In this episode, I connect with longtime friends and colleagues Antonio Cardona, LaCora Bradford Kesti, and Ernest Comer to celebrate 10 years of Public Allies Twin Cities Public Allies is a social justice organization committed to changing the face and practice of leadership by recruiting and training talented young leaders. It has been my honor to witness the deep organizing across race, class, and sexuality that Public Allies, and the young leaders they have trained, have brought to our movements for justice.
Listen as we discuss the origin of Public Allies Twin Cities, how my involvement with the organization has coincided with key movement moments over the past decade, and the impact that bringing together a BIPOC community of youth leaders has had on us and our communities.
We also discuss how the current movement moment is affecting us, how internalized oppression might impact the pressure we feel to do it all, and the importance of healing and self care as we ride the waves movement building for the long-term
Finally, we talk about what is next for Antonio, Ernest, and LaCora and how the influence of Public Allies continues.
Beth recently gained access to a Storycorp interview she did back in 2013. Read more about it and listen below!
“New friends and colleagues Beth Zemsky, 53, and Kierra Johnson, 36, discuss their advocacy work at the intersection of the LGBT, feminist, racial equality, and body liberation movements.”
Beth started coming out in 1977 as an 18 year old in Ithaca, NY. She saw many gay and lesbian couples holding hands not knowing it related to her. She became very involved in gender/sexuality studies at Cornell University. She moved to St. Louis, MO for graduate school and suddenly her ability to live openly as a lesbian was in question. The paper Gay Community News out of Boston kept her politically involved in LGBT issues (it also formed the basis of the new National Gay and Lesbian Task Force).
Kierra attended the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was studying racial justice when her sister, Amber, became pregnant at 16. She witnessed her sister drop out of school and not receive support for her further education (Amber was sent to a “mommy school”). K realized that whatever women decide [about pregnancy/abortion] they are judged. This catapulted her into the feminist and choice/body liberation movements.
Click here to read the rest of the transcript/listen to the episode!
Here in Minneapolis, around the country, and indeed around the world, we are in the midst of a new heightened level of movement engagement. This uprising for racial justice is possible now because of movement leaders who have been laboring for decades, joined by newly inaugurated activists, all of whom stand on the shoulders and the foundation built by generations of those who came before who believed in freedom, justice, and the power of a loving community to create change. The power of long-term movement building is evident in the energy we see on our streets and in the victory we gained this week reflected in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision finally outlawing employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
I am thrilled that in the midst of this pivotal time my friend, colleague, civil rights attorney, writer, filmmaker, activist, and current world-changer, Valarie Kaur joins me via Zoom from California for this episode of the podcast to talk about the power of Revolutionary Love. Valarie defines revolutionary love as when you are brave enough to see no stranger.
In the context of Valarie’s new book See No Stranger, which is hot off the press today, and the Revolutionary Love Project she founded going viral online, we catch up with Valarie for a unique, intimate chat about her work, her new book, and how it all came to be. Valerie shares with us, in a candid and effortlessly authentic way, about what first called her to activism, how her Sikh faith shaped and influenced her work, and how the concept of Revolutionary Love has seen her through some of the darkest and most transitional moments of her life.
This episode will challenge you in ways that are perfectly timed for the movement moment we are currently moving though. Whether you’re new to movement work, a lifelong activist, or transitioning from one form of movement work to another, Valarie offers us up her deepest wisdom, in a way that will speak directly to yours, no matter where you are in your journey.