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Happy New Year 2023

Happy New Year 2023


We return February 6th
Christian McBride: How artists influence people and society through their music and actions —  From James Brown to Winton Marsalis, artists have an incredible amount of influence, impacting all aspects of society and people, including today’s guest Christian McBride. Listen to Ramona’s conversation as Christian talks about the music and the artists who have impacted his life and his development as a musician. According to Christian, example is of utmost importance, because it is your example that creates change; for people follow examples. Christian McBride is an eight-time GRAMMY-winning bassist, composer, and bandleader. He is the Artistic Director of the historic Newport Jazz Festival, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. In addition to artistic directing and consistent touring with his ensembles, he hosts NPR's “Jazz Night in America” and "The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian" on SiriusXM. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Christian now lives in New Jersey. For more information about Christian McBride, visit
Next episode available from Monday, December 12th with guest Christian McBride The Extraordinary Impact of Artists  
Peter Martin: Get a few real customers and learn from them —  Peter Martin is Ramona’s inspiration for starting her podcast (, and today she talks to him about his entrepreneurial journey. Growing from the free “Two Minute Jazz” video podcast to “Open Studio,” an online jazz education platform that currently has over 3000 students from 120 countries in the world, Peter shares his advice on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Peter Martin is an acclaimed jazz pianist, educator, and founder of Open Studio. He was recently featured in the New York Times for his groundbreaking work ( Peter is also co-host of the acclaimed music podcast "You'll Hear It" with Adam Maness. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Peter now makes St. Louis, Missouri his home. To learn more about Peter Martin, Open Studio and his podcast, visit and
Next episode available from Monday, December 5th with guest Peter Martin How do you grow a business?
Take the Leap!

Take the Leap!


Donna King: Do what makes you happy —  In today’s episode, Ramona talks to entrepreneur Donna King, Chief Visionary Officer and Head Designer of P. Sherrod & Co., an Atlanta-based leather lifestyle brand founded in 2009. Donna shares her story of how she “took the leap” and persevered through the challenges of entrepreneurship to build her company. If you are temporarily paralyzed by fear, this episode will inspire you. For all others, you may also be inspired to support the brand. The holidays are here and it is time to purchase your gifts for the special ladies in your life, and the place to begin is P. Sherrod and Co. P. Sherrod and Co. offers an amazing collection of fine Colombian leather handbags, accessories and small leather goods. The brand has been featured in FORBES, UPSCALE and ATLANTA magazines. Beginning in the Spring of 2017, the collection became available in major department stores, BELK and Macy’s. Most recently the Fall collection was spotted by a CBS costume designer and has been a staple for some of the major characters on “The Young & the Restless” on CBS. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Donna now lives in Atlanta. To learn more about Donna King and P. Sherrod and Co., visit
Next episode available from Monday, November 28th with guest Donna King Take the Leap!
Chiquita Lockley and Patrice Gaines: Champions of Restorative Justice —  It is a fact: the United States has the largest incarceration rate in the world. With a system that disproportionately criminalizes and incarcerates the poor and people of color, criminal justice reform has become one of the key social issues of the day. Listen in as Ramona talks to author and journalist, Patrice Gaines and filmmaker, Chiquita Lockley about their inspirational short film, “Masterclass: The Patrice Gaines Story.” The film peels back the layers of America’s (in)justice system while highlighting the need for a shift to restorative justice. The film is adapted from Ms. Gaines bestselling memoir Laughing in the Dark. To learn more about Chiquita Lockley, visit To learn more about Patrice Gaines, visit
Next episode available from Monday, November 21st with guest Chiquita Lockley and Patrice Gaines “Masterclass: The Patrice Gaines Story”
Obery Hendricks: Exposing the hypocrisy of right-wing evangelicals —  The evangelical right has become a powerful force in US politics. Interestingly, many right-wing evangelicals have used the Bible to justify and promote white supremacy and power as well as marginalize and demonize various groups. In this episode Ramona talks to best selling author and Biblical scholar Dr. Obery Hendricks about his newest book Christians Agains Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith. In their discussion Dr. Hendricks uses biblical texts to deconstruct and challenge many beliefs of right-wing evangelicals on key issues of the day such as immigration, homosexuality and abortion, to name a few. Dr. Obery Hendricks is one of the most influential African American biblical scholars in America today. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in Religion and African American and African Diasporic Studies and Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. For more information about Dr. Obery Hendricks and to purchase his book, visit
Next episode available from Monday, November 14th with guest Dr. Obery Hendricks "Christians Against Christianity"
Dr. Cynthia Orozco: Highlighting the life and legacy of an American icon —  Reading biographies is one of the best ways to learn about life and history. In this episode Ramona talks to scholar Dr. Cynthia Orozco about the amazing life and legacy of Alonso S. Perales. Of Alice and San Antonio, Texas, Perales is the principal founder of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the most significant Latinx civil rights organization in the US. Orozco recounts Perales' unknown legacy in her full biography of this significant civil rights activist, US diplomat, and author. Listen to their conversation as Dr. Orozco explains why she believes that Perales was the most important Latinx leader before the 1960s. Originally from Cuero, Texas, Dr. Cynthia Orozco is Professor of History at Eastern New Mexico University, Ruidoso, and author of several award-winning books. To learn more about Dr. Cynthia Orozco and to purchase this important biography about Alonso S. Perales, visit
Next episode available from Monday, November 7th with guest Dr. Cynthia Orozco Alonso S. Perales: Pioneer of Mexican-American Civil Rights
Krysta McGowan and Celene Alexandria: Raising Awareness about Intimate Partner Violence —  Since 1987, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which evolved from what was known as the "Day of Unity.”  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience physical violence by an intimate partner. Moreover, 33% of teens in the US have experienced physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from an intimate partner.  So what can be done to put an end to this?  The first thing is to raise awareness to educate and empower our communities on the red flags as well as the resources available for help. In this episode, Ramona talks with Krysta McGowan, MBA, CIC and Celene Alexandria, MPH, MS, who are both extremely passionate about removing the masks and putting an end to domestic violence.  Listen to hear their stories and what you can do to create change. A native of San Jose, California, Krysta McGowan is Founder and CEO of her own image consulting firm Critique Consulting. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Celene is a health communications specialist. Both now make Atlanta their home. To learn more about Krysta McGowan and Critique Consulting, visit To learn more about Celene Alexandria, visit For more information and resources centered on domestic violence, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Next episode available from Monday, October 31st with guests Krysta McGowan and Celene Alexandria Herstory in Living Color: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Dr. Carolyne Opinde: Empowering organizations through The NGO Whisperer Center for Social Impact — The world is going through a rapid transition. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are faced with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) at the local and international levels. What then is the future of NGOs? Listen to Ramona as she talks to Dr. Carolyne Opinde, Founder of The NGO Whisperer Center For Social Impact. Dr. Opinde shares her work and how the NGO Whisperer is empowering NGOs around the world to prosper and make impact despite VUCA. Dr. Opinde also announces and invites listeners to attend “The Future of NGOs Global Summit,” December 8-9, 2022. The virtual summit encourages NGOs, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, funders, and government agencies to attend, learn and share best practices in advancing social impact. For more information about Dr. Carolyne Opinde, the NGO Whisperer Center for Social Impact, and The Future of NGOs Global Summit visit Book your early bird ticket before October 31, 2022, and receive a 50% discount.
Next episode available from Monday, October 24th with guest Dr. Carolyne Opinde The Future of NGOs Global Summit, December 8-9, 2022
Andrew Baskin: Inspiring students to live to their fullest potential —  Since its publication in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro by Dr. Carter G. Woodson has influenced generations of African American educators, including Ramona’s guest Professor Andrew Baskin. Listen to Ramona's conversation with Professor Baskin as he discusses his work as a college educator and how he has encouraged and compelled students to achieve academic success. Mr. Baskin is Professor Emeritus of African and African American Studies at his alma mater Berea College, in Berea, KY. Having taught at the college for thirty-six years, Professor Baskin is the only faculty member to receive Berea College’s three most prestigious faculty awards for community service, academic advising, and excellence in teaching. To learn more about Professor Andrew Baskin and to support the Andrew and Symerdar Baskin Student Research Fund named in his honor, visit
Next episode available from Monday, October 17th with guest Andrew Baskin Challenging the “Mis-education" of African Americans
Welcome to Season 3

Welcome to Season 3


We're looking forward to starting Season 3 of The Empowerment Zone on October 3rd, 2022. Please tune in and subscribe to ensure you won't miss any new episodes. Ramona Houston
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