Claim Ownership


Author: Kimberly J. Miller

Subscribed: 1Played: 7


Interviews with leaders, activists and people from all walks of life who are transforming America into a more equitable nation... and ourselves in the process. Hosted by Kimberly J. Miller. Find more interviews, articles and essays on our website: Re-Construction.US.
17 Episodes
One hallmark of the Trump administration was a rise in visibility and his support of white nationalism.  Even before his insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, the year 2020 saw a record number of such attacks in the U.S.  Then last week, the Department of Homeland Security warned that "the United States faced a growing threat from 'violent domestic extremists' emboldened by the attack" on January 6th.  The former president pushed a false narrative of rioting people of color in American cities to win votes through fear mongering.  But while hate crime by white supremacists has increased nationally, a closer look at the facts on the ground has consistently revealed that large cities with highly diverse populations have actually seen a drop in such incidents.California's Los Angeles County, for example, boasts over 10 million residents.  It also has one of the most diverse populations in the United States.  Yet over the last 20 years, hate crimes have actually dropped by nearly half.  2019 saw only 524 reported incidents.  This is a success story that needs to be told, including lessons that might apply in other communities across the country.Today's guest, Marshall Wong has served as a Senior Human Relations Consultant with the L.A. County Human Relations Commission since 1999. He is the Commission’s Hate Crime Coordinator and the principal author of the agency’s annual Hate Crime Report. Marshall is a native of Los Angeles and also staffs a countywide coalition, the Network Against Hate Crime, and provides training for law enforcement and service providers.  In this interview he shares insights into what drives and reduces these crimes in our communities.Watch on YouTube:  Marshall Wong 
This week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden put climate change back on the U.S. agenda --  and none too soon!  History has shown that climate change has a direct impact on societies and even the rise and fall of civilizations.  In fact, most of the crises America has faced in the last year – a pandemic, economic implosion and massive civil unrest – can all be traced back in part to damage that global warming is already causing.A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to teach high school geography.  It’s not taught like it was when I was in school in the 1970’s.  Now we look at how history and society interact with our physical environment.  That year I came across the incredible work of today’s guest, Professor Brian Fagan, whose books on the effect of climate change has profoundly influenced the rise and fall of societies throughout history.  In this interview he shares his insights from these important works.Fagan is professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an archaeological generalist, with expertise in the broad issues of human prehistory.  You’ll also get a preview of his new book, which is due out later this year.  It promises to be another masterpiece on past climate change and the implications for our future.
On today’s podcast, I will be discussing the events on January 6th with two previous guests: Teressa Raiford of Don’t Shoot Portland and Steve Pierson from Swing Left.  I asked both of these progressive leaders to join me to discuss what can be done in the days and weeks ahead and how, most importantly we can work together strategically to combat the real threat of fascism that now lies before us.Those of us who believe in the ideal of an equitable America and the democratic process cannot allow ourselves to get lost in the storm.  There are some things that we can all support and take action on now.  We can write letters to congress supporting Trump’s removal and prosecution for sedition.  We can talk to our friends, family and neighbors urging them to do the same; and we can look support unity.  Unity among all progressive and democratic organizations in standing up together to oppose the tidal wave of white supremacy President Trump has leveraged to create a cult of supporters.  People have been convinced that his remaining in office – even as a dictator - is preferable to the inauguration of President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris.  Both of whom were duly elected by the majority of the people of the United States. Click HERE to sign Adam Schiff’s letter.Watch this podcast on YouTube HERE.
It’s January, and people all over the world are celebrating the end of the year 2020.  It was harrowing for so many reasons, not the least of which was our year with the Coronavirus.  Thousands of American families who have lost loved ones and millions lost their jobs too. But there is hope on the horizon as millions of Americans have started receiving the new vaccines.  Three options have already been released and a fourth is on it’s way.The speed with which our scientific community has identified the virus and developed these vaccines is unprecedented.  Never before have researchers been able to conduct thousands of tests in such a short period of time.  In fact, it may be that the biggest impact over the long term will be the revolution in research science that made this unprecedented speed possible.Today’s Guest, Dr. Thomas Hartung is the Director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), a laboratory for developmental neurotoxicity research based on genomics and metabolomics at Johns Hopkins University.  Hartung has been leading a movement within the world of research to move away from animal testing and utilize new technologies that can save millions of dollars and lead to faster testing with more accurate results.  I’ve asked him to join me today to share his insights on this revolution in a field that has been highly reliant on old methodologies.Don't forget to like, share and subscribe! 
It's the end of 2020, a year in which many of our nation's deepest problems and divisions have taken center stage.   The coronavirus may be new, but the environmental issues that helped create it (and the politics that unleashed it's massive spread across our country) is not.  Our economy, social systems, healthcare and every individual's sense of security have been deeply damaged this year.  In response, we've seen historic levels of protest, voting and violence.  It seems that no one is satisfied with the status quo.The question is: how do we move forward together?As this podcast has evolved and grown, I've realized that we can use these interviews to answer that very question.  There is every indication that 2021 will be another tough year.  No single person (or president) can fix the mess that we are in.  But as always, challenge means opportunity.  It will take the energy, analysis and activism of everyone to save our country and our planet.  Today's guest is an expert on all three.Richard Heinberg is an acclaimed writer and leader in the Resilience movement.  His landmark work The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality provides a highly accessible and engaging analysis of the financial and environmental issues that have converged to create our current crisis.  This interview was recorded in October as fires were raging in California and the elections were just around the corner, but the discussion was so comprehensive and timely that we saved it to kick off the new year.  The hour includes an overview of key concepts like no-growth economics, peak oil and the resilience movement within the context of BLM and the urgent need to build unifying movement for all Americans toward a sustainable, equitable future.One final note: We have exciting interviews with progressive leaders and activists coming next year and want to get to word out to as many people as possible. If you like this podcast and the work you read at Re-Construction.US, please pass it on and help us grow our audience.  You can also help by rating & subscribing to the podcast, our YouTube channel and signing up for the weekly updates on our website.Thank you for your support and enjoy the interview.Onward and upward in 2021!~Kimberly J. Miller 
For decades, Nieeta Presley has been building community and making change.  As the Executive Director of Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) in St. Paul, Minnesota.  She has led numerous programs aimed at empowering people throughout the African American community.Now, on the eve of her retirement, she spoke with host Kimberly Miller about her organization's accomplishments: most notably the completion of a multi-unit apartment and commercial building that helped transform the corner of Dale and University Avenues.   Her story is one of action, neighborhood empowerment and entrepreneurship.  It's one that all activists and anyone dreaming of a better future can learn from.
The clock is ticking...  and President Trump knows it.  With less than 30 days to go before the 2020 election, we are on the verge of turning the political process back in the direction of equity, honor, truth and justice.  With every American life on the line due to the  coronavirus pandemic, none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.  Today's guest Steve Pierson, is a leader of the training and media teams with Swing Left and joined Kim to discuss their strategy to increase democratic and progressive power by defeating Trump and looking beyond the presidency to other critical races.  Swing Left is a national organization inspired by the election of Donald Trump in 2016 to support democratic candidates across the U.S.  But the conversation reached far beyond these immediate goals to a broader discussion of how we got to this moment in our country and the differences in how black and white people view the events of 2020.  It's a must-hear interview with plenty to consider and great opportunities to get involved and do your part now.
We are all feeling the stress these days and for many of us it has taken a toll.  Whether it's teaching kids from home, trying to work and stay safe or national politics, there are a lot of things on our plates.  Sometimes stress can lead people to find new support systems, such as the boom in use of Zoom for all kinds of social activities.  Another option that many have leaned on even more heavily is substance use.  Consumption of alcohol and other drugs has skyrocketed since the lock down and reports of increased domestic violence are now coming to light.  While not everyone will find themselves in trouble, it's important to know what to do if you have concerns about your own use or that of a loved one. Today's guest is John Magnuson, Executive Director of MARRCH and an expert in the field of substance use disorders and addiction recovery.  In this interview, he shares his wealth of experience in helping people determine whether they have an issue that may need more attention.  There are so many new support opportunities these days and no need for anyone to feel shame or to face any stigma if they reach out for help.  In fact, the field of recovery has evolved significantly in recent years, resulting in a wide range of support options for individuals and their families - many of which started right here in the State of Minnesota. 
This summer, the world exploded in protest after we began marching in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.  What started here sprang from the outrage of people from all walks of life at witnessing such a callous taking of a human life.  Many have been inspired by the community organizing and activism that has taken off in Minnesota, other parts of the country and around the world.  But while the summer’s activities were triggered by a single event, Minneapolis’ African American community has a long and proud history of activism, community organizing and making real change.For over 100 years, the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP has been organizing for equity and equality for African Americans in the city and throughout the Midwest.  Today, as we head into the fall elections, a new team of young activists has taken the helm and are now working hard to help Get Out The Vote in November.  Today’s guest Angela Rose Meyers is one of the core members of this dedicated and inspiring team.  In this interview she shares some of that history, their strategy for getting out the vote, and some insights on the very positive effect of their community organizing – some of it in partnership with the Minneapolis Police Department.  Here are specific opportunities for all of us to do more than vote… you can make the difference by helping the NAACP get voters out from now to election day.
As environmental issues have moved closer to center stage, the connection between what we eat and how it's produced has been a larger topic of conversation.  Recent studies have challenged the notion that beef is necessarily bad for our bodies.  At the same time, the impact of the mass production of beef on the environment is seen as a real threat to the future of our planet. Those who choose a vegan diet are equally, if not more concerned with how animals are treated throughout the process of meat production as well as dairy.  Gwenna Hunter is one of the many thousands of people who "woke up" to the issue of animal cruelty and decided to do something about it.  In today's interview she shares her journey from personal change to activism and how she has gone about spreading the word through her position as an outreach coordinator with and two new groups she has started online: Vegans for Black Lives Matter and VegansofLA.
"I don't want everyone to vote." declared Paul Weyrich, a conservative leader who helped spearhead the conservative political movement in the U.S.  "As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections goes up, quite candidly, as the voting populace goes down."  With election day only ten weeks away, it's time to get serious and get busy.  Between the coronavirus pandemic and increasing voter suppression from nearly every angle, the risks of an election unfairly skewed in the Republican's favor increases daily.  Casting and protecting everyone's democratic right to vote is paramount.  If you have wondered how you can help get out the vote and stay healthy and safe from Covid-19, today's guest has the perfect solution.  Scott Forman is the founder and director of VOTEFWD.ORG, a new campaign focused on increasing voter participation among those less likely to vote by writing personal letters.   It's simple, it's brilliant and it works.  In this interview we discuss a bit of the history and threat of increased voter suppression - particularly for people of color - and how you can be a part of his campaign to send 10 million letters to voters this fall. 
It's late August and for millions of students, that means going back to school.  But because of the Coronavirus, parents, students and teachers across the country are facing some truly harrowing choices.  Go back to the classroom or stay home and do our best long distance?  Should my school try a hybrid approach?  Differing approaches in each state are also adding to the confusion.  Here in my home state of Minnesota, for example, the governor is taking it county by county.   In person learning is moving forward where infection rates are lower.  But reopening schools now could ignite an explosion of infection because it's happening just as the pandemic is moving into rural America. Neither children nor teachers are immune from Covid-19.  Therefore Trump's policy could be a death sentence for many teachers and students alike.  It's a short term solution, but the consequences of reopening schools too soon could have terrible long term consequences.  We could loose a generation of teachers.  The argument to reopen is primarily economic.  We need to get the economy going and help people get back to work so that means getting kids must go back to school.  But this raises an important question: Do we really want to put the burden of this health and economic crisis on the shoulders of American teachers?Today's interview addresses all of these questions with an educator who has looked at all angles.  Gina McKuen has been a California middle school teacher for 27 years and knows all about what happens when you put 30+ kids together in a classroom.  She joins us today to share her perspective as a teacher and as the mother of two second-graders.   Her family's journey highlights what is happening in homes across our country.  With candor, wit and wisdom she describes her fears about what may happen in the coming months and alternative approaches that could save the lives of many students and teachers alike.   
Since the murder of George Floyd in late May, people from all over the country have marched to express their outrage and to support the Black Lives Matter movement.  In Portland, Oregon, these rallies have continued peacefully throughout the summer until just a few weeks ago when President Trump made good on his threat and sent in a new team of federal officers.  These forces joined other largely unidentified "security forces" that appeared in the city just weeks earlier.  They threw tear gas and instigated much (though not all) of the violence that erupted in the days that followed.  It took some time and the filing of several law suits, but local leaders were able to get these unidentified federal forces to back off and leave the city.  However, this is by no means the end of the conflict.  One particularly ominous tactic used by these "officers" as well as other new "private security" teams is the kidnapping of people directly off the streets.  For several weeks now, protesters have been removed from streets by force, thrown into vans without seats and then dropped off at police stations by unidentified personnel -- often in unmarked vehicles.  Similar incidents have occurred in other U.S. cities during rallies or even during the day with no march in sight.  It is now clear that our president is willing to go to virtually any length to ensure his re-election.  Trump has threatened to send these same officers -- a separate federal force that he has created and controls -- to create havoc in other democrat-leaning American cities.  Such actions by a siting U.S. president are unheard of and may mark the beginning of a much darker phase of Trump's strategy.  This should be of great concern to everyone who believes in democracy.  Today's interview is with Teressa Raiford, one of the key leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in Portland.  She is the founder of Don't Shoot Portland, an organization she founded in 2015 after loosing her nephew to gun violence.  Teressa and her colleagues are doing phenomenal work and have created strategies and tools that can be effective for organizing in other American cities to move the fight for equity forward in your community.  One thing is clear: President Trump will go to any lengths to win re-election, even if he destroys American democracy in the process.  Once you have listened to this interview, please pass it on. 
When the word spread about the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Dax-Devlon Ross began to receive calls and messages from many of his white friends.  Like other African Americans, he wondered how best to respond to these friends -- men that he cared about -- who did not always respond to the murder of another African American man in this way.  He decided to write a letter, which resulted in his article "To My White Male Friends of a Certain Age".  It is a powerful piece written from the heart about what they have in common, where their lives differ, and what it takes to bridge that divide together.  In this interview, he has some excellent suggestions to offer us all including the need to end the "culture of disbelief", for white Americans to own their own pain and how we can all reach out and make a difference with our own spheres of influence.  Dax-Devlon's discussion with host Kimberly J. Miller was also from the heart and is sure to offer good food for though and ideas for action to our listeners.You can find his original article as published in the Non-Profit Quarterly here.  
"Your social media activity may be preventing you from finding a job in ways you’ve never imagined."  So begins the article written by our guest Alex Marcus about how some job applicant screening technology is designed to negatively flag people of color and our supporters.  As the leader of recruiting for a large Social Service agency in New York, Mr. Marcus was asked to conduct a social media screening of applicants for a top-level position.  The reports he received were disturbing, to say the least.  In this interview he shares about what he discovered, how that might impact you as a job seeker and what we can all do to protect ourselves from software that could reject your application before any human being ever sees it.  Alex is strongly committed to anti-racism work at the office as well as in his personal life and shares some insights from his own journey.  You can find the article which prompted my interview in  
We're all feeling it. Between the Coronavirus pandemic, skyrocketing unemployment and outrage following the murder of George Floyd, stress and depression are on the rise. African Americans and Asian Americans are at greatest risk these days, but we are by no means alone. How do we all take care of ourselves when it seems like every bit of news keeps going from bad to worse? This week's guest is Margaret Benson Thompson,B.A., M.A., M.A.*, a therapist and family counselor who specializes in working with people of color and others who care about what is happening in and beyond their own communities. Margaret has gained an outstanding reputation by focusing on the trauma caused by racism and oppression in addition to our internal personal struggles. She's got some great advice for all of us including some simple steps that can make a world of difference in managing our stress everyday.*Margaret Benson Thompson, B.A., M.A., M.A., was raised in a multi-generational, mixed class African American family in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. She has been a licensed psychotherapist since 1994; informed by multicultural feminism's, socially just theories, queer activism, relational theories, Qigong, and Zen Buddhism. She has a private practice, teaches at Palo Alto University, and supervises with Albany Unified School District. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most precious endeavor (and passion) has been raising a free Black young person in the current climate of the United States.
Introducing the RE-CONSTRUCTION.US podcast!For our audience who enjoys reading essays and stories we now have interviews available for your listening pleasure.  Each week we will feature activists, artists, community and thought leaders on a wide range of subjects on making change in America and transforming ourselves in the process.  For our first interview, we are honored to have Kent Wong, a labor leader in the City of Los Angeles who is speaking on the intersection between unions and the Black Lives Matter movement.  You will also hear his description of the current debate about whether police unions should be allowed to remain part of the rest of the labor movement.  There are exciting things happening in today’s labor movement that Mr. Wong, who has been deeply involved in this movement for over 40 years has generously shared with Kimberly Miller in this podcast.  We hope you enjoy it.
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store