We discuss how to make opportunities in the health and wellness industries more accessible to people of all backgrounds. The group Yoga 4 A Good Hood works to “create a space of healing for people of color and individuals with low socioeconomic status through yoga and more.” Members are bringing their practices to locations throughout Rochester in order to make yoga more inclusive.

We also discuss health disparities among different communities, how to create an accessible food culture (especially in areas where there are food deserts), and the value of culturally-sensitive nutrition advice. In studio:

  • Imani Olear, founder of Yoga 4 A Good Hood
  • Ashley Cowart, yoga teacher trainer with Yoga 4 A Good Hood
  • Danielle Ponder, criminal defense attorney, board member for Yoga 4 A Good Hood, and lead singer of Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People
  • Kameron Rowe, registered dietitian

A new play on stage at the JCC CenterStage is generating conversations about race in America. “Division Street” is the latest project by playwright Jason Odell Williams. It tells the story of an interracial couple in Hollywood after the white husband is nominated for a Golden Globe for playing a racist police officer.

The play explores a range of issues, including race relations, cultural appropriation, and which voices are elevated in Hollywood and how. We discuss those issues with our guests:

We’re joined by Nanette D. Massey, a writer and diversity and inclusion trainer. Massey lives in Buffalo, but will be in Rochester for several upcoming events during which she’ll educate audiences about racism, white fragility, and more.

She recently wrote an op-ed for the Democrat and Chronicle and USA Today, responding to a local business coach who expressed his frustration as an “old white guy” who is “increasingly blamed for all the ills of society, both real and imagined.”

Massey joins us in studio to discuss her process and how she facilitates conversations about race. In studio:

  • Nanette D. Massey, writer and diversity and inclusion trainer

A new play on stage at Geva Theatre Center explores the history and current state of race relations in America through the perspectives of two very different women. “The Niceties” is an explosive and provocative look at the relationship between a white history professor and a driven black student as they discuss who controls the narrative in American history, and how that narrative has shaped their experiences.

We sit down with the cast and members of the production team to talk about the play, and the role of discomfort when it comes to examining our own lives and privilege. In studio:

“Torture is an open secret in Chicago. Nobody in power wants to acknowledge this grim reality, but everyone knows it happens—and that the torturers are the police.”

That’s the opening of the summary of a new book called “The Torture Letters” written by Princeton University anthropology professor Laurence Ralph. Ralph is a social scientist who studies police violence and race in the United States.

He’s in Rochester as a guest of the University of Rochester, where he’ll give a lecture Wednesday evening. We talk to him about his research, and about police-community relations in American cities. In studio:

  • Laurence Ralph, professor of anthropology, and director of the Center on Transnational Policing at Princeton University; and author of “Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago,” and “The Torture Letters”

The United States lost a civil rights leader this week, with the passing of longtime Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. We discuss does his legacy, as well as the importance of African American representation in government.

Our guests:

  • Larry Knox, political and community engagement coordinator for 1199 SEIU 
  • Michelle Daniels, super Democratic volunteer
  • Paul Hypolite, political strategist
  • Tianna Mañón, publicist, journalist, and political analyst
  • Robert Hoggard, doctoral student at the Warner School of Education, and development associate at Rochester Regional Health

The Town of Pittsford is preparing for an election, and it’s embroiled in a debate over segregation and housing policy. We invited candidates from both parties, as well as town leaders who are on opposing sides of the housing dispute. Our guests are the only ones who replied to our multiples requests for interviews.

In studio:

The Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) is making strides in addressing systemic racism in the community. The program – run through the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center – is working with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Its teams work with local companies and organizations to begin or deeper conversations about race, review policies and procedures related to diversity and inclusion, and identify systemic barriers that need to be addressed.

This hour, we sit down with leaders from the REJI to discuss their work, their progress to date, and the challenges they see in the community. In studio:

How are race, culture, and architecture connected? The question is the focus of an upcoming presentation at the University of Rochester led by Bryan C. Lee, Jr. Lee is a design justice advocate whose work focuses on creating spaces that are equitable and accessible to people of all backgrounds.

He’s in Rochester to speak about the policies and practices he thinks will be most effective in creating those spaces. He joins us to explore his ideas, and we discuss how they can be applied to our community. In studio:

  • Bryan C. Lee, Jr., design justice advocate and the director of the New Orleans-based design-justice nonprofit Colloqate
  • Kathryn Mariner, assistant professor in the University of Rochester’s Anthropology Department and Visual and Cultural Studies program
  • Nana-Yaw Andoh, assistant professor of architecture at RIT, and board member for the Community Design Center Rochester

John Calia says he’s tired of being blamed for all the ills of society, simply because he’s an older white man. He wrote a piece for the Democrat & Chronicle, arguing that the generalizations about white men are unfair and harmful. Calia is an executive coach and author, and he’s hoping his views will spark a conversation about better ways to discuss race in America. Frank Staropoli is also an older white man, and he’s the author of the blog "A White Guy in Rochester." Staropoli has a very different view.

Our guests sit down together to debate it. In studio: