In 2017 I created a podcast, Relatus.
After leaving school counseling I felt overwhelmed and hopeless by the amount of systemic racism and gaps in opportunities for young people of color nationwide, but especially in Chicago, where I worked. Combine that with my love for the intersection of narrative and data, and Relatus was born. Each episode is a little different, but most contain an interview with a student I met while working at a school on the West side. These young people had perspectives and stories that they wanted to share in order to shed light on some larger, systemic problems, and we always come back to how these systems affect education.
Almost three years later these gaps still exist, some more profoundly. Since then our country has seen righteous anger directed at many of these same inequities take center stage, rightfully so. The topics we covered in Relatus, from grief to criminal (in)justice to housing and mental health and sexual health, deserve continued conversation and attention.
Revisiting Relatus, there are many things I would do differently. Mainly, much less of my voice. We have all-too-often seen whiteness centered in these conversations on racial inequities, and I wish I could go back and interview more voices of those doing the work on the front lines of advocacy looking for a platform to tell their stories. But there is a fine line, because we (I'm thinking white people, white educators specifically) also shouldn't rely on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) to do emotional labor for us because WE feel bad or WE feel uncomfortable. All that goes to say, we have to continue to learn, grow and reflect.
For that reason, I'm putting Relatus in a google drive folder for hopefully more widespread use and consumption (and because my subscription to Soundcloud expired). I'm working on an "Episode Guide" that will accompany each episode, full of updated data, directions for more learning and processing questions. That piece is coming soon, but in the meantime, enjoy Relatus! There are some audio issues with episode 2 and the accompanying footnotes, so until I can problem-solve these you can enjoy the following episodes here:
Episode 1: Tyroni - introduction to Relatus, and the seed from which it grew
Episode 3: Tashawn - grief
Episode 4: Keyanna - criminal justice
Episode 5: Je'la - housing
Episode 6: DeVon - mental health
Episode 7: Rakia - sexual health
Episode 8: Conclusion - season wrap-up and teacher appreciation
One more thing - in a few of the episodes I allude to season 2 ("don't worry, we'll talk about that more in season 2!"). Well, season 2 never happened. I have so many ideas and assorted interviews and audio that might, someday, result in more Relatus, or something akin. But for now, I'm practicing my audio editing and Garageband-music-creating skills, and would love to hear your ideas for future interviews or directions for research. Keep in touch!