Maryland Morning

Photo by Rob Sivak

This week, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has convened two groups of emerging arts leaders for workshops around the idea of combating bigotry. The Undoing Racism workshop explores how institutional racism has come to be firmly ensconced in American culture, and what it will take to get rid of it.

The workshop is presented by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Trainers from the organization, which is based in New Orleans, travel around the country facilitating the workshop is various cities with the hope of dismantling the power systems that perpetuate race inequality. 

Kimberley Richards and Rachael Ibrahim, trainers from the People's Institute and A. Adar Ayira, a local artist and poet who is on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action, all join Tom in-studio to discuss the impact of individual behavior on advancing or attenuating bigotry in institutions across the spectrum of American life, and ways in which racism can be undone.

Jessica Anya Blau

Just in time for the summer, Jessica Anya Blau is back with a new book The Trouble with Lexie. Lexie, the book’s protagonist, is a counselor at an elite private school in New England. Things get wild when her search for happiness lands her in some unexpected trouble. 

Jessica joins Tom in-studio to talk about The Trouble with Lexie, her writing process and seeing herself in her characters. 

Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies

It’s time for another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series of conversations in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. 

Dr. Christopher Leighton is retiring after more than 30 years as executive director of the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, a nonprofit organization that promotes religious tolerance.  Dr. Leighton's successor at the helm of ICJS is Dr. Heather Miller Rubens.  A specialist in Roman Catholic affairs, she and Dr. Leighton join Tom in-studio to reflect on the group's legacy and its mission going forward. 

Then, the discussion turns to the dark challenge posed by religious extremism, one of the apparent motivating forces behind the Orlando mass shooting, the Paris attacks and other recent acts of terror. Dr. Homayra Ziad, an Islamic scholar at ICJS, and Dr. Benjamin Sax, the group's Jewish scholar, join Tom, Dr. Leighton and Dr. Rubens to discuss how people of faith should respond to acts of violence carried out in the name of God, and how communities of faith can work to counter emerging cultures of hate. 

Olney Theatre Center

If you didn’t know that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote “Evita” four decades ago, you might think this musical about the role of celebrity in politics was brand new.

The idea of a celebrity running for office is the overriding theme of Olney Theatre Center’s re-imagined, eye-opening production of this musical look at the life of former Argentine first lady Eva Peron.

Unlike director Harold Prince’s original interpretation of the show as an examination of media manipulation, at Olney we see Evita manufacturing her own fame and using it to catapult her husband, Juan Peron, to the presidency.

A microphone on a stand becomes a major prop in director Will Davis’ inspired interpretation. Commandeer the mike, get into power, win over the people – as Evita does – and you can tell them just about anything.

The Baltimore African-American Festival is celebrating 40 years. To mark the occasion festival organizers are bringing in  some big names like Common, Vivica Fox, Estelle and Mary Mary. 

There will also be interactive activities focusing on health and wellness, financial literacy and police-community relations.

Shelonda Stokes, president and CEO of greiBO entertainment, and Joe Maye, singer from The Voice on NBC, both join Tom in-studio to discuss the festival. greiBo was hired by the city to plan the events. 

This morning we're taking a closer look at Thursday's verdict in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson -- the 17-year Baltimore police veteran who drove the van in which Freddie Gray suffered his fatal neck injury in April, 2015. Goodson was found not guilty of second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment.

To unpack Judge Williams' verdict, we turn once again to our legal eagles, practicing attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros, and WYPR's own Kenneth Burns.  They all join Tom in-studio to discuss a trial that many legal experts had called the most significant of the six criminal trials related to the death of Freddie Gray.

Johns Hopkins University

The United Kingdom will depart the European Union after 52% of British, Irish and Commonwealth residents living in the UK cast their "leave" ballot in yesterday's referendum. Also eligible to vote were British citizens who left the UK within the past 15 years. Polls found that voters were torn on the decision, with the one side advocating that leaving the EU would secure borders, while the other side claimed that remaining in the EU would secure a strong economy.  Following the referendum, the EU will consist of 27 countries. 

The EU has evolved over many decades.  Its roots go back to shortly after World War II, when  Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands formed a union as they sought stability through increased trade.  The UK formally joined the coalition on Jan. 1, 1973.  Only two years later, the British held a referendum very similar to yesterday's vote -- and decided to remain in the union, which back then was called the European Economic Community, or EEC. It became the EU in 1993 when the Maastricht Treaty  came into effect; it also established the euro as the common currency used by most EU countries.  The UK never adopted the euro -- instead, it still uses the British pound. 

Sydney Van Morgan, director of the International Studies Program and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, joins Tom in-studio to discuss how the UK's decision to leave the EU might impact British-American relations.

Dave Wetty, Cloud Prime Photography

Dr. Carol Anderson is the chair of the African-American Studies Department at Emory University, and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

According to Anderson, racial discord and inequality in America is the product of white reaction and opposition to any progress made by people of color.  To support her argument, Anderson points to the white southern reaction to reconstruction efforts following the Civil War, Supreme Court decisions in the 1970s that undermined Brown v. Board of Education, the war on drugs and ongoing voter suppression efforts. 

Dr. Anderson joins Tom in-studio to discuss White Rage and how racial animus towards black and brown people in America perpetuates inequality. 

Monica Reinagel; Hungry Harvest

An estimated six billion pounds of produce are thrown away every year in the United States. That's enough to fill up four NFL stadiums. Half of that massive volume of fruits and vegetables doesn't even make it to grocery store shelves because commercial sorters and packers consider imperfectly shaped or slightly blemished produce to be too "ugly" to sell.

To combat this monumental food waste and redirect perfectly edible produce to markets -- and consumers -- that need it, recent University of Maryland graduate Evan Lutz established Hungry Harvest. The non-profit "recovers" this discarded produce from local farms, food wholesalers, and packing houses and boxes and delivers it to paying subscribers. For every box purchased, the program also delivers fresh produce to a family in need.

In this month's Smart Nutrition segment, Lutz and our regular Nutrition Diva Monica Reinagel join Tom in-studio to discuss Hungry Harvest's market-based strategies to end waste and improve equity in the nation's food system.

Sheri Parks

Sheri Parks is a culture critic, associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park.

She joins Tom to discuss the massacre in Orlando and how issues of terrorism, gun control and bigotry against the LGBTQ, Latino and the Muslim communities intersect.  Dr. Parks also discusses presidential politics and how President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and other politicians are reacting to the Orlando massacre. 

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