Veteran community organizer Marie Nahikian hosts The Usable Past, where activists share their stories of past and present organizing for better housing, food, banks, jobs, environmental and social justice. A Brooklyn resident, Marie most recently worked with U.S. Housing & Urban Development under President Obama and has participated in building 5,000 affordable homes in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. Marie has been a neighborhood, civil rights, housing and labor organizer, a community journalist, and in 1977 was a founder of WPFW-FM Pacifica radio in Washington, DC.
Episode 12: Brooklyn Underhill Stories: All Global Soul
A long time resident on Brooklyn's Underhill Avenue shares story of Cheryl's Global Soul: a small-minority-woman-LGBTQ owned business is the heart of a block "making it" despite no start-up capital, gentrification and a pandemic.
Episode 11: Daughter of Brooklyn Finds the Circus
The Usable Past explores past stories that inform the present. Brooklyn Underhill Stories are about life on Underhill Avenue & Eastern Parkway including black artists, entrepreneurs, a changing community. A black Brooklyn woman becomes an international circus star.
Episode 10: Special Edition-MY U.S. Capitol 1-06-2021
A Washington, DC resident had a personal relationship with the U.S. Capitol Building, ranging from arrests to haircuts to John & Yoko Lennon.
Episode 9: Brooklyn Moves Water
For 20+ years, a diverse community of Brooklyn women (and a few men), have learned from Torello Cabrol how to build a community workout with love, care and respect for each other.
Episode 8: The Usable Past: Shirley Chisholm: Founding Mother of Contemporary Black Politics
Shirley Chisholm, Brooklyn's own, the first African American woman elected to Congress & in 1972, she was the
first woman nominated to be President. Conversation with Barbara Bullard, a Brooklyn Bed-Sty resident at the
forefront of working to protect Chisholm's legacy and a producer of a planned feature film starring Anika Noni Rose.
Joined by cultural writer Gene Seymour, hosts Marie Nahikian & PJ Ryan explore connections to the historic
nomination of VP Kamala Harris, highlighting why "Miss Shirley" always said "being first is not enough."
Episode 7: Feet to the Fire-Yale Union Organizers Know How
Yale University Local 34 union organizers, both retired & current workers talk about 40 years of success that has changed the lives of the workforce at Yale and are building an economic justice movement in New Haven. Host Marie Nahikian & co-hose P.J. Ryan interview original leaders Steve Fortes, Cheryl Bergman and Aldo Cupo. Host Marie Nahikian & co-host P.J. Ryan talk with these original leaders about how they won the first victory for Local 34 in 1985, talk about how you have to know your history, never stop organizing and keep Yale's feet to the fire.