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activism

Dinah Yessne's first political act, as she recalls it, was spinning a homemade Wheel of Fortune at a fundraiser for presidential candidate Henry Wallace when she was three years old. From that auspicious beginning, she went on to champion the causes of her time: civil rights, peace, anti-war, women's rights, gay rights, economic equality, immigrant rights, and at one time or another she was tapped by Governor Madeline Kunin to run for State Office, endorsed by Congressman Bernie Sanders - and just plain ticked off one day presidential candidate,  Howard Dean. 

She tells the stories in her new book "Politically Defined: Memoir of an Unknown Activist."

Book cover for "The Climate Diet" (grass green background with text)
Penguin Books

Paul Greenberg is the author of the James Beard Award-winning bestseller "Four Fish," "American Catch," and "The Omega Principle," and a regular contributor to The New York Times.

His new book is "The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint."

Book Cover - Mistrust
Provided: W. W. Norton & Company / Provided: W. W. Norton & Company

From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, and from cryptocurrency advocates to the #MeToo movement, Americans and citizens of democracies worldwide are losing confidence in what we once called the system.

This loss of faith has spread beyond government to infect a broad swath of institutions—the press, corporations, digital platforms—none of which seem capable of holding us together. The dominant theme of contemporary civic life is mistrust in institutions—governments, big business, the health care system, the press.

How should we encourage participation in public life when neither elections nor protests feel like paths to change? Drawing on work by political scientists, legal theorists, and activists in the streets, Ethan Zuckerman offers a lens for understanding civic engagement that focuses on efficacy, the power of seeing the change you make in the world.

Ethan Zuckerman is the founder of the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and associate professor of public policy, information, and communication. From 2011–20, he led the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. He is cofounder with Rebecca MacKinnon of the international blogging community Global Voices.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham joins us this morning to discuss his new book “His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope.”

It is an intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present.

Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.”

The Center For The Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) at Bennington College is proud to offer this new series of online classes for learners at every stage—from high school seniors to retired professionals—who want to engage with the most pressing issues of our time.

The purpose of these courses is to empower students with the tools to build community and take meaningful action at the local, national, and international level.

Susan Sgorbati is Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action and we welcome her to the RT this morning along with our Judith Enck – who teaches a CAPA class on Beyond Plastics. Judith is Former EPA Regional Administrator, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, and President of Beyond Plastics.

Jammella Anderson stands by a community refrigerator on Elm Street in Albany
Shannon Straney / Photo provided

Coming to a street corner near you, a refrigerator.  

Lukee Forbes
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Activist Lukee Forbes is ubiquitous at protests and community events throughout the Capital Region. You can usually find him at the front of the crowd, in black clothes black and brown leather work boots.

The book, “Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War,” is a collection narrating how peace activists found their calling and why the world still needs peace activism. Drawing from diverse philosophical and spiritual traditions, contributors share their experiences of working for peace and justice and discuss the obstacles to both.

They address a wide range of contemporary problems, including the war on terror, killer drones, the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, mass surveillance, the human cost of war, political-economic impediments to peace, violent extremism, the role of women in peace-building, and the continued threat of nuclear weapons.

“Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War” is also the title of The 2020 Kateri Peace Conference – which will take place on Zoom on August 21 and 22. Contributor Ann Wright and editor Steve Breyman join us.

Book Cover for How to be an Antiracist and photo of Ibram X. Kendi
Author photo by Jeff Watts

Joe Donahue: Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In his new book “How to Be an Antiracist”, Professor Ibram X. Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas that look to help us see all forms of racism clearly understand their poisonous consequences and work to oppose them in our systems, in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He's also a columnist at the Atlantic and author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America”, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. His latest is “How to Be an Antiracist”. 

        The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are:

WAMC's Alan Chartock

Judith Enck - Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Bennington College, Founder of Beyond Plastics, former EPA regional administrator.

Jeff Goodell - is a long-time contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he has been writing about climate change for more than a decade. His most recent book is The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. Earlier this month he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Elizabeth Kolbert - has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999 and won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, "The Sixth Extinction."

Celia Keenan-Bolger photographed for broadway.com
Photographs by Caitlin McNaney | Styling: Sarah Slutsky | Hair: Morgan Blaul | Makeup: Rachel Estabrook / broadway.com

Celebrating its 18th season, Modfest 2020 is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s theme, “reflect to project,” looks backward to move forward. All events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 1 at 3 p.m., Modfest 2020 presents “Reflect: An Artist’s Life, Onstage and Off” featuring Tony Award-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger sharing stories about Broadway, acting, and art. This event is sponsored by The Capotorto-Mulas Family Lecture Fund and will take place in The Martel Theater at the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. Keenan-Bolger will be in conversation with actor and Vassar Drama Professor Shona Tucker.

Celia Keenan-Bolger’s works includes both plays and musicals, on and off-Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” earning her first Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include Eponine in “Les Miserables,” Molly in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Laura in “The Glass Menagerie,” Varya in “The Cherry Orchard,” and, most recently, Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She won her first Tony Award for her portrayal of the willful and reflective Scout Finch and was also nominated for “The Glass Menagerie” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Bill McKibben
Nancie Battaglia

Author, environmentalist, and activist Bill McKibben will give the Annual Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m.

His 1989 book “The End of Nature” is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country except North Korea.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize.

His most recent book “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” was published by Macmillan in April.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

On November 16, Helsinki on Broadway in association with Gary DiMauro presents “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York. The one-and-only Chita Rivera will perform songs from her Tony Award winning Broadway career with her longtime trio at 7 and 9:30 p.m. At Helsinki Hudson she’ll perform songs from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” ”Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “The Rink,” “The Visit,” and more.

Theatrical icon and living legend of the stage, Rivera is among the most nominated performers in Tony Award history and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Among her many honors through a lifetime of performance and activism, Rivera was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002.

The Woodstock Film Festival will present the world premiere screening of "Parkland Rising," executive produced by Katie Couric and will.i.am, at the upcoming 20th anniversary film festival October 2-6.

The documentary, directed by two-time Emmy Award winner Cheryl Horner McDonough, follows the high-school students and families who became fierce leaders of the national movement for gun reform after the February 2018 shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.

On Friday, October 4 Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, will produce a mural in the center of Woodstock, New York that will combine psychedelic vibes, street art, and activism with a strong statement from Joaquin. Manuel Oliver joins us now.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver are the founders of Change the Ref, a foundation formed to empower our future leaders.

The Woodstock Film Festival will present the world premiere screening of the new documentary "Parkland Rising," executive produced by Katie Couric and will.i.am, at the upcoming 20th anniversary film festival, on October 4.

The documentary from Gigantic Productions, directed by two-time Emmy Award winner Cheryl Horner McDonough, follows the high-school students and families who became fierce leaders of the national movement for gun reform after the February 2018 shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.

Katie Couric began her journalism career as an assistant at the ABC network. She went on to report for NBC, eventually becoming co-anchor of Today and sole anchor of the CBS evening News. She heads Katie Couric Media, her production company which centers around scripted and non-scripted projects that are committed to creating smart, trustworthy, relatable content that aims to tell the stories that she believes need to be brought to awareness.

Book Cover for "Falter" and author photo of Bill McKibben
Author photo by Nancie Battaglia

Bill McKibben, often referred to as “America’s most important environmentalist,” thirty years ago offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change in his book, “The End of Nature.” Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out. The new book is “Falter.”

This is an Off the Shelf edition of The Book Show recorded in partnership with Northshire Bookstore.

Gloria Steinem is an icon. She also is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer, and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality.

She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice.

Steinem is the author of the bestsellers “My Life on the Road,” “Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem,” “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions,” and “Moving Beyond Words,” and was a co-founder of Ms. magazine.

We spoke with her Friday in Troy, New York while she was in the region to speak to a sold-out crowd for a program sponsored by the Hudson Valley Community College Cultural Affairs Program.

Sally Roesch Wagner is the founding director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, New York and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the honors program at Syracuse University. She is a member of the New York State Women's Suffrage Commission and a consultant to the National Women's History Project.

The one-of-a-kind intersectional anthology features the writings of the most well-known suffragists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, alongside accounts of those often overlooked because of their race, from Native American women to African American suffragists like Ida B. Wells and the three Forten sisters.

Gerard Stropnicky
Gordon Wendell

In our time, when 280-character insults and snarky memes pass for conversation, is Civic Empathy possible?

Writer, director, activist and instigator, USA Fellow Gerard Stropnicky offers a Field Report on community story applied to community healing and progress as part of Vassar College’s “Engaged Pluralism Initiative Semester of Storytelling.”

On March 27 at 6 p.m. Stropnicky will host the workshop, “Civic Empathy: A Field Report” in the Villard Room on the Vassar campus.

Director and actor Gerard Stropnicky is one of the founding members of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, one of the oldest resident ensemble theaters in the U.S.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” explores the history of the women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. The documentary takes its audience from the founding of the National Organization for Women to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation - telling a proud and reflective story about feminist accomplishments and missteps.

The film combines dramatizations, performance, and archival footage, along with interviews with women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution.

The New York State Writers Institute will present a screening of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” tonight at 7:30 at Page Hall on UAlbany’s Downtown Campus. A q&a with director and award-winning documentary producer Mary Dore will follow the screening and she joins us.

Elaine Weiss’ new book, "The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote," rediscovers the story of American women rising up to claim their rights, as their long fight for the vote reaches its climax in 1920. This story resonates today as a surge of women's political activism reshapes the national conversation, sweeping a record number of women into city halls, state legislatures, the halls of Congress, and the 2020 contest for the White House.

The electoral “Pink Wave” of 2018 would not have been possible if not for the white and yellow wave of suffrage activists taking to the streets more than a century ago. In recent op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Daily Beast, and Lenny Letter, Elaine Weiss has written compelling commentaries linking today's headlines to historical precedent, drawn from her extensive research.

Clarence Taylor is Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, CUNY, and author of "The Black Churches of Brooklyn," "Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools," "Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century," and "Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers Union."

His new book, "Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City," he examines the explosive history of police brutality in New York City and the black community’s long struggle to resist it. Taylor brings this story to life by exploring the institutions and the people that waged campaigns to end the mistreatment of people of color at the hands of the police, including the black church, the black press, black communists and civil rights activists.

Ranging from the 1940s to the mayoralty of Bill de Blasio, Taylor describes the significant strides made in curbing police power in New York City, describing the grassroots street campaigns as well as the accomplishments achieved in the political arena and in the city’s courtrooms.

Young people are usually eager to change the world, but not given a chance. Eric Dawson's new book "Putting Peace First: 7 Commitments To Change The World" empowers young people to make change happen now. Eric David Dawson is the CEO and Co-founder of Peace First.

Ray Connolly has published a number of books, including "Being Elvis." He also directed the television documentary "James Dean: The First American Teenager" and worked with record producer Sir George Martin on the BBC television series "The Rhythm of Life." His new book is "Being John Lennon: A Restless Life."

"Being John Lennon" is not about the whitewashed Prince of Peace of Imagine legend, because that was only a small part of him. The John Lennon depicted in the book is a much more kaleidoscopic figure, sometimes almost a collision of different characters.

The Eighth Step presents global activist, singer, teacher and recording artist Holly Near tonight at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York. 

In 1970, Holly Near was a cast member of the Broadway musical “Hair.” Following the Kent State University shootings in May of that same year the entire cast staged a silent vigil in protest. The song, “It Could’ve Been Me” was Holly’s heartfelt response to the shootings. Before and since the 1970s, Near has been consistent and outspoken in her desire for a more equitable world - her activism most often taking the form of music.

The struggle to desegregate America's schools was a grassroots movement, and young women were its vanguard. In the late 1940s, parents began to file desegregation lawsuits with their daughters, forcing Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights lawyers to take up the issue and bring it to the Supreme Court. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, girls far outnumbered boys in volunteering to desegregate formerly all-white schools.

In "A Girl Stands at the Door," historian Rachel Devlin tells the remarkable stories of these desegregation pioneers. She also explains why black girls were seen, and saw themselves, as responsible for the difficult work of reaching across the color line in public schools. 

Rachel Devlin is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University.

The 13th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will showcase 80 of the latest independent feature, documentary, short and family films from 28 countries from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and from June 1 to 3 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The festival features screenings and various special events including three “Tea Talks”. One of this year’s Tea Talks features Berkshire based Academy Award winning filmmaker, Cynthia Wade, and a screening of her new documentary, “Grit.”

"Grit" is co-directed and co-produced by Wade and Sasha Friedlander and follows the lives of Indonesian citizens in East Jakarta displaced from their villages when an underground mudflow, struck by a natural gas drill, bubbles up and buries their homes and everything they own beneath 60 feet of mud.

Cynthia Wade joins us.

Ralph Nader has launched three major presidential campaigns and founded over 100 civic organizations that have affected auto safety, tax reform, atomic-power regulation, occupational safety, the tobacco industry, clean air and water, food and drug safety, access to health care, civil rights, open government, citizen access to justice, and much more.

He will be at The Rowe Center in Rowe, MA May 18-20 presenting a talk entitled "Trump, Empire, the Military Budget, the Draining of America, and What You Can Do About It ‑‑ Now!"

Research biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber was inspired to activism by the classic book "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, becoming one of America's leading environmental writers and anti-pollution advocates.

Steingraber has now edited the Library of America edition of Carson’s writings - an unprecedented collection of letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the extraordinary courage and vision of its author.

The volume presents one of the landmark books of the twentieth century together with rare letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the personal courage and passionate commitment of its author.

Sandra Steingraber is the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College.

Andrea Barnet’s new book "Visionary Women" tells the story of four visionaries who profoundly shaped the world we live in today. Together, these women, linked not by friendship or field but by their choice to break with convention, showed what one person speaking truth to power can do.

Jane Jacobs fought for livable cities and strong communities; Rachel Carson warned us about poisoning the environment; Jane Goodall demonstrated the indelible kinship between humans and animals; and Alice Waters urged us to reconsider what and how we eat.

Barnet traces the arc of each woman’s career and explores how their work collectively changed the course of history.

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