Where do racial justice and food justice meet? Perhaps at the point where long time farmworkers are able to buy their own land. In the United States today, 83 percent of farmworkers are Latinx but Latinx people own only three percent of the farms. Latinx farmers bring a wealth of knowledge to the US food system in terms of fresh produce, healthy techniques and a cooperative management style born out of years working as laborers-but they face unique challenges accessing the resources and aid they need to buy their land. As a generation of white family farmers ages out of the business of farming, a rising cohort of Latinx workers stands ready to take up the slack. In this episode, Laura receives a virtual tour of one organic farm from its intrepid owners and speaks with Dr. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern about her book "The New American Farmer." She also hears from veteran farm labor organizer Dolores Huerta about how helping Latinx farmers thrive would be good for eaters and the planet.
The U.S. transportation system has long been rife with inequality, making it more difficult for low-income people, people of color, and people with disabilities to get where they need to go. When Covid-19 hit, ticket revenues shrank, workers got sick, and services were cut, even as low-income "essential workers" disproportionately depended on public transit to get to work. In rural communities, where public transit was already sparse and unreliable, owning a car literally became a matter of life and death. In this episode, Laura explores the history; a century ago, fears of a communicable disease helped turn the tide against public transportation for decades. Today, in the midst of another pandemic, how are public transportation systems, rural and urban, going to survive? What alternatives exist? And what if we consider not just new 'modes' of transport and new infrastructure, but the principle of "mobility" itself? Could new systems and better information sharing solve our transportation challenges?
"Defund the police" became a rallying cry in the summer of 2020 as demonstrators flooded streets across the United States to demand an end to police brutality in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of the police. In the months since, hundreds of city councils nationwide have voted to reallocate what amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars away from law enforcement to a broader array of services that support public safety. But these shifts amount to only a fraction of the money we spend on law enforcement-not to mention incarceration and the military. Will the new abolition movement succeed in transforming how we invest public resources? And what really are the economic underpinnings of the system this movement aims to change? Laura investigates the economics of abolition in conversation with historian Vijay Prashad, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah, Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and prison abolitionist Andrea James.
The economic collapse unfolding before our eyes is much bigger than it appears and the solution isn't simply to "build back better." COVID-19 didn't create the challenges we face. It laid bare flaws that have long existed at the foundation of our system. That is particularly true for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. What kind of reconstruction effort would truly reflect the scale of the problem? What should we rebuild and what should we abandon? To answer these questions, Laura interviews Professor Robert Reich, economist Stephanie Kelton, community organizer Esteban Kelly and Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry about their visions for a recovery that will enable us to build a new economy that is equitable, reparative and sustainable.
The Trump years have seen a doubling-down on the immigrants-as-problem narrative in which migrants are accused of bringing gang violence, crime, and disease to the United States, and of "stealing" jobs. Reformers often play into another problem narrative, emphasizing the tragic circumstances that drive people to leave their home countries with little emphasis on individual experiences. In this episode, Laura speaks with Latinx Americans whose work flies in the face of those narratives. They are "unforgetting" histories suppressed, advocating for immigration policy reform, and building community infrastructure in the face of ICE crackdowns and Covid-19. Featuring in-depth conversations with award-winning journalist Roberto Lovato, MacArthur genius award-winner and co-founder of United We Dream, Christina Jimenez, and a visit to the New Immigrant Community Empowerment organization in Jackson Heights, Queens.
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