity episode

This is the first episode that I’ve listened to and it’s a story, unfortunately and sadly that continues to be told and to be heard all over the country. I hope parents and communities will continue to stand up for the educational equity and equal opportunity for all children to learn cultural history.

havecourageandempathy ,

Be brave, fellow white folks!

First, the one star hater reviews seem to have been taken out of a knee-jerk ultra right wing Spam response can. There’s no way they could really have listened to the series, even the ones that cite specific moments because they either didn’t actually hear them or they didn’t allow themselves to understand them. Those spam reviews are just proof of how important this podcast is for anyone with an open mind and, especially, white people like me who need to have our eyes opened more to the experience of folks with darker skin than ours in this country, with its history absolutely rooted in the economy and social structure of slavery. these are two stories that for whatever reason may be hard for some people to hear but, fellow white folks, be brave and honest about that and your conscience will be clearer and your intelligence will be greater, and your heart will grow stronger. Ironically, the ultra conservative right has used the term snowflake to, essentially, describe people who care about everyone being respected for who they are. Well, first of all, who are the snowflakes who can’t handle this podcast existing?? Secondly, snowflakes are, in addition to being fleeting on this earth, beautiful and unique. That’s what all humans are, in fact. I think this podcast really is just trying to help humans see how beautiful and unique we all are and how we need to support each other, especially in the ambiguous hard times, not tear each other down, especially without really knowing each other. About the podcast itself, I’ll also say that it is beautiful and unique, engaging, well written, well produced and informative. Five stars. More like this, please.

BluOak ,

Systemic season 2

This podcast is incredible! It really points out the fear people have around equity and what some people feel it means. The first two episodes really opened my eyes to Colorado Springs school District 11 and the injustice that is taking place there.I look forward to the remaining episodes yet to be publicized. It is definitely worth the listen!

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