We Can Be podcast - The Heinz Endowments
Columnist Tony Norman & the “revolution in attitudes” fueling social change (S03EP02)

Columnist Tony Norman & the “revolution in attitudes” fueling social change (S03EP02)

July 15, 2020

For the past 24 years, renowned Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and book review editor Tony Norman has written about the most pressing issues of the day, proving to be an important and eloquent voice of truth.

 

Tony began his journalism career covering pop culture, eventually serving as the Post-Gazette’s Pop Music and Culture Editor. He is a former editorial board member at the Post-Gazette, and is the current vice president of the board of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

 

He has modestly described himself as “a distracted former political science major,” but he is so much more than that.

 

Tony shares stories of his early days as a pop culture writer in the ‘90s, including the David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails show that changed his career; his reception as the Post-Gazette’s first Black columnist; and the column he wrote that most moved him – and cemented his decision to “always be on the side of the underdogs.”

 

The era we are living in “feels different than any other I’ve lived through, like positive change is possible,” Tony tells host Grant Oliphant. “We are seeing a revolution in attitudes.”

 

He is writer in a time when there is no shortage of things to write about, and his words are trying to help fuel the revolution toward justice.

 

“We Can Be” is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme & incidental music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image by Kurt Weber/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

 

Artist Mikael Owunna reveals inherent beauty, power & dignity of Black & LGBTQ+ bodies (S03EP01)

Artist Mikael Owunna reveals inherent beauty, power & dignity of Black & LGBTQ+ bodies (S03EP01)

July 7, 2020

Mikael Chukwuma Owunna has described himself as a “queer Nigerian-Swedish American photographer, Fulbright Scholar and engineer” who “imagines new universes and realities for marginalized communities around the globe.”

 

Infinite Essence,” Mikael’s exhibition of large-scale photographs presenting glittering Black bodies as gorgeously ethereal universes, has moved audiences at every stop.

 

His recent book,Limitless Africans,” featuring portraits of 50 LGBTQ+ individuals of African descent who are thriving around the world, is a best seller that has garnered rave reviews from NPR, VICE Media, and The New York Times.

 

Mikael tells “We Can Be” host Grant Oliphant that when taking photographs, he aims to create a “space of freedom” between himself and the models, and hopes those viewing the finished images “both see and feel that freedom.”

 

As the Black Lives Matter movement turns into a powerful and visible global movement, Mikael’s art has taken on an even more profound significance, challenging old narratives about both Black and LGBTQ+ bodies, and making clear their power, dignity, and inherent beauty.

 

“We Can Be” is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image by Josh Franzos; header image: "Sam," 2018, Mikael Owunna; ©Mikael Owunna. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

Truth in science advocate Dr. Todd Woylnn on a COVID-19 vaccine & what it unveils about our society (Stronger than This series EP8)

Truth in science advocate Dr. Todd Woylnn on a COVID-19 vaccine & what it unveils about our society (Stronger than This series EP8)

June 11, 2020

Nationally renowned vaccine expert Dr. Todd Wolynn, co-founder of the vaccine-advocacy group Shots Heard Round the World, joins host Grant Oliphant to discuss what the journey to a COVID-19 vaccine could look like, the politicization of mask wearing, and the key role communication skills play in modern-day medicine.

 

The world’s hopes of beating COVID-19 ride on the wide-spread availability and use of an effective vaccine, and Todd knows first-hand the push-back that doctors and communities may face. He gained national renown in 2017 when he posted a video on social media urging parents to vaccinate their children against the human papillomavirus, resulting in an aggressive, organized online attack from anti-vaccination activists from around the world.

 

In addition to his work with Shots Heard Round the World, Todd is CEO and president of Kids Plus Pediatrics; a 2016 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year; and for the past nine years he has been named one of America's Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

 

He is an in-demand expert who speaks around the country on health issues related to children and their families, and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Time Magazine and The New York Times.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. You’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

Emmai Alaquiva on using art to expose truths in historically trying times (Stronger than This series EP7)

Emmai Alaquiva on using art to expose truths in historically trying times (Stronger than This series EP7)

June 5, 2020

Emmy-winning composer, director & photographer Emmai Alaquiva joins host Grant Oliphant to discuss the role of art in fighting “the radical particles that have been dropped in our laps” by the COVD-19 crisis, & protests brought on by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, who were later fired.

 

Emmai is CEO of the media production entity Ya Momz House, which has produced work for clients such as Wiz Khalifa, The Roots, Martha Stewart, and NBC. He serves on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and is a dedicated husband and father with an impressive social media presence.

 

His photography is front and center in his ongoing Optic Voices project, which has opened eyes to race relations, equity movements, oppression, homophobia and xenophobia. Emmai and his camera have been working especially hard during these past few months, creating a record of life during COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

Emmai is a positive force who is using his art and voice to expose truths during historically trying times. Hear about the recent photo that moved him most, why “it’s OK to not be OK” during times like this, and what he’ll tell his kids when they ask, “What did you do?”

 

We’ll be back later this summer with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. You’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin; guest image by Joshua Franzos. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

 

What COVID-19 reveals about food insecurity w/ 412 Food Rescue’s Leah Lizarondo (Stronger than This series #6)

What COVID-19 reveals about food insecurity w/ 412 Food Rescue’s Leah Lizarondo (Stronger than This series #6)

May 21, 2020

Global Leadership Award winner Leah Lizarondo, founder & CEO of 412 Food Rescue, talks with host Grant Oliphant about what COVID-19 reveals about food insecurity, the “Mister Rogers mentality” that drives the largest volunteer-led food transport network in the nation, and how movie star Michael Keaton has helped spur record volunteer involvement during the current crisis.

 

Melding technology, logistics and civic engagement to fight hunger and promote sustainability, 412 Food Rescue has become the fastest-growing food recovery entity in the country, diverting more than 10 million pounds of perfectly good food from waste to organizations that help those who are food insecure.

 

Born in the Philippines and currently residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leah earned her master’s degree in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, where she holds the position of Entrepreneur in Residence. Leah and 412 Food Rescue have been featured in media pieces by NPR, Fast Company, Martha Stewart Living, and The Washington Post.

 

In addition to a 2020 Global Leadership Award from Vital Voices, an honor whose past winners include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Melinda Gates and Malala Yousafzai, Leah has received a 2019 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge award, given annually to five women from around the world who are advancing the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. You’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image courtesy of Vital Voices. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

 

Air quality & COVID-19 w/ Clean Air Task Force’s John Graham  (Stronger than This series EP5)

Air quality & COVID-19 w/ Clean Air Task Force’s John Graham (Stronger than This series EP5)

May 8, 2020

Dr. John Graham, a senior scientist with the Clean Air Task Force, talks with host Grant Oliphant about the effects COVID-19 is having on the air we breathe, why this is an “exceptional moment” for air quality, and what the current “war on expertise” could mean for our future.

 

A San Francisco Bay Area resident, John grew up in the rural dairy farm community of Glenn Falls, New York, and holds a doctorate in atmospheric science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s in chemistry from Harvard University.

 

A nationally respected expert in air quality data analysis, he has been with Boston-based Clean Air Task Force for more than a decade, working with his colleagues to help prevent catastrophic climate change by driving technology innovation, policy change, and realistic solutions.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. You’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

 

Kids & COVID-19 w/ Patrick Dowd, Exec. Dir. Allies for Children (Stronger than This series EP4)

Kids & COVID-19 w/ Patrick Dowd, Exec. Dir. Allies for Children (Stronger than This series EP4)

May 1, 2020

Patrick Dowd, executive director of Allies for Children, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the myriad of ways COVID-19 is affecting our young people, including hunger, access to technology, the health and well-being of their parents, child care – and the action needed to prepare for what’s next.

 

A bold voice for policy and practice changes that improve the well-being of children, Patrick was raised in Missouri and put down roots in Pittsburgh after earning his doctorate in European history from the University of Pittsburgh.

 

A teacher for nearly a decade before making the move into the policy world, Patrick served in prominent roles on both Pittsburgh’s school board and City Council. He is a nationally respected expert in the education realm, a role that comes naturally to this father of six.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. You’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by  Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme and incidental music by Josh Slifkin. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org

Redirecting anger into action w/ Monica Ruiz, ED of Latino advocacy entity Casa San Jose (Stronger than This series EP3)

Redirecting anger into action w/ Monica Ruiz, ED of Latino advocacy entity Casa San Jose (Stronger than This series EP3)

April 24, 2020

Monica Ruiz, executive director of Latino advocacy entity Casa San Jose, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the unique ways COVID-19 is affecting immigrant and refugee communities, why the census is key to changing the narrative around Latinos, and the teachable moments that the current crisis offers us.

 

Born in Cleveland Ohio and with family roots in Guatemala and Puerto Rico, where her parents are originally from, Monica has a master’s degree in social work with a focus on community organizing and social action. She fights for those facing deportation proceedings, and brings compassion and expertise to projects that help women, children and youth. In 2019, she received both the Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, and the César Chávez Community Heroes Award.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. With several new episodes each week, you’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme and incidental music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image by Josh Franzos. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

The moral lessons of COVID-19 w/ Dr. Andre Perry, Brookings Institution scholar & Know Your Price author.  (Stronger than This series EP2)

The moral lessons of COVID-19 w/ Dr. Andre Perry, Brookings Institution scholar & Know Your Price author. (Stronger than This series EP2)

April 22, 2020

Brookings Institution scholar and author Dr. Andre Perry joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the moral lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis, why black and brown people are dying from the virus at a vastly disproportionate rate, and why hearing from his son’s teacher gives him hope.

 

Andre is an internationally acclaimed voice on race and equity. He is a columnist for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in in-depth education reporting, and his writing also regularly appears in The Nation, The New York Times and The Washington Post. His upcoming book is titled “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities(Brookings Institution Press, May 19, 2020).

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. With several new episodes each week, you’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” series is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme and incidental music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image by Josh Franzos. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

Art in times of crisis w/ 1Hood Media Co-Founder/CEO Jasiri X  (Stronger than This series EP1)

Art in times of crisis w/ 1Hood Media Co-Founder/CEO Jasiri X (Stronger than This series EP1)

April 17, 2020

Artist/activist Jasiri X, co-founder/CEO of 1Hood Media, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the role of art in times of crisis, why COVID-19 lays bare a historic distrust of the medical system by people of color, & the reality that many who are deemed “essential workers” do not make a living wage.

 

Jasiri X is leading 1Hood Media — a collective of socially conscious artists and activists who use art as a means of raising awareness about social justice issues — in its response to the COVID-19 crisis. He is the recipient of an “Artist as Activist” fellowship at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Chicago Theological Seminary, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also received an honorary doctorate.

 

We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. With new episodes each week, you’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely and within social distancing guidelines — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.

 

The “Stronger than This” special series is hosted by  Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments and Treehouse Media. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest image by Joshua Franzos. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org