In a time where social justice issues are constantly in the news and at the forefront of our minds, the new podcast “Re-Educated” helps process these concerns and looks at ways to better uplift the Black community.
“Re-Educated” is hosted by Danni Golden and co-host Devon Williams. Golden uses her “voice, powerful conversation skills and business connections to uplift her community” and Williams “conducts community outreach for all aspects of the African American community in New Mexico, including collaboration with community stakeholders, programs and initiatives, and policy and advocacy,” according to the podcast’s website.
With a similar feel to NPR’s “Code Switch,” the first episode, “Black Cultural Centers in Higher Education,” opens with a general purview of the first season and its purpose of highlighting environmental, social and physical inequities facing Black communities and modes of empowerment through legislation.
The first episode is broken up into three acts: Golden and Williams giving the audience a history lesson and discussing their experiences with Black Cultural Centers (BCC), an interview with UNM director of African American Student Services Brandi Stone and an interview with NMSU interim director of Black Programs Kimberly York. The two interviews are broken up with another segment of Golden and Williams’ rapport, which assists the pacing greatly.
Golden and Williams have solid chemistry, and it shows as they go back and forth in discussing the history of BCCs. Williams then gives an insightful look at his experiences with BCCs and how they became “another dynamic of empowerment and stress relief” that helped him connect with other Black students and achieve his master’s degree.
That conversation made me desperately wish that this episode had more time for student accounts, specifically the power of BCCs and the impact that the centers have after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, the guests on this episode made some incredible points, but I couldn’t help but want to hear more from a student’s perspective.
According to the podcast, Black students make up 2.96% of UNM’s student population and a similar percentage of NMSU’s student population. One of the aspects of the first episode that really struck me was how passionate both the hosts and the two guests were. They all emphasized that when people refer to these numbers as “statistically insignificant,” they’re missing the point that these are very real students with very real socioeconomic needs.
A good variety in the questions asked resulted in some great responses about the challenges BCCs are facing, why the centers are so impactful to students from a director’s perspective and how communities can help mitigate these challenges in new and unexpected ways.
I was hesitant at first about the hosts asking both guests roughly the same questions, but it ended up working well since both Stone and York had different talking points. I won’t spoil what they had to say, but I will say it’s worth your time to hear them out.
A highlight of the show was how they closed the episode out. The hour wraps up with a final segment called “The Glow,” which shines a light on people and organizations that are doing work that benefits and uplifts members of the Black community around the state. This week’s recipient, Alexandra Andrews, coordinates the flow of students at a COVID-19 testing site.
This is an especially important aspect of the show: Even if the subject matter gets a little heavy (see next week’s episode titled “Law Enforcement”), it can end on a note of hopefulness about the future.
The strongest part of the episode overall was the knowledge and passion brought to the table by the hosts and the guests. Their knowledge on the subject matter both informs and re-educates its audience in an engaging manner that leaves them curious to learn more. The passion with which they speak about meeting the needs of Black students in their communities will make anyone listening want to go out and immediately donate funds to the nearest BCC.
While “Re-Educated” suffers from reduced sound quality in the interviews of Stone and York, it doesn’t hinder the audience from getting an enriching experience by listening.
I would highly recommend that students and members of the administration of these two institutions give this inaugural episode, and future episodes, an attentive listen. They just might re-educate you.
Shelby Kleinhans is a freelance photographer and reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @BirdsNotReal99