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WYPR Programs

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,

With the Baltimore City Council, the Mayor, the Police Chief and the City States Attorney advocating for mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession, a conversation about incarceration, race, and criminal justice. African Americans are 6x more likely to imprisoned for drug charges, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates. Overall, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites? How did we get here? What laws and policy shaped our bias criminal justice system, and what role did African American political, law enforcement and religious leaders play in shaping that system? James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at the Yale Law School and the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

Sheri Parks is an Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of MD College Park, where she is also an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies. She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman. 

On the pilot episode of Life in the Balance, we meet Danny Miller, a man sentenced to thirty years in prison at the age of seventeen after a fight with a friend turned deadly. When he gets out early on parol, he struggles to find a job in a society that seems more determined than ever to keep him on the sidelines. Host Aaron Henkin listens to Danny's life story - along with a panel of experts on post-incarceration - and asks, how and why does a man find himself in this situation, and what can we do to help?

Guests on this episode include: 

We meet author and illustrator Jonathan Scott Fuqua, who watched scores of students graduate with college degrees in art -- along with so much debt that paying it down crippled their ability to start art careers. Fuqua and his co-founders, Alex Fine and Greg Houston, set out to offer a much cheaper school alternative, = offering classes more like an apprenticeship, instead of degree-based. Thus, The Baltimore Academy of Illustration opened in 2015. It’s taught about 250 students, including Jim Zimmerman, a full-time electrician -- he tells us how he's reviving his artistic skills and interests, making a dream come true.

MikeRowe.com

(This program was originally broadcast on September 21, 2016)

Mike Rowe joins Midday host Tom Hall to talk about rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work in some of the hardest professions on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and later on Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which aired on CNN from 2014 until May 2016.

These days, in addition to hosting a podcast called The Way I Heard It, Mike has turned his focus to closing the skills gap by providing scholarships through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, for people who want to learn a skill or trade that is in high demand. Mike says the desire to start the foundation came from meeting thousands of skilled workers who make good livings and are passionate about their careers. Many of the folks he shadowed did not have advanced degrees, a point that isn’t missed on Mike. He says as a society we put too much emphasis on obtaining a four-year degree as the only path to success and not enough on obtaining a skill set in a specific vocation that could lead to a successful career.

Mike also shares how he got his big break into showbiz when Tom Hall hired him for an opera in 1983.

Bill Barry

Before there were Labor Day barbecues and Labor Day sales, there was Labor--workers in the 19th century pushing for an eight-hour day and safe conditions as the U.S. economy was transforming itself from one of small enterprises to one dominated by industrial corporations. Labor historian Bill Barry tells us the roots of the holiday, still reflected when people gather for Labor Day picnics and parades. Follow this link to information about Labor Day events in Maryland, and watch this History Channel video for another quick lesson about US worker history.

Stoop Story teller Megann Shutt talks about moving back to Baltimore, and her job that began as a labor of love, then took a turn for the worse. Such is life ... as a duck! You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Doug Mills/NY Times

(This program originally aired on May 17, 2017.) 

Our country is becoming increasingly diverse. People of color will outnumber non-Latino, white Americans in 30 years. Are our newsrooms representative of our increasingly diverse nation? It’s a question that news organizations are grappling with across the country. Last month, NPR’s Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen published a report that said that in 2016, of the 350 employees in the NPR news division 75.4 percent were white. In the commentary Jensen wrote "There's simply no way around it: If the goal is to increase diversity in the newsroom, last year's was a disappointing showing” 

Last December, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd published a frank piece about the lack of diversity in their newsroom. Of course NPR and the New York Times are not alone. In 2014, minorities made up 22 percent of television journalists, 13 percent of radio journalists, and 13 percent of journalists at daily newspapers. That’s according to the Radio Television Digital News Association and the American Society of News Editors. People of color make up about 15% of the programming staff at WYPR.

Courtesy BrainFutures

The human brain and new ways to understand, support and work with it will be the focus when scores of researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs gather in Maryland next week for the second BrainFutures conference. Today we’ll speak with researcher and entrepreneur Cori Lathan, co-founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, whose app helps medics track the brain health of deployed soldiers and Dr. Naomi Steiner, a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine who uses neurofeedback to help students overcome attention challenges. Plus, we ask Professor Michelle Carlson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about her studies of senior citizens who tutor young kids. 

Courtesy CHANA website

There are more senior citizens every year, and more are victims of elder abuse -- last year 6, 300 cases were investigated in Maryland. The abuse can be financial, physical, sexual, emotional--or just neglect. We talk to Valarie Colmore, of Adult Protective Services are the Maryland Department of Human Resources and Nancy Aiken, executive director of the domestic-violence resource CHANA about who commits elder abuse, who should report it and how and what might prevent it. The toll-free state hotline to report elder abuse is 1-800-917-7323 and CHANA’s number is 410-234-0030. This program originally aired 6/12/17.

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

 (We originally aired this program on June 28, 2017.)

There's no shortage of think pieces exploring the ways Millennials -- that is, folks born between 1981 and 1996 -- differ from older generations. Those pieces often describe a generation of entitled, lazy, participation-trophy babies.  But some experts say that perception is wrong and reflects our society's misunderstanding of Millennials and their relationship with technology. 

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