Episode 30: We Keep Us Safe with Zach Norris

Listen to Zach Norris and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss systems reform and new visions of public safety as they explore takeaways from Zach’s new book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities.


Who “deserves” to be safe? And who gets to define safety—and how?

Zach Norris joined Jhumpa Bhattacharya on the podcast to explore these questions and more through a discussion of his powerful new book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities.

Zach is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that aims to empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families. Zach is also a co-founder of Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation’s youth incarceration epidemic.

Sharing detailed case studies and stories, We Keep Us Safe lays out a blueprint for reimagining our vision of public safety and reforming our justice systems in ways that prioritize constructive care and support over fear and punishment. 

Digging in on the book’s themes and inspiration, Zach and Jhumpa discuss the need to move away from false “he keeps us safe” narratives rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy to a “we keep us safe” model that centers impacted communities and their solutions for change.

“The leadership of this movement for genuine safety needs to come from people who have been hurt first and worst by mass incarceration,” says Zach. “[This movement] ultimately is for the liberation of everybody in this country.”

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.


To learn more about Zach Norris and his work, visit ellabakercenter.org and follow Zach on Twitter at @ZachWNorris. Learn more about and purchase Zach’s book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, here

Episode 29: Centering Women – It’s More Than Lip Service

Listen to Anne Price and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss the work of lifting up women and centering Blackness as they reflect on recent trends and ponder new frontiers in racial and gender justice.


“We still have a long way to go in terms of understanding what it truly means to support women and to support women of color.”

What would it look like to truly commit to advancing racial and gender equity? Insight’s Anne Price and Jhumpa Bhattacharya joined the podcast to explore this theme while reflecting on recent trends in the field and the future of racial and gender justice work.

Considering what it would look like to authentically center women, Anne and Jhumpa discussed ways to mine the untapped value of women’s roles and expertise in the economy, including investing them with not only the power to truly lead, but the freedom to fail, through ideation and innovation in the field.

Highlighting recent and forthcoming work, Anne and Jhumpa also explored the idea of Centering Blackness as a critical lens to break new ground in exposing and countering the deep-seated racial inequities shaping our country’s economy and society.

By Centering Blackness, we can not only challenge ourselves to reconsider the structures of our society and economy but recognize the ways that anti-Blackness affects us all:

“I think that [centering and deconstructing anti-Blackness] helps us deal with race and racism in a way that actually doesn’t divide us but actually unifies us – actually helps us build multi-ethnic and racial solidarity,” says Anne, “because we can see how we’re connected through something that was constructed, through something that is threaded through systems and rules and policies and practice and culture.”

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.


Follow Anne and Jhumpa on Twitter at @AnnePriceICCED and @jhumpa_b and stay connected to learn more about Insight’s forthcoming work on Centering Blackness.

Episode 28: Crushing Rural Stereotypes with Kendra Bozarth

Listen to Kendra Bozarth and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss how disrupting false and reductive narratives about rural America can support more inclusive and responsive policy change. 


“We have all these big ideas happening right now…but policy change cannot be real until we change the way we talk about policy and people.”

Rural America is home to a vastly more diverse population – with varied perspectives, needs, and goals – than prevailing political narratives, as well as public policies, represent. Kendra Bozarth, communications manager for the Homecomers with Sarah Smarsh podcast, joined Jhumpa Bhattacharya to discuss the importance of breaking down reductive stereotypes that serve to erase and exclude rural voices and communities. 

“We’ve really reduced entire communities, entire regions, to these really flawed and, I feel, offensive political headlines,” says Kendra. “In doing so, we’re blanketing over the real experiences of real people. When we paint Kansas, for example, with these broad strokes of red, we’re erasing tons of people, and now we can’t provide them with real solutions.”

As a Black woman who considers Kansas her home, Kendra shares her story of drawing inspiration from her rural roots in her work for progressive policy change, and she highlights revealing takeaways from the Homecomers with Sarah Smarsh podcast, which tells untold stories of rural and working-class America through the voices of its residents and advocates.

Kendra is the communications director and chief editor at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank that promotes a progressive economic and political worldview. Previously, she worked on state budget and tax policy in Kansas, as part of the Center on Budget’s State Priorities Partnership. 

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.


Learn more about the Homecomers with Sarah Smarsh podcast by visiting thehomecomers.org and listening to the full series on iTunes or Spotify.

To learn more about Kendra Bozarth and her work, visit rooseveltinstitute.org and follow her on Twitter.

Episode 27: Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Listen to Dr. Lisa D. Cook, Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss the extreme underrepresentation of Black women in economics and why that matters for the field – and for public policy. 



“If you don’t see yourself in the text, and you don’t see yourself in the classroom, where do you see yourself?”

Among all recipients of doctoral degrees in economics, only 0.6% in the U.S. are Black women. Why? To explore this issue, Jhumpa Bhattacharya welcomed to the podcast Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, co-authors of a New York Times op-ed spotlighting the severe underrepresentation of Black women in the field of economics. 

Dr. Lisa D. Cook is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University. A former faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Cook served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department and as a Senior Economist on the Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors. She has also held positions or conducted postdoctoral research at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia, the World Bank, and the Brookings Institution, among others.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is a research scholar in economics at Harvard University, as well as a visiting research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a predoctoral trainee of the Inaugural NYU/Schmidt Futures Program. She completed her B.A. in Mathematics, with a minor in Economics, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as a Meyerhoff/MARC*U*STAR Scholar. Anna is also co-founder and CEO of ​the Sadie Collective, an organization that seeks to advance the representation of Black women in quantitative fields such as economics, data science, and public policy. 

Drawing on hard data and their own experiences, Dr. Cook and Ms. Opoku-Agyeman detail the intersecting barriers young Black women face in the field, from exclusionary practices going back to early education to racial and gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination at the highest levels. Together, they explore the far-reaching consequences of the extreme lack of diversity in economics while discussing the impact of their op-ed in the field and sharing strategies for empowering Black women as scholars and leaders in economics. 

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.


Read the op-ed co-authored by Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman for the New York Times, “‘It Was a Mistake for Me to Choose this Field.’

Learn more about Dr. Lisa D. Cook’s work by visiting lisadcook.net and following her on Twitter. To learn more about Anna’s work, visit sadiecollective.org and follow her on Twitter.

Episode 26: Angela Hanks and Janelle Jones

Listen to Angela Hanks, Janelle Jones, Anne Price, and Jhumpa Bhattacharya break down dominant economic myths and narratives while discussing pathways to a more equitable, inclusive economy.


“We’ve been living through this lie and seeing how it has not delivered for the majority of people in this country.”

Free markets. Meritocracy. Personal responsibility. These prevailing conservative economic narratives have influenced public policy and perceptions for decades, with profound outcomes for our economy—now marked by record income inequality—and society.

How can we push back against dominant economic narratives and practices that leave so many people out? And how can we chart a path toward a more inclusive economy that works for everyone?

Angela Hanks and Janelle Jones, both of the Groundwork Collaborative, joined Anne Price and Jhumpa Bhattacharya on the podcast to dig in on these questions and more.

Angela Hanks is the Deputy Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative and a regular contributor to Forbes.com. She previously held roles at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), and she served as a counsel on Congressman Elijah E. Cummings’ (D-MD) legislative staff.

Janelle Jones is the Managing Director for Policy and Research at the Groundwork Collaborative. Previously, Janelle was a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute, the Center for Economic Policy Research, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Her research has been cited in The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, The Washington Post, The Review of Black Political Economy, and other publications.

Angela and Janelle joined Anne and Jhumpa to discuss their efforts to advance a cross-cutting economic narrative for the progressive movement, centered around the idea that “We are the economy.”

Breaking down the faults and falsehoods of mainstream economic narratives, Angela and Janelle discuss the work and value of seeding a new economic vision that puts people over profits, centers women of color and other historically marginalized groups, and integrates more diverse voices as experts, agents, and stakeholders.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts

Read the transcript here or download as PDF


To learn more about the work of Angela Hanks and Janelle Jones, visit groundworkcollaborative.org.

Episode 25: Darris Young

Listen to Aisa Villarosa and Darris Young discuss the roots of mass incarceration, pathways for systems change, and Darris’s life and work in becoming a strong advocate for Black and Brown boys, men, and communities.


“When you believe in the humanity of all people, and you come together on that accord, then you’re able to get [the work] done.”

Darris Young is the lead Program Associate for the Boys and Men of Color Alliance at the Urban Strategies Council. Born in Oakland, Darris is a national organizer and former counselor who has decades of experience working and partnering with Black and Latinx youth and young adults.

Darris joined Insight’s Aisa Villarosa on the podcast to discuss his advocacy work through the Oakland-based Urban Strategies Council, where he collaborates through a number of coalitions to advance education reform, workforce development, violence prevention, and other community-based priorities.

Recounting his journey to advocacy work, Darris discussed his background growing up in the East Bay amid the Black Panther movement, his experience as a police officer, and his transition from justice system involvement to counseling and community organizing.

Tracing this path, Darris and Aisa examine the origins and impact of mass incarceration and other forms of systemic racism and oppression, and they dig in on the spirit of resistance, collaboration, and shared humanity that informs Darris’s tireless work for systems change.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts

Read the transcript here or download as PDF


To learn more about Darris’s work, visit the Urban Strategies Council at urbanstrategies.org

RESOURCES:

Amended Senate Bill No. 310 

Our Voice Matters: Support ACA 6: Restore Voting Rights to Californians on Parole.” 

Convicted Felons Closer to Serving on California Juries.” 

Episode 24: Thomas W. Mitchell

Listen to Professor Thomas W. Mitchell and Anne Price discuss the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) and how it helps struggling families hold on to and build wealth through land ownership.

Click here to view and download the full transcription of this episode.


Professor Thomas W. Mitchell is a Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law at Texas A&M University School of Law. He is a ground-breaking legal scholar who has worked for more than 20 years to help some of the most economically insecure groups secure stronger property rights. 

Thomas joined Anne Price to discuss how struggling families can hold on to and build wealth through land ownership. Describing how wills and estate planning are vital mechanisms for families to pass down wealth to future generations, he highlighted that, while 57% of white people without a high school diploma have a will, just 32% of Blacks with the highest level of education have one.

Whenever a landowner dies without a will, the heirs — usually a spouse and children — inherit the estate. They own the land in common, with no one person owning a specific part of it. Thomas explained how this can become problematic as anyone can buy an interest in one of these family estates; all it takes is a single heir willing to sell. And anyone who owns a share, no matter how small, can go to a judge and request that the entire property be sold at auction.

As the principal drafter of The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA), an act to help protect families from real estate speculators who may seek to acquire a small share of heirs’ property in order to file a partition action and force a sale, Thomas and other supporters have helped 14 states* and the U.S. Virgin Islands enact this act into law. The UPHPA represents the most significant reform to partition law since certain reforms were made to partition laws in the 1800s.

Thomas shared the major successes and challenges he has faced in his efforts to achieve enactment of the UPHPA in many states and other jurisdictions in every region of this country, as well as how the UPHPA would impact the economic security and well-being of both rural and urban communities across the country.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn more about Thomas’ work, visit the Texas A&M University School of Law website at law.tamu.edu.

*As of July 8, 2019, 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted the UPHPA. The governor of Illinois, Missouri, and New York still need to sign the bills the legislatures passed or for the bills to automatically become law if the governors neither sign the bills nor veto them.


RESOURCES:

The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) 

Uniform Law Commission’s most current enactment information 

Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act Bill with some of the additional protections the New York City Bar Association and Thomas W. Mitchell worked to add. 

Thomas W. Mitchell, From Reconstruction to Deconstruction: Undermining Black Landownership, Political Independence and Community Through Partition Sales of Tenancies in Commonhttps://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1544380 (this is considered the seminal article on the issue)

Thomas W. Mitchell, Historic Partition Law Reform: A Game Changer for Heirs’ Property Owners, United States Department of Agriculture, E-Gen Tech. Rep., forthcoming, available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3403088

Thomas W. Mitchell, Reforming Property Law to Address Devastating Land Loss, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2516275 (provides a detailed section by section analysis of the UPHPA)

Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act on the Uniform Law Commission’s website: https://www.uniformlaws.org/committees/community-home?CommunityKey=50724584-e808-4255-bc5d-8ea4e588371d There are very helpful documents on this link under the “Documents” link including a “Legislative Tool Kit.”

The 2001 Associated Press article (part of an award winning three-part series called Torn From the Land) that served as the catalyst for the efforts to develop a model state statute is available at: https://theauthenticvoice.org/mainstories/tornfromtheland/torn_part5/

The Pew Charitable Trusts just published an article about the UPHPA: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2019/06/18/new-laws-help-rural-black-families-fight-for-their-land

Spectrum News NY1 television station initially broadcast a segment on partition action abuses in New York City in mid-March 2019 and then broadcast another segment when the New York legislature passed our bills last Friday. The broadcast on Friday, June 21 can be found at: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2019/06/22/partition-actions-limitation-bill-passes-new-york-state-legislature-after-ny1-investigation (it contains a hyperlink to the initial, mid-March broadcast)

The New Yorker, “Kicked Off the Land” by Lizzie Presser

Episode 23: Indivar “Indi” Dutta-Gupta

Listen to Indivar “Indi” Dutta-Gupta and Anne Price discuss the current administration’s latest proposal to redefine poverty, how race neutral policies impact people of color, and some big ideas to address poverty and income inequality.


Indivar “Indi” Dutta-Gupta is the Co-Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality, where he leads work to develop and advance ideas for reducing domestic poverty and economic inequality, with particular attention to gender and racial equity.

Indi joined Anne Price on the podcast to discuss how the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is attempting to redefine poverty by artificially reducing the poverty line, resulting in millions of working Americans no longer being considered as “poor” or “low income.” This method would take away health coverage, food assistance, and other fundamental assistance from people who are struggling to make ends meet, with the greatest impact on people of color.

Sharing his research, Indi highlighted a few factors that make assistance programs necessary in the United States. One, the economy has never produced the type of jobs it needs on its own – and certainly not with current economic policies. Second, assistance programs are in place to protect and provide a fundamental standard of living, particularly during certain times in people’s lives when they cannot or should not work. Further, many economic security programs are tied to formal employment. This creates additional barriers for people, particularly women of color, working in vital, informal roles, such as caregiving. Indi argues that this work is important to our country as a whole and that everyone should be able to receive support for fundamental needs regardless of formal job classification.

Considering the big and bold ideas that current presidential candidates have proposed to address economic inequality, Indi discussed pathways for racial economic justice, including the need to equalize political power through democracy reforms that support inclusion and equity.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn more about Indi’s work, visit the Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality at georgetownpoverty.org and follow him on Twitter.

Episode 22: Rakeen Mabud

Listen to Rakeen Mabud and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss mandatory arbitration and other features of the 21st century workplace that are decreasing worker power and driving negative economic outcomes for women and people of color.


What and who is an employee in the 21st century? How are fissured workplaces, credentialization, and forced arbitration policies changing the nature of work? And what are workers and advocates doing to push back?

Rakeen Mabud of the Roosevelt Institute joined Jhumpa Bhattacharya on the podcast to dig into these issues and more.

Rakeen is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she works on labor market policies, the future of work, and the role that race and gender play in our economy and society. She is also a standing contributor to Forbes, where she writes about the 21st century economy, and she previously worked on domestic microeconomic policy at the Treasury Department under the Obama administration.

Rakeen joined Jhumpa to share her research on what has become a widespread feature of the labor market: mandatory arbitration, the practice of requiring employees to settle workplace disputes outside of the courts and behind closed doors. For employers, this practice effectively amounts to a “get out of jail free card” for resolving workplace disputes, preventing workers from pursuing justice in the courts or even sharing out about their experience.

Rakeen and Jhumpa discussed this and other troubling characteristics of today’s labor market, from monopsony to the explosive growth of contract workers, that contribute to decreased worker power and have an outsized impact on millennial women and people of color.

Reflecting on these challenges and the path ahead, Rakeen shared her optimism in being part of a growing array of young and diverse voices, from organizers to policy wonks, who are tackling these issues head on with an eye for deep-seated, structural change.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn more about Rakeen’s work, follow her at the Roosevelt Institute, Forbes, and on Twitter.

Episode 21: Surina Khan

Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Surina Khan discuss the power of women-led public policy advocacy while exploring the groundbreaking, intersectional work of the Women’s Foundation of California.


“When you put women—whether we’re cisgender women or trans women—in charge of our own resources, you really begin to see powerful accomplishments and gains,” says Surina Khan, the CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California.

A long-time social sector leader and advocate for women’s and LGBTQ rights, Surina joined Jhumpa Bhattacharya on the podcast to discuss the innovative work of the Women’s Foundation of California, including its transformative Women’s Policy Institute (WIP), which has trained more than 500 grassroots leaders in state and local policy advocacy—leading to 35 (and counting) policy wins for women and girls across the state.

Surina and Jhumpa discussed the history of the Women’s Foundation of California; the past and present philanthropic landscape for funding gender justice work; and powerful case studies of the impact of WPI leaders and alumni on women, girls, and LGBTQ communities in California and beyond.

They also discussed intersectionality as an important framework for advancing multi-issue advocacy and reform, and they highlighted opportunities for California grassroots leaders to get involved at the state and local advocacy levels through the Women’s Policy Institute.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn more about the Women’s Foundation of California, visit womensfoundca.org and follow the foundation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Women’s Policy Institute accepts applications for its respective state and local advocacy programs on an annual basis. Visit womensfoundca.org/policy/wpi/ to learn more.