Seeking Common Ground in Congress

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With a bitterly contested election underway, is it possible for Congress to work across partisan divides?

With just days to go before a bitterly contested election, we speak with two Members of Congress, one Republican and one Democrat, who are reaching across rigid partisan divides to seek out compromise and constructive change.

Democrat Abigail Spanberger is the U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, who is serving her first term. In 2018, she defeated a Republican incumbent to win the district, which includes most of the northern suburbs of Richmond.

Brian Fitzpatrick is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional district. His district includes all of Bucks County, a mostly suburban area north of Philadelphia.

Reps. Spanberger and Fitzgerald both score highly on the new Common Ground Scorecard rankings.

Brian Fitzpatrick

After dedicating his professional life to service and protecting others, Brian Fitzpatrick was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2016 to represent the people of Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District. Following redistricting in 2018, Congressman Fitzpatrick was elected to represent the people of Pennsylvania’s First District which includes all of Bucks County and a portion of northwestern Montgomery County. His top priorities in Congress are increasing economic opportunity and keeping our nation safe.

A Levittown native and graduate of Bishop Egan High School, Brian is a graduate of LaSalle University, Penn State University and the Dickinson School of Law. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, Emergency Medical Technician as well as an attorney – having previously served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney focused on drug crimes.

For 14 years prior to running for Congress, Brian served our country as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent fighting political corruption and supporting global counterterrorism efforts – including being embedded with U.S. Special Forces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Working to promote freedom and democracy, Brian also served as National Director for the FBI’s Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program and as a national supervisor for the FBI’s Political Corruption Unit where he is recognized as an expert in restoring integrity to governmental institutions. For his work, Brian was an inaugural recipient of the FBI Director’s Leadership Award in 2015 and was named “Investigator of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

In the 116th Congress, Brian is a member of the Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. Brian is the founding member of the Congressional Citizen Legislature Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers committed to fighting for term limits and Congressional reforms, and a member of the No Labels ‘Problem Solver Caucus.’

Abigail Spanberger

U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is proud to represent Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which is comprised of ten counties throughout Central Virginia.

Representative Spanberger began her career in public service, first serving as a federal agent with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigating money laundering and narcotics cases, and then serving as a case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As a CIA officer, she worked at home and abroad to collect vital intelligence, keep our country safe, and work in furtherance of our national security priorities. In the private sector, Representative Spanberger worked with colleges and universities to help them diversify their student bodies and increase graduation rates.

Representative Spanberger serves on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On the House Agriculture Committee, she serves as Chair of the Conservation &  Forestry Subcommittee and as a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, & Credit Subcommittee. And on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Spanberger serves as Vice-Chair of the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, & the Environment Subcommittee and as a member of the Asia, the Pacific, & Nonproliferation Subcommittee.

Representative Spanberger grew up in Henrico County. She earned her B.A. at the University of Virginia and her MBA at a dual degree program between Purdue University’s Krannert School and the GISMA Business School in Hanover, Germany. Representative Spanberger resides in Glen Allen, Henrico County, Virginia with her husband, Adam, and their three children.

2020 Election Briefing: U.S. Foreign Policy

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The “America First” policy has reshaped many global institutions. What is the future of America’s role in the world?

President Trump’s “America First” policy has led to a U.S. withdrawal from many global institutions. For decades after World War II, American leadership in the world was taken for granted. Today, the future of American hegemony is deeply uncertain.

In this episode, we explore the future of foreign policy with two highly experienced journalists, Peter Ford and Howard LaFranchi. Based in Paris, Peter is global affairs correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. Prior to his current job, he spent a decade as Beijing Bureau Chief. Howard has been The Monitor’s diplomacy correspondent in Washington D.C. since 2001.

We discuss the U.S. pullback from the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s exit from the Paris climate accord, deteriorating relations with China, and the differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on America’s role in the world.

Peter Ford

Peter Ford is The Christian Science Monitor’s global affairs correspondent, based in Paris. Prior to his current posting, Peter served for a decade as the Monitor’s Beijing bureau chief, covering news and features throughout China and also makes reporting trips to Japan and the Korean peninsula. Before that, he spent six years as the Monitor’s Chief European Correspondent. Based in Paris, he covered news and features from the continent and also followed global trends in justice, religion and security, among other issues. Earlier, Peter served for four years as the Monitor’s Moscow bureau chief, reporting throughout Russia and the former Soviet republics.

Peter also worked as the Monitor’s Middle East correspondent, based in Jerusalem, arriving in the region in December 1990 just in time to cover the Gulf War from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. From his home base, he traveled widely and regularly throughout the Middle East, focusing on the developing peace process and the interplay of religion and politics in Muslim countries. As a special correspondent based in Buenos Aires in 1989 and 1990, Ford covered Argentina and neighboring countries for The Independent of London and The Christian Science Monitor. Ford lived and worked in Central America from 1985-1989, writing for the Monitor, the Financial Times, and The Economist during the civil wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Prior to this, Ford was an editor with Inter Press Service, a news agency specializing in the affairs of developing countries. Ford is the author of “Around the Edge,” a book about a journey he made on foot and by small boat along the Caribbean coast of Central America published by Viking Penguin in 1991.

A native Englishman, Ford was educated in England and graduated from Durham University with an honors degree in politics and sociology. He is married to French journalist-author Edith Coron and is the father of two sons.

Read more by Peter Ford: “Power shift: How America’s retreat is reshaping global affairs.”

Howard LaFranchi

Howard LaFranchi has been the Christian Science Monitor’s diplomacy correspondent in DC since 2001. Previously, he spent 12 years as a reporter in the field; serving five years as the Monitor’s Paris bureau chief from 1989 to 1994, and as a Latin America correspondent in Mexico City from 1994 to 2001. LaFranchi has continued to travel as diplomacy correspondent and covered the Iraq War from the Monitor’s Baghdad bureau on numerous occasions. Prior to joining the Monitor, LaFranchi worked as the City Hall reporter for the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley Journalism School and has a Masters Degree in Journalism from Boston University.

Read more by Howard LaFranchi: “The United Nations: Indispensable or irrelevant?”

Reforming Politics: Civility, Compromise and Common Ground

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Americans say our divisions are getting worse. How can voters lead constructive change?

More than 8-in-10 Americans think the country is divided, and a large majority says public debate has gotten worse in recent years. The deep partisan gap in politics is a major barrier to constructive change.

In this podcast, we explore the need for common ground with Amy Dacey, Executive Director of the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University, and Pearce Godwin, CEO of Listen First Project, and a leading member of #WeavingCommunity.

During the 2016 presidential election, Amy served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic National Committee. Pearce is from a conservative political background, and formerly worked on Republican Party campaigns.

We speak with both of them about the new Common Ground Scorecard initiative and other recent efforts to boost civic engagement and compromise.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 13- Reforming Politics-Civility, Compromise and Common Ground

Amy K. Dacey

Amy K. Dacey is Executive Director of the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University. For more than two decades, she managed prominent national organizations, advised leading elected officials and candidates, including President Barack Obama and Senator John Kerry, and counseled a variety of nonprofits and companies.

Before joining AU, Amy was President of AKD Strategies, a strategic firm working with nonprofits, and Foundations in the progressive policy space. During the 2016 presidential election, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic National Committee. During the 2004 elections, she worked for then-Senator John Kerry on his presidential campaign and, following his narrow loss, helped to lead Kerry’s political operation. She also managed Rep. Louise Slaughter’s congressional campaign in 1998.

From 2010 to 2013, Amy served as Executive Director of EMILY’s List, the organization dedicated to electing Democratic women to national, state, and local offices, and led the organization’s revitalization, restructuring and rebranding efforts. In addition, she served in various leadership positions for several other organizations, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Fund for America, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Recently, Amy served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director for MWWPR, one of the world’s top independent public relations agencies.

A native of Auburn, New York, Amy received her bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University and her master’s degree in political science from American University.

Pearce Godwin

Pearce Godwin—described as the national voice for bridging divides—is Founder & CEO of Listen First Project, Executive Director of National Conversation Project, and leader of the #ListenFirst Coalition of 300 partner organizations. He catalyzes the #ListenFirst movement to mend the frayed social fabric of America by building relationships and bridging divides. His passion is combating the universally felt crisis of distance, division, and dehumanization across differences with conversations that prioritize understanding.

Pearce graduated from Duke University and received an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. He spent five years working in Washington, DC—in the U.S. Senate and as a national political consultant for presidential and statewide campaigns. Before moving home to North Carolina in 2013, Pearce spent six months in Uganda, Africa where he wrote It’s Time to Listen. That message—printed in dozens of papers across the United States—launched Listen First Project and led thousands to sign the Listen First Pledge—“I will listen first to understand.”

In 2017, as division turned to violence across the country, Pearce left his marketing job, fully committing to turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with the #ListenFirst message. In 2018, Pearce helped create the first National Week of Conversation and hosted the kickoff event, Listen First in Charlottesville. Pearce then launched the overarching, collaborative movement platform National Conversation Project, which scales the #ListenFirst movement by promoting annual National Weeks of Conversation, #ListenFirst Fridays, Rapid Response & Featured Conversations on Major Issues, Locally-Focused #ListenFirst Movements, and any conversation creating social connection. This burgeoning movement has already reached millions of people with the #ListenFirst message—5 million during National Week of Conversation 2019 alone as 100+ organizations have adopted the common #ListenFirst message for mainstream scale.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Pearce is leading the #WeavingCommunity campaign in partnership with David Brooks’ Weave Project and powered by hundreds of partner organizations in service to our neighbors and nation, with support from Facebook and other sponsors. America is divided and broken, but we can make it stronger by building relationships starting where we live. #WeavingCommunity is a campaign celebrating acts of bravery, caring and connection that heal the pain and weave the future we want.

The #ListenFirst movement has been recognized by journalists at CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, USA Today, Associated Press, and The New York Times as Pearce has spoken about the mission on national television and to live audiences around the world. Pearce recently shared his perspective on current events in USA Today: “It feels like the American experiment is failing. Here’s how we can still save it.”

2020 Election Briefing: Can We Hold A Fair Election?

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States are scrambling to manage voting in a pandemic. Is it possible to hold a free and fair election?

With only weeks to go before the 2020 election, many challenges remain to holding a free and fair voting process in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. From an expected surge in mail-in and absentee ballots, to accessible polling places for millions of voters, to the urgent need for accuracy, we discuss some of the most important and complex questions on the next episode of our podcast, “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

David Hawkings, editor in chief and Tristiaña Hinton, audience development editor, of The Fulcrum explain America’s many different statewide systems of voting, and why it could take days or weeks for winners to be declared. We look at the disputes between Republicans and Democrats, including the possibility of a disputed result, and explore why many local election officials from both parties share common ground on the need for fair and accurate results.

The Fulcrum is a non-profit, non-partisan digital news organization focused exclusively on efforts to reverse the dysfunctions plaguing American democracy. The Fulcrum and Common Ground Committee are members of Bridge Alliance, which acts as a connectivity hub for over 90 civic action organizations.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 12 – 2020 Election Briefing: Can We Hold A Fair Election?

Tristiaña Hinton

Tristiaña Hinton is an audience development editor at The Fulcrum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news outlet that covers democracy reform. She is also an associate producer on MLB Network Radio at SiriusXM. She started her career at WTOP Radio in Washington, DC. In her free time, she likes hanging out with her pets and pretending to play the guitar.

David Hawkings

David Hawkings is the founding editor in chief of The Fulcrum, a nonprofit and nonpartisan digital news organization focused exclusively on efforts to reverse the dysfunctions plaguing American democracy. Before starting The Fulcrum in 2018 he was the senior editor of CQ Roll Call, writing columns for each publication and hosting the “Roll Call Decoder” series of videos and podcasts. He spent six years as managing editor of CQ Weekly, when the magazine won two Dirksen Awards for coverage of Congress, and before that supervised all legislative coverage and was managing editor for daily news.

2020 Election Briefing: Climate Change

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Climate change is increasingly important to voters. But can we find a common path forward?

Climate change is a much more important issue for many voters in the November election than it was in 2016. According to a recent poll by Pew Research Center, a record-high 60% of Americans say it is a major threat to the well-being of the United States.

To gain a deeper understanding, we focus on controversial questions about climate, from the role played by government and the private sector to questions about fracking, renewable energy and nuclear power.

Our guests are journalists Eoin O’Carroll & Eva Botkin-Kowacki of The Christian Science Monitor. Eva and Eoin are staff reporters on the newspaper’s science, technology and environment team.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 11 – 2020 Election Briefing: Climate Change

Eva Botkin-Kowacki

Eva Botkin-Kowacki is a staff reporter on The Christian Science Monitor’s science, environment, and technology team. Previously, she was the Robert Cowen Science Journalism Fellow at the Monitor. She first joined the Monitor as an intern in June 2014.

Eva has also reported for The Reading Eagle in Reading, Penn., The Tennessean in Nashville, Tenn. and The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University.

At the Monitor, Eva covers everything under the sun and beyond. She is particularly interested in space, anthropology, human impacts on the Earth, and the relationship between non-scientists and science.

During her stint at The Reading Eagle, Eva was part of a reporting team that dug into the story behind the trash piling up in the county. The resulting piece, “Landfill capital of Pennsylvania,” won first place in the Special Project category at the Pennsylvania Keystone Press Awards.

Twitter: @EBotkinKowacki

Facebook: @eva.botkinkowacki

Eoin O’Carroll

Eoin O’Carroll is a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor’s science, technology, and environment desk. He began working at the Monitor in 2005 as an HTML producer. Since then, he has worked as an environment blogger, web producer, SEO coach, and science editor.

Before joining the science desk as a writer, Eoin was an editor for the Monitor’s Rapid Response Team, where he trained early-career journalists in writing and web production.

Eoin holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication and a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wesleyan University.

Twitter: @eoinocarroll

Website: http://www.eoinocarroll.com/

Two Friends – One Democrat & the Other Republican – Search for Common Ground

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In partisan times, what can a liberal writer and conservative veteran teach us about coming together?

How far apart are we really? A liberal writer from Berkeley and a conservative military vet decided to explore that question together during a series of long road trips in an old Volvo. They drove through 44 states and on nearly twenty thousand miles of road and highways, meeting an extraordinary range of people along the way.

Union - Jordan Blashek & Christopher HaughAt a time of political gridlock and hyper-partisanship, Republican Jordan Blashek and Democrat Chris Haugh formed an unlikely friendship that blossomed, not in spite of, but because of their political differences.

The result of their road trips is the new book Union: A Democrat, A Republican, and a Search for Common Ground. In this podcast episode, we discover what they learned about American politics, culture, civics, and our potential to find common ground.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 10 – Two Friends – One Democrat & the Other Republican – Search for Common Ground

Jordan Blashek

Jordan Blashek is a businessman, military veteran, and attorney from Los Angeles, California. After college, Jordan spent five years in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer, serving two combat tours overseas. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Princeton University. Jordan is based in New York, where he invests in entrepreneurial efforts to grow the American middle class as a part of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.

Christopher Haugh

Christopher Haugh is a writer from Kensington, California. After graduating with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, Chris attended Oxford University and started speechwriting as an intern in the Obama White House. He went on to join the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff where he served as a speechwriter to the Secretary. In 2018, Chris graduated from Yale Law School where he was a Yale Journalism Scholar. Chris is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.

My Body is a Confederate Monument

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The call to remove Confederate monuments is growing. What is our responsibility in examining history?

“I am proud of every one of my black ancestors who survived slavery. They earned that pride, by any decent person’s reckoning. But I am not proud of the white ancestors whom I know, by virtue of my very existence, to be bad actors.”

So wrote poet Caroline Randall Williams in a widely-read opinion column for the New York Times. As a Black southern woman with white ancestors, her view of the debate over how America remembers its past is deeply personal.

This episode is the latest in our podcast series on race where we work to bring light, not heat to the issue. Recent protests across the country have sparked renewed controversy over confederate statues and the naming of military bases and public buildings that celebrate men who fought in the Civil War against the government of the United States.

Should the monuments be repurposed or removed? We discuss ways to find common ground and expand our understanding of American history.

Caroline Randall Williams is a writer in residence at Vanderbilt University. She is a resident and native of Tennessee. Some of her ancestors were enslaved. She is the great-great grand-daughter of Edmund Pettus, for whom is named the bridge in Selma, Alabama where the March, 1965 civil rights march known as “Bloody Sunday” took place. Pettus was an officer in the Confederate army, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and U.S. Senator from Alabama.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 9 – My Body Is a Confederate Monument

Caroline Randall Williams

Born and raised in Nashville Tennessee, Harvard graduate Caroline Randall Williams is an award-winning poet, young adult novelist, and cookbook author as well as an activist, public intellectual, performance artist, and scholar. She joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in the Fall of 2019 as a Writer-in-Residence in Medicine, Health, and Society while she continues to work and speak to the places where art, business, and scholarship intersect, moving people closer to their best lives and corporations closer to their ideal identities.

She has spoken in twenty states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia, in venues that range from as small as a classroom in a neighborhood school to as large as the Superdome mainstage during Essence Fest. To every speaking engagement Caroline brings a fierce intelligence, disarming charm, a touch of glamour, and a depth of lived experience that belies her thirty-two years. She has taught in two of the poorest states in the union — Mississippi and West Virginia — and she has been educated at two of the richest universities on the globe — Harvard and Oxford.

Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People Changing the South,” the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, CherryBombe, Garden and Gun, Essence and the New York Times.

Learning From an Interracial Couple in a Time of Racial Awakening

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It’s urgent that we find common ground on how to improve race relations. What lessons can be learned from an interracial couple?

The need to find common ground for improving race relations has taken on new urgency with recent protests, and demands for profound change in America.

In this episode, we gain insight from the deeply personal perspective of an interracial couple. Errol Toulon is the first African-American Sheriff of Suffolk County, New York. Tina MacNichols Toulon is a physician liaison and business development executive. She tells us what she’s learned since their marriage in 2016 about racism, “driving while Black,” and other indignities that are often part of a Black person’s daily life.

Both Tina and Errol believe that education is a crucial ingredient in reaching a much better understanding about widespread racism. By speaking out publicly about their own experiences, they wish to contribute to a vital discussion aimed at improving public understanding of a painful part of American life.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 8 – Learning from an Interracial Couple in a Time of Racial Awakening

Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Ed.D.

On January 1, 2018, Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Ed.D., became Suffolk County, New York’s 67th Sheriff and the County’s first African-American to be elected to a non-judicial countywide office. As Suffolk’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, he works to serve and protect 1.5 million residents through innovative programs to reduce crime and recidivism, and the implementation of sound fiscal policies.

Sheriff Toulon launched the Sandy Hook Promise School Safety Initiative, which has taught more than 22,000 students how to recognize the signs of a peer in distress and report concerning information to a trusted adult. He has also made it a priority to get to the root causes of youthful delinquency and inter-generational crime. His work in this area includes launching the Deconstructing the Prison Pipeline Task Force; Choose Your Path for young adults; Choose to Thrive for incarcerated women; a Senior Citizen Program POD;  and the nation’s first jail-based Human Trafficking Initiative, which assesses all county inmates for signs of victimization. He has also expanded correctional rehabilitation programming aimed to reduce recidivism, and made significant improvements to the Sheriff’s Addiction Treatment Program, with programming offered to both pre-trial and sentenced individuals.

Sheriff Toulon has more than 30 years of criminal-justice experience, centered upon corrections intelligence and combating gang violence. Prior to serving as Suffolk County Sheriff, he worked for the New York City Department of Correction. He received his Master’s degree in Business Administration and Doctorate in Educational Administration from Dowling College; an advanced certificate in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University; and attended leadership courses at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.

Tina Toulon

Tina Toulon is an accomplished expert in sales, marketing and relationship building. She founded and was President of The Catamount Group, a successful marketing and list brokerage agency serving numerous corporate clients which she sold to Eway Direct.

She has also held senior positions with Epsilon Data Solutions and LSC Digital managing key client campaigns. Currently she works with New York Cancer & Blood Specialists.

Reforming The Police

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Can a police chief and a critic of policing find common ground on how to make change in law enforcement?

Outrage, grief, and despair over cases of police brutality and racism erupted nationwide, with growing demands for major reforms. The protests appeared to sway public opinion. A Washington Post poll in June found that 69% of Americans agreed that the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis suggests a broader problem within law enforcement.

This podcast episode brings together a police chief and a critic of policing. Both discuss their hopes for better policing in the future, and find some areas of agreement on proposed changes, including greater diversity, better training, and firmer action against officers who step over the line.

Art Acevedo is Chief of Police for the Houston Police Department. He now serves as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley is a civil rights activist, former board chair of New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, and senior vice president for Social Justice at The New School.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 7 – Reforming the Police

Chief Art Acevedo

Art Acevedo was sworn-in as Chief of the Houston Police Department (HPD) on November 30, 2016.

Chief Acevedo leads a department of 5,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 1,200 civilian support personnel with an annual general fund budget of $825 million in the fourth largest city in the United States.

Chief Acevedo believes good communication is vital for a successful community and steadily works to strengthen the bond between the community and its police department. A proponent of community policing, Chief Acevedo refers to the proven practice as “Relational Policing,” an opportunity to forge a relationship with each citizen an officer comes in contact with.

The first Hispanic to lead the HPD, Acevedo brings a unique understanding to the concerns of the diverse communities in the City of Houston. Born in Cuba, he was 4 years old when he migrated to the United States with his family in 1968. Acevedo grew up in California and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne in California. Acevedo began his law enforcement career in 1986 as field patrol officer in East Los Angeles with the California Highway Patrol. He rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. Acevedo most recently served nine years as Chief of the Austin Police Department.

Chief Acevedo holds various leadership positions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is married with three children.

Maya Wiley

Maya Wiley is a nationally renowned expert on racial justice and equity. She has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress, and developed programs to transform structural racism in the U.S. and in South Africa. Ms. Wiley is currently a University Professor at the New School University. She previously served as the Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the New School University and the Henry Cohen Professor of Public and Urban Policy at The New School’s Milano School of Management, Policy & Environment. She is an expert on Digital Equity and founded and Co-Directs the New School’s Digital Equity Laboratory. Ms. Wiley is also a Legal Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Prior to the New School she was Counsel to New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. As the Mayor’s chief legal advisor and a member of his Senior Cabinet, Ms. Wiley was placed at the helm of the Mayor’s commitment to expanding affordable broadband access across New York City, advancing civil and human rights and gender equity, and increasing the effectiveness of the City’s support for Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprises. She also served as the Mayor’s liaison to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.

Among her awards, in 2018 and 2019, Ms. Wiley was been named one of the world’s top 100 leaders in Digital Government by Apolitical. In 2017 Good Housekeeping Magazine honored Ms. Wiley as one of its “50 over 50.” City and State Magazine named Ms. Wiley one of the 100 most powerful people in New York City in 2014 and in 2015. She was named one of 20 Leading Black Women Social Activists Advocating Change by The Root in 2011. She was also honored as a Moves Magazine Power Woman in 2009.

Ms. Wiley holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A in psychology from Dartmouth College.

What Racism Means to Me

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The debate over racism has shifted dramatically. What are the prospects for lasting change?

Nationwide protests against racism, police violence and racial inequality have shaken the nation to its core. Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement and anger over police treatment of African-Americans grew dramatically in recent weeks.

Outrage over the graphic deaths of George Floyd and other Black men and women changed the debate over racism. We look at the prospects for lasting change and whether we can find common ground in response to recent events.

Our guests are author, activist and professor Ilyasah Shabazz, and trauma care surgeon Brian Williams, MD. Professor Shabazz often speaks about the legacy of her father, Malcolm X. She promotes higher education for at-risk youth and interfaith dialogue to build bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world. Doctor Williams led the trauma team that treated police officers ambushed by a sniper in Dallas in 2016 – the largest loss of life for US law enforcement since 9/11.

READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Ep. 6 – What Racism Means to Me

Professor Ilyasah Shabazz

Professor Ilyasah Shabazz promotes higher education for at-risk youth, interfaith dialogue to build bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world, and she participates on international humanitarian delegations. She served as a member of the U.S. Delegation that accompanied President Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate election of President Nelson Mandela and the Education & Economic Development initiatives. She was a member of the U.S. Interfaith Leadership Delegation to Mali, West Africa with Malaria No More, and she received a personal letter of acknowledgement for preserving her “father’s proud legacy by working to secure equality in our time and for generations to come,” from President Barack Obama.

She is an inspirational role model and advocate for “youth” and “women and girl” empowerment. Her lifework is devoted to helping others find inner strength and purpose. While she is frequently asked to speak about the Legacy of Malcolm X, she shares that it is her mother, Dr. Betty Shabazz’s wisdom, courage and compassion that guide her.

More than six years experience as college professor; More than twenty years experience as administrator and implementer of cultural and community outreach initiatives, serving diverse populations; Key advisor to public and private organizations, developing diversity and community-focused programs that align with business, academic and organizational goals; Author, artist, mentor, educator, motivational speaker and citizen of the world, connecting and activating networks and resources to create measurably positive outcomes. Published five multiple award-winning publications with outstanding novelists, currently working on the next…

For further information, please visit IlyasahShabazz.com.

Dr. Brian Williams

Dr. Brian Williams led the trauma team that treated police officers ambushed by a sniper on July 7, 2016 – the largest loss of life for US law enforcement since 9/11. At a press conference days later, his heartfelt comments about the tragedy touched thousands, and Huffington Post named it one of the most memorable television moments of 2016.

Dr. Williams now serves is an Associate Professor of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at the University of Chicago. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. After six years on active duty, he followed a different call to serve and enrolled at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. After obtaining his medical degree, he completed a general surgery residency at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, and a fellowship in trauma and surgical critical care at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

In his remarks after the sniper attack, Dr. Williams lamented that we lack “open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country,” leading him to become an international spokesperson for racial justice.

Recognizing his many community contributions, in 2017 Mayor Rawlings appointed him as Chairman of the Dallas Citizens Police Review Board. His leadership helped unite the Dallas Police Department, community activists, police associations and City Council to revamp the role Dallas civilians play in police oversight.

In addition to his role as an academic surgeon, Dr. Williams is a renowned keynote speaker, the Vice-Chair of the One America Movement, a guest opinion writer featured in the Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News, and hosts the podcast Race, Violence & Medicine.

To learn more, Dr. Williams invites you to contact him at BrianWilliamsMD.com, Twitter, or LinkedIn.