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No More Normal: The Struggle Continues

Blvck Astroknot

Sometimes history repeats itself. When host Khalil Ekulona talks to his African American friends who are parents, he says they express joy and sadness: Joy in watching their kids grow and discover the wonders of life. Sadness in having to repeat conversations with their children about growing up Black in America—the same conversations their parents had with them decades ago. Episode 4 is all about the journey to racial equality, and some of the factors to consider as we travel along the road.

Dr. Charlene Reid is the CEO and founder of Excellence Community Schools in the Bronx. She highlights their new model of community school that embraces the essential support from neighborhoods, businesses, parents and teachers, all working together toward student success. She also talks about the challenges in educating disadvantaged young people, and the strategies for making it work that can apply just about anywhere.

A panel of musicians dives into hip-hop, messages in music and what’s being sold to people: A. Billi Free, Awad Bilal, Jeff Jazztone Alberson, Sebastian Elkouby and Roscoe Flo Fader Floyd, who gives us the COVID-19 remix of this conversation.

Dr. Nichole Nelson wrote “Reparations need to be part of the conversation about racial justice” for the Washington Post. She gives us the history on reparations and envisions what it would take to make it happen.

Charles Ashley III tells us about what a trio of successful businesspeople had to endure before the Albuquerque City Council to pull down $1 million for the Black Community Investment Fund, the first of its kind.

Khalil’s father Ademola Ekulona offers a powerful conversation on the Civil Rights Movement and self-determination.

Elizabeth Ward protested as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement in Rio Rancho every day for a month, sometimes by herself or with her husband, sometimes with friends, old and new. Reporter Nash Jones brings us this story.

Richard A. Clarke spent 30 years as a senior national policy adviser and served under three presidents. He speaks about the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Protective Service being deployed against protesters. Clarke also gives us a warning about the November election and national security.

Kimberly York is the president of SO WHO Enterprises and the interim director of Black Programs at New Mexico State University. She’s also just been appointed to the governor’s Advisory Council for Racial Justice. York talks about the importance of mentorship and the commitment to making real systemic change.

And Monifa Bandele from the Movement for Black Lives explains Black August, a time for study, training and reflection in honor of Black revolutionaries.

Next Week: We examine ICE detention facilities in the time of COIVD, and what people are doing to try and stop human rights violations there.

No More Normal is brought to you by the same crew behind YNMG. Hear the show on KUNM’s airwaves Sundays at 11 a.m., or find it wherever you get your podcasts.

Special thanks to:

  • Jazztone the Producer, Cheo, Dahm Life, Fresh Air, A. Billi Free, Flo Fader and Oh Lawd Records for providing music to our show. Khaki, Pope Yes Yes Y’all and Bigawatt composed some of the show’s themes. 
  • Blvck Astroknot for the artwork for this episode
  • Ty Bannerman for the editing help.
  • Nash Jones for their reporting
  • And always, all of our guests for sharing their stories, lives and perspectives.

No More Normal is brought to you by Your New Mexico Government, a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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