DiscoverBuild the Change
Build the Change

Build the Change

Author: ActBlue

Subscribed: 15,972Played: 15,560


Build the Change is a show about the people at the center of progress hosted by internationally renowned gender non-conforming writer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon. We're on a journey across the country, searching for stories about everyday people working together to build something bigger than themselves: Real change. From kelp farmers in Alaska, to LGBTQ students in Appalachia, to candidates in states with razor thin party margins, you'll see what it takes to build a grassroots movement for progressive change—and maybe get inspired to make some change of your own.

Created in partnership with ActBlue.
9 Episodes
More and more, it feels like our country is offering its citizens the care they need to survive, but not to thrive. At the same time, we're witnessing an increase of attempts to repeal health coverage laws like the Affordable Care Act, and privatize programs like Medicaid. This has left the disability community at the forefront of the fight to protect and expand our governments’ care resources. So, what happens when you get tired of waiting around for change and you decide to take matters into your hands? We’ll hear from a disability justice advocate who decided to run for office to bring awareness to the care crisis. As well as a mother of a medically complex child who founded her own lobbying organization aiming to influence healthcare policies in Congress. In our final episode of the season, we’re talking about care access, disability justice and the political power of the disability community.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
The United States’ system of abortion care is mired in stigma and resistant to change. However, between increasing evidence for the safety of medication abortion, lawsuits against the FDA, and the COVID-19 pandemic, a unique solution for more abortion freedom rose to prominence: virtual care. Despite such strides, gaps in access remain. And these new freedoms stand on the precipice of being stripped after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. We’ll hear from a trio of healthcare providers, who discovered a major barrier to virtual abortion care and created an organization of their own to address it.In this episode, we’re talking about how virtual abortion care rose to prominence, and what it will take to continue fighting for access to this essential.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
The Crisis Teams

The Crisis Teams


In Minnesota, a landmark piece of legislation promised better resources for people experiencing mental health crises. Advocates worked hard to get Travis’ Law passed – it was named after a man killed by the police while in the midst of a mental health crisis. And it was written to ensure trained professionals would respond to these kinds of calls. But the work doesn’t stop there. Today, advocates say the law isn’t always being enforced. We’ll hear from families and organizations in Minnesota – and around the country – who are teaming up to keep their communities safe and supported during mental health crises. In this episode, we’re talking about creating new systems to support mental health.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
Agricultural work is physically demanding, and that work gets even more exhausting during the summer months, which are getting hotter and hotter each year due to climate change. As a country, we depend on farm workers to keep us fed and nourished, but how they do that is often invisible to consumers. We’ll hear from a farm worker about her experiences in the field under the hot sun, and from an organization taking steps to guarantee better protections for farm workers like her. In this episode, we’re talking about building change for farm workers. Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
The Changing Climate

The Changing Climate


The effects of climate change are already evident in communities across the U.S. To both mitigate and coexist with this new reality, indigenous leaders across the country are driving solutions that prioritize both people and the environment. We’ll travel to Alaska to hear how kelp farming is helping coastal communities and species adapt to climate change…and then to Hawai’i, where a Native-led organization combined  indigenous knowledge and modern engineering to help prevent disastrous flooding. Plus, we’ll learn from the people working to elect more Native leaders in politics – and why that’s so vital.In this episode, we’re looking to Indigenous communities to navigate climate change.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
In rural Appalachia, being openly queer can be dangerous for kids. But a group of students in one small town knew they weren't getting the history education they wanted -- so they banded together with their favorite French teacher to bring an idea to life. From the perspective of that teacher and the student who started it all, this is the story of the Open Light club, and how students’ idea to teach themselves LGBTQ history after class grew into something so much bigger. They faced opposition they never expected... but created a community that would stick with them forever. In this episode, we're talking about how young people can make change in their community -- and how the rest of us can support them.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
Sometimes, joy, celebration, and community are the best tools we have to fight against hate. When the Texas Legislature attempted to criminalize drag in the state, one drag queen used those exact tools to mobilize her community. We’ll learn how they successfully fought back against the attempt to stifle not just their careers, but their modes of expression. Plus, we take a visit to a drag story hour in Brooklyn, New York to talk to the community of people joining forces to drown out the hate. This episode we’re talking about building change in the LGBTQ community. Learn more about how you can get involved at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
Local candidates can transform the lives of thousands of people – for better or worse. Three stories take us through the journey of what it takes to win elections and serve in these positions. From discovering a problem and choosing to step up, to getting out the vote, to navigating precarious party margins and fighting for progress– community support is everything. And the same issues we see dominating the national conversation can often hinge on just a handful of votes. In this episode, we're talking about building change in local and state office.Learn more about how you can build change at or follow us on Instagram and TikTok.
Across the country, everyday people are coming together to build something bigger than themselves: real change. But what does it take to make it happen? In Build the Change, host Alok Vaid-Menon explores the diverse stories of advocates, nonprofits, politicians, parents, students, and more, who are fighting for progressive causes. Join them on this journey across the country, and get inspired to build the change in your community.