Episode 6: Aurora Martin


Listen to Anne Price and Aurora Martin discuss PopUp Justice, a community building and social innovation collaborative with branches in social justice, technology, art, and popular culture.

Aurora Martin, former Executive Director of Columbia Legal Services in Washington State and an inaugural 2017 American Bar Association Innovation Fellow, recently left a long career working for justice in legal aid to launch a new social innovation startup that sits at the intersection of technology, art, justice, and popular culture.

Aurora joined Insight Center President Anne Price to discuss this new venture, PopUp Justice, which offers a bold, creative vision of social justice and innovation grounded in community, culture, and technology.

Reflecting on her professional and personal experiences from nearly two decades in the legal aid field, Aurora discussed the motivations behind PopUp Justice, the power and potential of digital technology and social collaboration, and the need to re-envision justice as a community-centered experience shaped by culture and communication, not just the inner workings of the legal system.

“Having worked for justice as part of a statewide legal aid program for many years, I realized I wanted to imagine justice differently – beyond the courtrooms, beyond the halls of power, and into the communities we serve,” said Aurora.

She also described her work on the Rural American Digital (RAD) Lab, an initiative of PopUp Justice, Heritage University, and Whitman College that seeks to harness digital tools and innovations to invest in rural communities, amplify hidden voices and talent, and spark a shift in our national dialogue.

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

To learn more about PopUp Justice, connect with Aurora Martin on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, and stay tuned for the launch of her new website: popupjustice.org.

Episode 5: Darrick Hamilton


Listen to Anne Price and Darrick Hamilton dissect the myths and misperceptions regarding the racial wealth gap and discuss potential policy solutions for addressing racial economic inequity.

For this episode of Hidden Truths, Insight Center President Anne Price welcomed Darrick Hamilton, stratification economist and professor of economics and urban policy at the New School for Social Research, to take a hard look at the path, pitfalls, and way forward for efforts to close the racial wealth gap.

Delving into the key drivers of racial economic disparities, Anne and Darrick discussed public policy, intergenerational wealth transfer, the changing nature of work, and how prevailing narratives draw attention away from the structural factors behind racial wealth differences. They also considered bold policy ideas like a Federal Job Guarantee, baby bonds, an economic bill of rights, and other proposals that could foster systemic change for racial economic equity.

“It is a moral imperative for us to try to facilitate a society that allows all individuals to have the capacity to build up their economic security and also to define what is important to them,” said Darrick.

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

Click here to learn more about Darrick Hamilton’s research, including his joint work on baby bonds and a Federal Job Guarantee with William Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.

Click here to read the June 2017 research brief, Returning to the Promise of Full Employment: A Federal Job Guarantee in the United States, co-authored by Darrick Hamilton of The New School for Social Research, William Darity, Jr. and Mark Paul of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, and Anne E. Price of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

Click here to read Insight Center President Anne Price’s related post, Where We Went Wrong with the Racial Wealth Gap.

Episode 4: Aleah Rosario


Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Aleah Rosario discuss the CalSAC Leadership Development Institute and the value of diversifying leadership to support and advance communities of color.

Aleah Rosario is the Director of Capacity Building Programs at the California School-Age Consortium (CalSAC)where she supports professionals and organizations in providing quality and affordable out-of-school time programs. She has also served CalSAC as an endorsed trainer, project leader, and chapter leader, and she is a graduate of CalSAC’s Leadership Development Institute (LDI) for Emerging Leaders of Color.

The mission of LDI is to equip emerging leaders of color in the early education and out-of-school time field with the training and experience they need to advance into higher leadership positions within their organization. This field includes educational programs like expanded learning, after-school programs, child care, early learning programs, and summer programs. LDI hopes to create more responsive programs, policies, and services that reflect the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the young people who attend these programs.

Established in 2012, LDI specifically works to support and strengthen leadership capacity and opportunities for people of color in order to address the stark disparity in racial and ethnic representation at executive levels in their field and the greater social sector. We see, across the nonprofit field of the United States, there is a leadership gap,” shares Rosario. “I can count, often times on one hand, the number of people in these positions that are people of color. Only 16% of nonprofit executive leadership positions are held by people of color and only 14% of nonprofit boards are made up of people of color.”

Rosario and her colleagues at CalSAC know firsthand the value and benefits of diversifying leadership to better reflect, connect with, and support communities and constituencies. We know that the folks who are most likely to be recipients of these services are mostly people of color,” explained Rosario. “Here’s our huge opportunity – diversify the field and leadership within these programs. The people who are working in these programs, serving the children and families who attend these programs, often times represent the students. They all live and work in the same community.

LDI hopes to empower its graduates to diversify the broader workforce and both support and inspire younger generations with leaders who look like them and share similar backgrounds and experiences. “[As leaders] we’re making decisions that really impact the resources of their program, the policies that impact how their programs are run,” said Rosario. “If we’re not seeing the representation of the people that we’re serving in these decision-making processes…are we really serving the young people in the ways they need to be served?”

CalSAC worked closely with LeaderSpring to create the curriculum for the multifaceted program LDI provides. A key component of the program’s training helps participants understand the larger systemic forces behind the racial and economic inequities. We can’t create these trainings and opportunities in a vacuum; we need to collaborate and understand how they [power and oppression] play out in people’s lives and working experiences,” explained Rosario. “In order to combat the discrimination gap and challenge our current systems, we must understand power, privilege, and oppression. This is just as important as understanding the difficult leadership and management skills they are learning at LDI.”

As an alumna of LDI’s inaugural cohort, Rosario shared that a huge part of the program’s success is that it understands and accepts each participant’s own experiences as people of color, which in turn prove highly beneficial in their work with constituents. We were people who needed and attended these programs growing up, so we can often times have a greater effect on those were serving. We’ve been here before. We know what has held us back from reaching the higher-up leadership positions.  

Throughout the year-long fellowship, fellows are encouraged to believe in themselves and to recognize that they already have untapped skills and rich life experiences that can support their work in leadership positions. “For many it may have actually started by having a family or overcoming a challenge that came their way, and having to adapt and step up to the plate,” shared Rosario. They are trained and led through many scenarios, including the process of negotiating salary increases and their next upward career move. In these and other ways, the program allows for fellows who are feeling burnout to recommit themselves to their work in the social sector, often at a higher level that they might not have known or believed they could reach.

“A previous LDI fellow, who before starting the fellowship was on the verge of leaving the field completely, created new connections that provided a sense of re-commitment, belief, and community through networking, support, and peer-to-peer coaching,” shared Rosario. “After the fellowship, they actually applied for and earned a promotion within their organization. This promotion led to a position on the organization’s executive team and now they even sit on various larger leadership committees.”

This unique leadership development program would not be made possible without the aid of numerous supporters, many of whom are fellow LDI alumni who affirm their strong belief in the program by contributing to it and ultimately sustaining it. As funding in this and so many nonprofit areas can be difficult to secure, CalSAC appreciates any type of support and financial investment as it strives to empower people of color to advance their work and roles within their organizations and communities.

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

For more information and to view various professional development resources for the early education and out-of-school time field, visit the CalSAC website. For those interested in applying to join the 2018 LDI cohort, applications will be accepted starting in fall 2017 and the fellowship will begin in January 2018.

Episode 3: Alicia Walters


Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Alicia Walters discuss Echoing Ida and its work to amplify the voices and hidden truths of Black women and non-binary people. 

Alicia Walters is the co-founder of Echoing Ida, a national program of Forward Together, that helps amplify the voices of Black women and non-binary people. Inspired by the work of civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells, Walters began Echoing Ida in 2012 to position Black women in media as the experts they are. “In many ways, Black women were at the bottom of the heap – when it came to health, when it came to wealth,” said Walters as she described how the project came about. “And when you turned on the TV or listened to the radio we weren’t being called upon as experts in our own lives.”

Echoing Ida teaches Black women how to hone in on their lived experiences and expertise to become change makers and go-to thought leaders. Echoing Ida writers, or Idas, draw on their distinctive perspectives to provide effective and trusted analysis on issues impacting their communities.

“We know as Black women and non-binary writers we come from a really strong legacy of truth tellers, of freedom fighters, who busted open and exposed issues like Ida B. Wells did with lynching,” said Walters. “We wanted to honor that legacy and also show that it’s not just a legacy, it’s living…There are those of us who continue in this work and are committed to being truth tellers for our communities.

Fueled by its growing network of more than 25 writers, Echoing Ida has published over 275 articles through more than 65 media outlets across the country. Idas not only publish articles, analysis, and anecdotes; they also present at conferences and provide trainings to other organizations to spread the mission and spirit of truth telling across diverse groups and communities. “This isn’t about exclusivity,” says Walters. “This is about making sure that this legacy is embodied by as many people as possible – of every race, of every gender – to be exposing these hidden truths.”

Digging into the root causes of inequity in the U.S., Walters discussed how many public policies, from education to welfare reform, policing, and sentencing, are based in anti-Black racism and efforts to keep Black communities poor, undereducated, and repressed. By giving voice to these and other vulnerable communities, Idas, and others like them, can not only expose these hidden motives and mechanisms of power – they can identify solutions that serve their communities as well as the common good.

“We miss so much of the story and so much of the solution…when we exclude folks who really live at this intersection of race, gender, income, economic status, immigration status – when we miss those intersections, we miss very real communities that are deeply impacted,” said Walters. “When the solutions come from those places, they actually benefit everyone. We often say when Black people win, everybody wins. And winning is not in terms of this scarcity model. It’s really in terms of what does it take for those who society deems to be at the bottom to actually thrive? What does it mean when Black trans women thrive? What does that open up for everyone else?”

Rather than excluding or marginalizing certain groups socially and economically, communities that draw on their full resources through inclusivity, equal opportunity, and investment can become centers of prosperity rather than struggle. Empowering the hidden voices in these communities to share their truths and expertise can be the first step to actualizing this vision.

While Walters is encouraged by the growing visibility of Black women and non-binary voices in today’s media landscape, she stressed that the challenge remains in translating that increasing (but still unequal) visibility into real influence and power.

“We still have a ways to go when it comes to who our elected officials are, who are people in places of power, what decisions we are actually able to influence, so that [our work] goes beyond punditry. It’s not just about being a talking head; it’s actually about putting forth solutions and having the power and agency to enact those solutions.”

On a personal level, Walters described her day-to-day work, and that of fellow Idas, as a constant struggle against stereotypes, stigmas, and self-doubts – but one that is ultimately validating and even healing. As they negotiate these barriers and fears through their work, Idas can increasingly shift and take control of the narrative for themselves and their communities.

Walters would like to see her fellow Idas, and the advocacy space as a whole, further reframe the narrative around Black women, non-binary people, and other marginalized groups in a way that asserts their humanity and vision rather than defining them through oppression or struggle.

“We’re both uncovering what’s missing from the conversation and also asserting these beautiful narratives of who we are that other people can connect to and feel represented by and breakthrough some of the silencing or isolation or shame or stigma that comes along with that.”

In these ways and others, Echoing Ida is drawing on the strengths and perspectives of Black women and non-binary writers to provide thought leadership in both the policy realm and the cultural realm – all driven by a fundamental commitment to giving voice to hidden truths.

The original Ida would, without a doubt, be proud.

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

Echoing Ida is a program of national organization, Forward Together. You can learn more about Echoing Ida by visiting their website, echoingida.org, and following them on Twitter. Be sure to join their mailing list to become part of their truth teller network and stay up-to-date on activities and opportunities, including their recruitment of a new cohort of Idas for 2018!

Episode 2: Dr. David J. Pate, Jr


Listen to Anne Price and David Pate discuss his research on low-income Black men, toxic stress, and the social welfare system.

David Pate, an Associate Professor at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is an expert on low-income Black men, fatherhood, and child support debt. David researches the challenges Black men face in the social welfare system and how they make ends meet.

Most recently, Pate is examining the impact of  “toxic stress” on Black men. This stress results from early traumatic experiences or life changing events that have a lasting, negative impact throughout adulthood. “You’re walking around with your past childhood experiences that never got attended to as an adult,” explains Pate.

As part of his research, Pate interviewed 200 Black men and examined their physical and mental health, access to health care, adverse childhood experiences, and other factors. After the interviews were conducted, he analyzed their profiles in respect to ten conventional components of adverse childhood experiences that contribute to toxic stress; five components relate to issues of child abuse and neglect and five pertain to family dysfunction.

“If a man has four or more components present, they are more at risk for incarceration, low employment, and often times have a harder time maintaining a stable life. We are also seeing a direct correlation between these ten components and stress when it comes to paying child support.”

Based on this research, Pate describes how existing public policies do not address the root challenges that these men face – the inequalities they were born into, their often traumatic experiences as children and teens, and the discrimination, oppression, and other challenges that compound these factors and greatly hinder their social and economic well-being as adults.

For example, David explained how “our current social welfare policies only support the primary caretaker of the child, which makes it difficult for the father to really support their child.”

Many of the men that were interviewed shared their desire to financially support their families and be the breadwinner. However, most are making less than $12,000 and cannot pay the monthly or weekly child support payments. The resulting fines, debt, and other sanctions they face for their inability to pay only exacerbate their problems, without actually helping the mother and child. “Often times the mother will be needed to support not only their child, but the father of her children too. Punishing the father doesn’t help the family, mother of their children, or generations to come.”

Pate also shared a story that highlights the discrimination within our current social welfare system and what he referred to as “state sanctioned violence” that can further trigger toxic stress:

“A Black man wanted to accompany the mother of his unborn child to her prenatal visit. However, due to the policies that are in currently in place, the mother’s transportation to the appointment was paid for, but not the father’s. Thus, the father had to walk to the prenatal visit… What message are we sending to fathers who are poor? We want you involved with your child, but we’re not going to support you? This doesn’t make rational sense.”

Currently, in the U.S., Black males face a disproportionately high unemployment rate. “We as a country haven’t done really well to provide a safety net for Black men and women,” explained Pate. “The U.S. tells men ‘Go out and get a job.’ But in reality, when these men do go and look for jobs in their community, they may have to compete with over 400 other men looking for that same job.”

In considering ways to address these issues, Pate stressed the need for greater investment in education, more research and understanding of how public policies interact and affect individuals and communities, and, on a fundamental level, greater compassion and appreciation of the human struggle at the root of these challenges.

“I think often we don’t give a human side to Black men who are particularly poor, who are experiencing challenges with the criminal justice system as well as with their employment opportunities, and who may be seen as someone who is just being lazy, and not working hard, and having [lots of] children, which is not the case for the majority of these men,” explained Pate. “These men start out in a space that is less than a lot of people, and until we start recognizing the humanity of all human beings, and particularly Black males…things aren’t going to change.”

As he looks to shine more light on these issues, Pate is excited to begin two upcoming research studies about violence prevention in the city of Milwaukee and the levels of toxic stress in Black men when they are given employment opportunities and benefits.

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

Dr. David J. Pate, Jr. is also the founder and operations manager for the Center for Family Policy and Practice, is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Responsible Father Research Network, and is an Affiliated Associate Professor of the Institute for Research on Poverty.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. David Pate and his research, view his recent publications below and his faculty profile at the University of Milwaukee.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, Health, and Employment: A Study of Men Seeking Job Services

Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

November 2016, Volume 61, pp 23-34

The Color of Debt: An Examination of Social Networks, Sanctions, and Child Support Enforcement Policy

Journal: Race and Social Problems

March 2016, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 116–135

Episode 1: Jahmil Lacey


Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Jahmil Lacey discuss TRAPMedicine, a community-driven public health initiative designed to create accessible pathways to health literacy, services, and care.

Jahmil Lacey, a public health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, is working to address health disparities among African American men in underserved locations around the Bay Area. A team of physicians, researchers, public health advocates, and community organizations have all come together to launch a new health initiative that cares for people, not profits.

Lacey’s effort is called TRAPMedicine, which leverages the cultural capital of barbershops as an upstream strategy for addressing disparities in chronic disease and mental health among African American men and boys. Culture and trust are the two pillars of this initiative and what we need to focus on to achieve equity,” says Lacey. From his previous experiences managing school-based health centers and running high school youth programs, he has learned that in order to see sustainable improvements the community must have trust in your understanding of their culture and, most importantly, in you.

Understanding that men and their barber have a deep bond, Lacey plans to launch this initiative in barber shops across the Bay Area. If a Black man trusts you with his hair line, they will trust you with their health,” chuckles Lacey. “I’ve always found [the barber shop] to be a unique, safe space for men to talk about everything, from the Warriors to safe sex.  

TRAPMedicine was designed to close the gap between the patient and the health care provider, with the barber acting as a convenor. We’re going to focus on screening for conditions that we know are prevalent among black men – diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and mental health. Lacey hopes to provide not only upfront care and screenings but, most importantly, follow-up care and information to those who need it most. Lacey believes that this is where you can lose trust – by not offering follow-up appointments or not providing more information later on to those in need.”

On December 31, 2016, TRAPMedicine will officially launch the pilot program at Legends Barber Shop in East Oakland. On this day, members of the community can receive free health screenings from 10am to 4pm. The barber shop will also offer free haircuts for people who participate in the screenings. Food will be provided.

The group plans to provide various support groups to Bay Area barber shops to further engage community members in nonjudgmental conversations. People are more likely to be influenced by their peers than by a doctor,” explains Lacey. By operating outside the walls of a hospital, TRAPMedicine will encourage men of color to build a community around health.

In these ways, Lacey’s initiative seeks to not only address health disparities, but the underlying economic inequities that give rise to them. It’s stressful to be poor. This disease creates disease,” says Lacey. “Broadly speaking, I hope we can create and develop safe spaces for men to support each other, to share information about employment, mental health, manhood, and to ultimately increase health literacy in these communities.”

TRAPMedicine is looking for volunteers who have experience in the medical field or public health research, and who have experience working with people of color. If you would like to learn more or get involved, email Jahmil Lacey at jahmil.lacey@gmail.com or trapmedicine@gmail.com. To stay-up-to-date about this initiative, you can follow TRAPMedicine on Facebook and Instagram.

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

UPDATE: On December 31, 2016, Jahmil Lacey of TRAPMedicine – in partnership with the Alameda County Public Health Department, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Roots Community Health Center – organized a Community Listening Session and Health Screening event to officially launch the pilot program at Legends Barber Shop in East Oakland.

The event was attended by over 60 people. During the listening session, healthcare providers from Roots provided on-site blood pressure and blood sugar screenings while barbers provided free haircuts to the attendees. The event was capped off by a guided community forum on the health impacts of poverty, Oakland’s housing crisis, and law enforcement interactions.

Attendees overwhelmingly supported the idea of continuing the effort, and TRAPMedicine is in the process of organizing follow-up activities in partnership with Legends Barbershop.

Jahmil Lacey is a public health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco; the manager of a housing facility for young adults with chronic mental health issues; and an Insight Center for Community Economic Development Board member.