This has been a memorable month leading into election day. Americans have been dealing with the pandemic, racism, voting rights, and healthcare, but the real fly on the vice president's head is this grey area of uncertainty many feel throughout this contentious year in a country divided.
This week’s What We Don’t Know discussion is about activism through creativity.
Yosi Sergant opened our eyes to art’s influence in a digitally dominated society when he commissioned the Hope image of Barack Obama in 2008. However, before Shepard Fairey, the creator of the image, joined the ranks of famous street artists, there were revolutions decades prior, ushering in the fusion of art and politics that help us absorb societal issues through variable platforms.
It has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. #2020 is taking a beating with memes about how awful things have been between the global pandemic, protests, and a stressful election year. Increasing calls for racial justice sparked by the death of Ahmaud Arbery this April continued with protests to end police brutality for George Floyd and more.
We talked to Rashad Robinson in a recent episode of WWDK, which helps us pull the chaos into constructive focus. Robinson is a civil rights advocate and former senior director of media for GLAAD. He often makes appearances on NPR, CNN, and PBS, to name a few, to discuss his passionate activism and bring awareness to causes. He joins us on What We Don't Know; Racial Justice to talk about his goals in the role of President of Color Of Change, the well known civil rights organization he’s led since 2011.
Desmond Meade is a popular speaker and activist most known for his work as the president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), which fights to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals. Meade is also the chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, and a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.
This week begins a journey into the blue and red divided world of politics, and it's many
influences, challenges, and issues relevant today. We kick it off with a conversation with Yosi Sergant on What We Don't Know; How To Shift Culture. Sergant, a publicist, CEO of Task Force, and former media consultant for the Obama administration sits down with us to discuss how cultural art impacts political and social change.
We are ending our month-long discussion about the evolution of COVID with a conversation with Andrew Yang this week on What We Don't Know; Basic Income. Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur, founder of Venture For America, and a former 2020 U.S. presidential candidate. Yang is most known for his campaign of Universal Basic Income (UBI).
UBI is government-supplied funds dispersed periodically to citizens to aid in basic needs like food, shelter, general well-being, and contribution to the economy. It's a cash amount with no restrictions and isn't in the form of a voucher or housing.
This week, we look at the educational system during the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to teachers, Niki Whaley and Kimberly Adams, to get perspectives from each country's side. They share professional opinions of the pandemic's effect on misplaced students and changes for teachers. The abrupt business closures left consumers to rely on food deliveries and online shopping. Still, classrooms can't be replaced via delivery. The immediate effects of closures took a toll on over 50 million American students and parents. Niki and Kimberly's different experiences share a commonality in the challenge of maintaining normalcy for students.
The trendy phrase “self-care” has evolved in recent months from bubble baths and yoga meditations to basic strategies in remaining positive and managing stress to help navigate the burdens of the current coronavirus pandemic worldwide. Dr. Mark Goulston is an expert in this field. He is a well-known psychiatrist, executive counselor, and sought after speaker with over 25 years of experience.
Mark wrote the book Just Listen, and it’s about improving listening skills to improve in being heard and understood in negotiations, work, and everyday life but his specialty in helping individuals deal with life traumas. He has helped patients with depression, grief, and suicide prevention. His skill is in even more demand today as people struggle to find their footing in these unprecedented times of a health crisis, mass unemployment, and overall uncertainty of the future.
Dr. Goulston joins us this week on What We Don't Know; Mental Health During COVID to layout easy tools to strengthen our mental health and assist those closest to us.
During the early stages of the Coronavirus breakout, various government leaders focused on immediate hospital needs and locking down the cities. Fortunately, leaders like Eric Adams, The Brooklyn Borough President, dealt with the pandemic in what he refers to as moving around "in real-time". In his interview on "What We Don't Know; Leading In The Epicenter", Adams shares stories of his efforts in supplying people in his community directly with face coverings even before the CDC announced preventative measures.
Between the recent events of the George Floyd protests and the current coronavirus pandemic, a brighter light now shines on injustices in our legal system, especially with cash bail. In America, it is not innocent until proven guilty, it's guilty until able to pay. No one knows more about this than CEO and founder of The Bail Project, Robin Steinberg. Steinberg has over 35 years of Public Defending under her belt and has also created The Bronx Defenders and The Bronx Freedom Fund. The Bail Project alone has assisted in 10,000 bailouts to date.
Johnny Perez is an expert on what solitary confinement is, and this week on What We Don’t Know, he joins us to discuss his journey from prison to advocacy and his efforts to eliminate the use of solitary confinement. Johnny was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment as a minor, and during that time he tested positive for marijuana. He was punished by serving time in solitary.
He ultimately endured three years total in isolation during his sentence. The traumatic experiences he encountered are much like many others, like teenager Kalief Browder, who ended up in jail due to lack of bail (a conversation we’ll explore more in next week’s interview) which led to his eventual suicide due to instability in his mental health after solitary. Albert Woodfox is well known for his astounding 40 years of solitary confinement while remaining uncharged for an accused crime. Perez not only survived but triumphs as a well-known advocate, fighting to abolish solitary as the director of U.S. Prison Programs; National Religion Campaign Against Torture.
Johnny Perez Explains how Solitary is torture