51% Show #1388

Feb 26, 2016

On this week’s 51%, we meet a women who set out to complete each of the Corporal Works of Mercy in 40 days. A professor talks about civil rights and television. Then a farmer discusses racism and food. I’m Allison Dunne and this is 51%.

Credit Kerry Weber

In Christian tradition, the Corporal Works of Mercy are regarded as a model for how people should treat each other. There are seven works, each one a directive, like feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and visiting the sick and imprisoned. Kerry Weber was working as a managing editor at America Magazine when she found a calling – to complete each of the Corporal Works of Mercy in 40 days. During that time, she volunteered at hospitals and homeless shelters, visited inmates in prison and more, becoming a one-woman drive to provide comfort and care to those in need in New York City. She recalls her experience in a book, called “Mercy in the City.” 51%’s Jessica Bloustein Marshall spoke with Weber about her journey, and what she learned along the way.

Recently, Beyonce used the massive television platform of the Super Bowl to promote her new single, “Formation,” which made reference--among other things--to Hurricane Katrina, Black Lives Matter, and the Black Panthers. While Beyonce’s political statement was particularly grand, television and civil rights go hand in hand in American history. Allison Quantz shares the story of how civil rights groups were some of the first to harness the new technology for political causes. 

Meanwhile, New York educator, farmer, and food justice activist Leah Penniman recently spoke about racism and food at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Allison caught up with her ahead of her lecture entitled "Black Lives Matter: The Intersectionality of Race and the Food System.” She had hopes for what students would take away from her talk and starts by saying food justice and the movement for racial justice are integrated. That was Leah Penniman on her lecture "Black Lives Matter: The Intersectionality of Race and the Food System.” 

Credit Courtesy of Jonah Vitale-Wolff

In Zambia, one woman is breaking into a male-dominated profession. Catherine Phiri is a famous boxer and is in the world's top ten female boxer in Bantam Weight Category. Having been orphaned at a young age, Catherine only made it through the sixth grade. She dropped out of school due to lack of finances and became a mother at the age of 16. But this was not the end of her journey, with determination, Phiri took up boxing and has made it a successful career. With her achievement in boxing she has become a role model to girls, and encourages them to stay in school and keep focused. This report is by Jürgen Schneider.

A central California school district has settled a free speech lawsuit brought by a high school junior who was sent home for refusing to change out of T-shirt that read, "Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian." 

The American Civil Liberties Union says the recently approved deal requires the Manteca Unified School District to clarify that students may wear clothing with statements celebrating their cultural identities or supporting classmates' identities. Taylor Victor and her mother sued two Sierra High School administrators who told the girl in August that her shirt was an improper display of sexuality that violated the school's dress code. Linnea Nelson of the ACLU says federal courts consistently have ruled that schools cannot prevent students from expressing their personal beliefs unless they pose a threat or significant disruption. 

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio.

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