Graphics by Nicole Bae
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In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed in Minneapolis police custody in May, Americans across the country took to the streets. Those calling for change argue that it’s not just about police brutality, but years of systemic racial oppression across the board. So, how did we get here? Our new You Are Here special report series "Shadows of a Dream: The History of Racial Inequality in America," looks into the history of racial injustice in Massachusetts and beyond, as well as the reverberations of such inequities that are being felt by the Black American community today.
Learn more about You Are Here's AP award-winning reporting here.
The first episode of our "Shadows of a Dream" series traces the origins of racial inequities in New England, including Massachusetts’s often glossed-over involvement in the slave trade. We also explore the successes and failures of policies of the American Reconstruction era in the fight for racial equality, and delve into the political legacy of the era. The episode features interview with:
Kerima Lewis, Emerson College Professor of African American History
Paula Austin, Boston University Professor of African American History
Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, Director of Research at the Massachusetts Historical Society
With the groundwork of racial inequity laid, episode two starts the exploration into the societal impacts of racial disparities. In this episode, we focus on education inequality and the relationship between race, poverty, and educational opportunity. This episode features interviews from:
Howard “D” Simpson, 88.9 Operations Manager, Host of “The Secret Spot,” and co-creator/advisor for "Shadows of a Dream"
George Knight, Morning Show Host
Mark Brodie, Emerson College Professor
Colin Stokes, Head of Communications for METCO, Inc.
Demiah Crawford, Emerson College Student Class of 2022
Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teachers Union
In this episode, we delve deeper into the implications of neighborhood segregation, and its links to environmental justice and healthcare disparities. We define and explore the concept of environmental racism and the disproportionate impact of climate change, pollution, and natural disasters on communities of color. We also look into why it is often difficult for those communities to access health care services and get health insurance. This episode features interviews with:
Lewis Finfer, Co-Director of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network
Daniel Faber, Director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative
Dr. Nancy Kressin, Boston University School of Medicine
Audrey Shelto, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation
Michael Curry, Deputy CEO and General Counsel of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
Meet the voices behind the series
Leah has been with 88.9 since 2018 when she started as a public affairs reporter. She became News Coordinator and producer of our public affairs show You Are Here in the fall of 2019. During her time at the station, she’s reported on a variety of public affairs topics including public health, climate science, and social justice issues. You can also catch her delivering the morning news on Mornings With George Knight. A Chicago native, Leah has found a home in Boston with her friends at WERS.
Nicole is a journalism major at Emerson College set to graduate in December of 2020. She started at WERS her first semester as a reporter for You Are Here. After trying her hand at print and television journalism, she came back to her first love of radio in the second half of her junior year. It was then she began taking radio-related courses and unexpectedly received the opportunity to fill the News Coordinator position while Leah studied abroad. She has been blessed to stay on as Co-News Coordinator with Leah since then, and has found a family among the student and professional staff at the station. Nicole is driven by a calling to better the world through storytelling, and she plans to continue in the field of public affairs radio journalism.