A podcast for the civically engaged.


  • Save the Post Office

    01/05/2020 Duración: 49min

    The U.S. Postal Service is a vital institution. It is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation. Given how important the post office is to our economy and to our lives, why is it constantly in need of "saving"? We get a lesson from Mack Julion, a 20+ year letter carrier and postal union representative on the structure and restrictions of the postal service and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joins us to discuss the proposal to return postal banking services. Our Guests Mack I. Julion began his career as a letter carrier in Chicago, IL, in 1997 and joined Chicago Branch 11. He served his branch as steward, sergeant-at-arms and branch auditor. In 2008, then-NALC President William H. Young appointed Julion to the post of regional administrative assistant (RAA) for Region 3. The next year, Branch 11 elected Julion as branch president. He was re-elected branch president by the members in 2012, 2015 and by acclamation in 2018. Julion is also an arbitration advocate and intervention specialist.

  • Classroom to Congress

    01/05/2020 Duración: 51min

    What would it be like to have a former Bronx middle school principal in Congress? While education is mainly managed on the state and local level, the federal government has expanded its reach in recent years. Congressional Candidate Jamaal Bowman joins L. Joy for a discussion on how he believes Congress can make further investments in public education and more. Our Guest Jamaal Bowman has been a teacher, guidance counselor, dean, and the founding principal of a Bronx middle school. He was born and raised in New York City. He spent his early years in public housing and later in rent-controlled apartments. He didn’t have much growing up, but his mother provided him all that he needed: love, a stable family, and a sense of community. ‍ After seeing the failures in our education system, Jamaal started Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA). Located in the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx, CASA is an innovative public school with a strong emphasis on student voice, holistic education, cultural awareness

  • The Working Families Party

    19/04/2020 Duración: 49min

    Although you wouldn't know it from our regular political discourse, there are more than two political parties. L. Joy introduces us to an alternative to the democrats and republicans and brings the New York State Director of the Working Families Party to the front of the class to give us a an introduction to this progressive political party that focuses on the people. Our Guest Sochie Nnaemeka is a seasoned community organizer and national leader in the progressive movement who has spent her career building power for working people. She is the daughter of Nigerian immigrant parents, born and raised in New York and attended Yale University, where she began organizing with a local union of cafeteria and custodial workers. Today she is the Director of the New York State Working Families Party.

  • Government Bureaucracy in a Crisis

    19/04/2020 Duración: 51min

    We are all consuming a lot of information not only about this virus (COVID-19) and evaluating the government's response, at all levels. So coming to the front of the class we are bringing some science based facts from microbiologist Coqui Negra and some facts about how our various levels of government and bureaucracy work in a crisis from New York City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal. Our Guests Coqui Negra has an undergraduate degree in clinical laboratory science and a PhD in microbiology and immunology. Her research centered on Gram negative pathogenesis and she did postdoctoral research in a vaccine development center. After a decade of educating clinical laboratory science students, she moved to a scientific society to work on clinical laboratory policy in Washington, DC. Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the New York City Council and is Chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equity. Over the past six years, Helen has passed legislation to stop sexual harassment in the wor

  • Black America and the U.S. Presidents

    13/04/2020 Duración: 51min

    Margaret Kimberly, author of "Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents", comes to the front of the class for a discussion on the political relationship of Black America and the 45 U.S. Presidents. Our Guest @freedomrideblog Margaret Kimberley is a New York-based writer and activist for peace and justice issues. Dr. Cornel West has called her “one of the few great truth tellers who, along with Glen Ford, Adolph Reed, Jr. and Bruce Dixon, preserved her integrity during the Obama years.” She has been an editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report since its inception in 2006. Her work has appeared in the Dallas Morning News, Consortium News, American Herald Tribune and CounterPunch. She is a contributor to the anthology In Defense of Julian Assange. She is a graduate of Williams College and lives in New York City. About the Book Throughout the history of the United States, numerous presidents have left their legacies as slaveholders, bigots, and inciters of racial violence, but were the ones gene

  • Medicare for All: It Includes Dental!

    13/04/2020 Duración: 51min

    Advocates of Medicare for All are burying the lead, did you know it includes dental coverage? New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera comes to the front of the class to breakdown the detailed aspects of the widely supported policy and discuss how states can adopt universal healthcare coverage. There are a lot of terms thrown around in the debate over healthcare, here are a few; Universal Coverage: The ultimate goal is for everyone to have health insurance. Single-Payer: A category of healthcare coverage in which the government provides insurance to everyone and pays the bills. Public Option: A government run insurance plan is offered in addition to private health insurance plans. Medicare for All: One of many policy proposals to achieve universal coverage that would create a national health insurance program in which everyone is covered and the government is the single payer. Our Guest: @NYSenatorRivera New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1998, Gustavo gradua

  • Who We Elect: Attorney General

    16/02/2020 Duración: 51min

    We celebrate 100 episodes of #SundayCivics with another installment of our #WhoWeElect series focusing on the elected position of state attorney general. The state attorney general is the chief legal advisor to the state government and the state's chief law enforcement officer. We are joined by New York State Attorney General Letitia James who shares how she serves "the people". The state attorney general is the chief legal advisor to the state government and the state's chief law enforcement officer. The state attorney general is an elected position in 43 states and majority serve 4 year terms. In Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Wyoming, the attorney general is appointed by the governor. For those of you listening in Tennessee, your state supreme court appoints the attorney general for an 8 year term and in Maine the state legislature votes for the attorney general for a 2 year term. The National Association of Attorneys General describe the typical duties of the state attorney general; ...t

  • Who We Elect: Judges

    16/02/2020 Duración: 51min

    How do those adorned in Black robes make it to the bench? Some judges are appointed but some also appear on our ballots. In another installment of our Who We Elect series we discuss the elections of judges, who funds their campaigns, lack of diversity in state supreme courts and how we should evaluate judicial candidates. Our Guest Alicia Bannon is the managing director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. She leads the Center’s Fair Courts Project, where she directs research, advocacy, and litigation to promote a fair judicial system. Bannon has authored several nationally recognized reports and articles on judicial selection, access to justice, judicial diversity, and government dysfunction, and her writing has been featured in the New York Times, Atlantic, and Time, among other outlets. Bannon was previously an adjunct professor at NYU School of Law, where she taught the Brennan Center Public Policy Advocacy Clinic, and at Seton Hall Law School, where she taught a course in professional responsibi

  • Do Endorsements Matter?

    02/02/2020 Duración: 51min

    If your favorite celebrity endorses a candidate for public office it may not matter much to you unless of course it is the candidate you are already supporting. Endorsements from individuals may not move your vote but endorsements come from many different sources and can have a huge impact on a campaign. Our favorite civics teacher gives us a lesson on how endorsements can move politics, money and votes in support of a campaign. 2:55 - 14:10 If you are a documentary filmmaker L. Joy is the embodiment of your target audience. L Joy chats with her thoroughest girls about how she takes action after watching documentaries on the spread of diseases, recycling and more. 16:20 - 48:08 L Joy steps to the front of the class to give us a lesson on political endorsements. Endorsements come from many different sources. They can be from individuals like celebrities, former and existing elected officials, activists, organizers and even regular folks like you. Campaigns actively seek out endorsements from other sources l

  • Intersection of Race and Technology

    26/01/2020 Duración: 51min

    "The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans..." That is a statement straight out of a Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the 2016 presidential cycle. But did you know that there is a history of Russia using race to to interfere in United States politics? We bring Mutale Nkonde to the front of the class for a history lesson on Russian propaganda tools and a discussion on the intersection of race and technology. #FirstCivicAction Mutale Nkonde’s shares her #FirstCivicAction which was with our teacher L. Joy and Higher Heights. She attended a day party held by Higher Heights which inspired her to #GetCivicallyEngaged. Our Guest Mutale Nkonde is an AI policy analyst and researcher based in New York City. She started her career as a 2018-19 fellow at Data & Society, a Research Institute in New York City and works at the intersection of race, technology, and policy. Nkonde has been working as a senior tech policy advisor for Co

  • What Does It Mean to Be Healthy?

    20/01/2020 Duración: 49min

    What does it mean to be “healthy” and how does our civic life and that healthy life intersect? What role does the government play in your “healthy” life and how should it address healthcare disparities, healthcare coverage and drug prices? Our civics teacher and friendly neighborhood strategist L. Joy Williams brings Dr. L Toni Lewis to the front of the #SundayCivics class to answer these questions and have a discussion on how we move toward health equity. Our Guest Dr. Luella Toni Lewis pursued a career in social justice through medicine and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and a Medical Doctorate from Georgetown University. In 2004, Dr. Lewis became a family medicine resident and a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU)–the largest physician’s union in the Service Employees International Union. Dr. Lewis became very active with CIR/SEIU, working with unions and allies to advocate for the community served by the failing system. She served the members of CIR/SEIU in many capaci

  • The Empowering 20’s

    13/01/2020 Duración: 53min

    Welcome to the 20's...what our civics teacher & friendly neighborhood political strategist L. Joy Williams has dubbed the Empowering 20's. The new decade dawns and L. Joy outlines the many civic opportunities that are coming up that if we get involved, have the opportunity to empower our communities. We welcome back Ifeoma "Ify" Ike and of course our girl June joins in the discussion to discuss the myriad ways to #TakeCivicAction in the next decade. Our Guest Ifeoma Ike—Ify, for short—is a first-generation, Nigerian-American activist, artist and attorney whose entire career has been dedicated to empowering marginalized communities and creating data-informed strategies to reduce inequity. Ify is a co-founding Principal of social impact firm, Think Rubix, a professor at Lehman College, and a board member of the Women’s Prison Association, as well as a Junior Board member of the Nigerian Healthcare Foundation.

  • The Anger Gap

    08/12/2019 Duración: 51min

    Anger can motivate a voter to the polls, to the streets and even to the White House. L Joy brings Assistant Professor of Political Science Davin Phoenix to the front of the class to discuss his book "The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics" to explore anger as a political resource that mobilizes black and white Americans differently. Our neighborhood political strategists also talks to Radhika Sainath of Palestine Legal about anti-boycott legislation being passed in various states across the country. Our Guests Davin L. Phoenix is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. His research examines how race interacts with different spheres of American politics to shape the attitudes, emotions, and behavior of both everyday people and elites. He is a recipient of the 2016–17 University of California Hellman Fellowship and the 2017–18 Dean's Honoree for Teaching Excellence Award. Radhika Sainath is a senior staff attorney at Palestine Legal, where she oversees t

  • “You will never be able to out white a white man…”

    02/12/2019 Duración: 51min

    L. Joy brings her mentor to the front of the class for a discussion on the presidential race, speaking up in corporate spaces and the role of legacy civil rights organizations in the modern era. Karen shared her #FirstCivicAction which was in college when she visited her state representative for a student lobby day to advocate for TAP (Tuition Assistance Program). We then discussed how she used her position as a corporate leader to More About Our Guest: Karen Boykin-Towns has built a reputation as a visionary and strategic results-driver in complex business and government environments based on demonstrated success in the areas of policy, advocacy, communications, and proactive change management. She excelled in her career at Pfizer for 22 years, being named the company's first Chief Diversity Officer in 2008 and became the Vice President Corporate Affairs for their $34B Innovative Medicines business. She served as Legislative Director then Chief of Staff to New York State Senator David Paterson, who later b

  • Who We Elect: School Boards

    24/11/2019 Duración: 51min

    Our #WhoWeElect series continues with a focus on school boards. School boards set the vision of your local school district, hire and evaluate the school superintendent, approve the budget, set spending priorities, approve vendor contracts and can even make decisions on curriculum or the textbooks schools will use. L. Joy brings Tomeka Hart to the front of the class to discuss her previous role as an elected school board member in Memphis and more. #FirsCivicActionOut guest, Tomeka Hart shares her #FirstCivicAction as a high school senior. She decided she would, with no experience, run for senior class treasurer. Our Guest Tomka Hart serves as a Senior Program Officer, US Policy, Advocacy and Communications for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading grant making to civil rights and equity organizations. She previously served as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Institutional Advancement for the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), leading and supporting SEF’s work to improve student o

  • Whipping A Party

    24/11/2019 Duración: 51min

    Have you ever wondered how elected officials get together enough votes to pass legislation? While in the Great State of South Carolina, our beloved civics teacher L. Joy sat down with Jaime Harrison to discuss how to "whip" votes in a legislative body, how to run a state party, southern politics and more. Our Guest: To Jaime Harrison, character always matters, hard work is in his bones, doing what’s right is a way of life, and making good on his debt of gratitude to South Carolina is a lifelong commitment. The son of a single teenage mom, and raised by his grandparents in Orangeburg South Carolina, Jaime overcame the challenges of grinding poverty with the help of teachers and mentors who believed in him. From a mobile home to Yale University and Georgetown Law, Jaime never forgot who he was or where he came from. Now, Jaime is running for U.S. Senate to fight for opportunity for all South Carolinians. Jaime knows what it’s like for a family to have to choose between paying the electric bill and putting fo

  • You Have the Right to an Attorney

    17/11/2019 Duración: 51min

    You have the right to legal representation in a criminal matter but there is no guarantee that representation will have the resources and the access to represent you well. L. Joy brings Scott Hechinger to the front of the class to discuss the role public defenders play in our justice system and you will learn its not all Law & Order promised us. #FirstCivicAction Scott Hechinger’s #FirstCivicAction happened when he was eight years old. His grandfather ran for office and he went with him canvassing door to door in their district. Our Guest: Scott Hechinger is Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Policy at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), a public defense firm representing about half of all those arrested in Brooklyn each year, Scott bridges the divide between practice and policy. As a Senior Staff Attorney, he has represented thousands of low-income individuals accused of crimes ranging from low-level misdemeanors to the most serious felonies, from arraignment to trial, in and outside of court. As Direct

  • We Want Housing, Fit for the Shelter of Human Beings

    28/10/2019 Duración: 51min

    We have an obvious housing crisis that our government has a responsibility to address. The demand for housing, that is fit for the shelter of human beings, is a human right. L.Joy brings Afua Atta-Mensah Esq., to the front of the class to discuss how we think about housing and what we can do to stop being comfortable with some people not having a clean and safe place to live. Our Guest Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq joined the Community Voices Heard team in September 2016 as the Executive Director. Prior to joining as the Executive Director, Afua served on the Community Voices Heard board. From her work in Ghana, West Africa to the urban centers across America, Afua has worked to improve the quality and quantity of fair and equitable housing, defend racial and social justice initiatives, and galvanize support for programs benefiting low-income families. She was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys (FIDA) advocating on behalf of indigent women in Gh

  • Public Spaces Private Places

    28/10/2019 Duración: 44min

    If "public space" is created and managed by private companies, what rights do any of us have while in those spaces? What are the trade offs of giving land and tax incentives to companies who promise "affordable housing" and increased revenue with the presence of sports stadiums? L. Joy brings Prof. Anthony Maniscalco to the front of the class for the discussion along with her thoroughest girls June and Lurie. Our Guest Professor Anthony Maniscalco is Director of the CUNY-ETR Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs. Professor-in-Residence, New York State Assembly. A self-described “agoraphiliac,” Tony earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center. His dissertation examines the role of the United States Supreme Court in undermining freedoms of expression in privately-owned public spaces, primarily, regional shopping malls in American suburbs. Much of that work was later published by SUNY Press in 2015/2016. In his book, Public Spaces, Marketplaces, and the Constitution, he explo

  • How To Meet Who Represents You

    04/10/2019 Duración: 49min

    Ready to #TakeCivicAction? Then it’s time to meet those who represent you. L. Joy brings her own State Senator Julia Salazar to the front of the class and together they give a lesson on how to build relationships with your elected representatives. Our Guest New York State Senator Julia Salazar represents State Senate District 18, which includes the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, as well as the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York. After her election in 2018, Salazar became the youngest woman to serve in the New York State Senate. Senator Salazar is a strong advocate for tenant rights, criminal justice, protection of women's rights and immigration justice. In 2019, she introduced the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act that mandates medical insurance companies to cover in their policies all medicines, devices and contraceptive products for women that have been approved by the FDA. She also introduced bills that order the training of ho

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