Can Vermont end gun violence?

2018 was the year that shook the nation–and Vermont–when it comes to gun violence and gun safety. Following the shooting deaths of 17 high school students in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, high school students around the country mobilized, walked out, and demanded change. When a planned Vermont school shooting was thwarted, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) reversed his past opposition and signed three new gun safety laws, the most comprehensive in state history. UVM sophomore Grace Walter describes how the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 28 people affected her and her hometown of Newtown, CT; Dr. Rebecca Bell discusses the role of guns in suicide and what young suicide survivors have told her; Sen. Philip Baruth outlines new gun laws being proposed in the Vermont legislature, and Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director of GunSense Vermont, discusses her own experience as a survivor of gun violence and the new focus of the gun safety movement. (February 20, 2019 broadcast)

Grace Walter, U. of Vermont sophomore from Newtown, CT, gun safety activist

Dr. Rebecca Bell, pediatric critical care physician, UVM Medical Center, vice president of Vt chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, asst. prof. of pediatrics, UVM Larner College of Medicine

Sen. Philp Baruth (D-Chittenden County), author of gun safety legislation

Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director, GunSense Vermont

What Patagonia can teach the world: Director of Philosophy Vincent Stanley on suing Trump & running a business with values

Vincent Stanley has been with Patagonia, the iconic outdoor clothing company, since its beginning in 1973, for many of those years in key executive roles as head of sales or marketing. He is co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years. He currently serves as the company’s Director, Patagonia Philosophy, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry. He discusses the challenge of running a value-based business, why Patagonia is suing Pres. Donald Trump, and what the future holds for America’s best known socially responsible business. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)

Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia Philosophy

“The other Vermont” vs. special interests: Vt. Senate President Tim Ashe

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe launched the 2019-2020 legislative biennium with a challenge to his colleagues: “I challenge each of you, and I challenge myself, to never let go of this one question: what can we do to improve life in the other Vermont?” Ashe describes “the near complete takeover of the legislative process by special interests” that inspired his challenge. He also discusses his proposal to reduce Vermont’s incarceration rate and end the use of out-of-state prisons, legalize and tax marijuana sales, and speculates on whether this session will end in a raft of vetoes by Gov. Phil Scott as it did in 2018. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe

 

#MeToo aftermath: A Vermont story of challenging the culture of sexual harassment & assault

In June 2018, Stowe entrepreneur Lisa Senecal broke her nondisclosure agreement by publishing an explosive account of her sexual assault and harassment by Craig DeLuca, president of Inntopia. Her story, “The NDA Protected Our Predator. I’m Breaking My Silence, Because Women Deserve Better,” appeared in the Daily Beast. Senecal discusses the fallout of her revelations, a subsequent lawsuit by another woman against DeLuca and Inntopia, and the role of men in ending the culture of sexual harassment and assault. Senecal is a co-founder of The Maren Group and a member of the Vermont Commission on Women. She also serves on the board for the Stowe Education Fund and the Clarina Howard Nichols Center which serves survivors of domestic violence and their families. (February 6, 2019 broadcast)

Lisa Senecal, co-founder, The Maren Group, member, Vt Commission on Women

How enriching the 1% impoverishes communities of color

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies highlights how a racial wealth divide has grown between white households and households of color over the past three decades. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, white household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation. This is documented in Dreams Deferred: How Enriching The 1% Widens The Racial Wealth Divide. If this trajectory continues, by 2050 the median white family will have $174,000 of wealth, while Latino median wealth will be $8,600 and black median wealth will be $600–falling to zero wealth by 2082. We speak with the co-author of the report about how we got here, and how to address this disparity. (February 6, 2019 broadcast)

Josh Hoxie, director, Project on Opportunity and Taxation, Institute for Policy Studies

Gov. Scott’s 2019 VT budget proposal: Do the numbers add up?

In his January budget address, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott declared that Vermont has a demographic crisis. He has proposed a range of solutions, including paying young workers $5,000 to move to the state. He also announced that he is abandoning his longstanding pledge against raising taxes and fees in order to raise funds to fight e-cigarette abuse. We talk with Stephanie Yu of the Public Assets Institute about whether the governor’s numbers add up, and explore who is thriving and struggling in Vermont today, inequality, school funding, and other issues. (January 30, 2019 broadcast)

Stephanie Yu, deputy director, Public Assets Institute

Rep. Tom Stevens on the Fight for $15, paid family leave, VT National Guard controversies & Gov. Scott

Rep. Tom Stevens is chair of the Vermont House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs, He was elected in 2008 as state rep for Waterbury, Huntington, Buel’s Gore & Bolton. He  has served as Chair of the Waterbury Select Board and President of the Waterbury Village Trustees. Tom is President of the board of Downstreet Housing and Community Development. This year, Stevens was named Legislator of the Year by VBSR. He discusses prospects for a $15 minimum wage, paid family, allegations of sexual abuse at the Vt National Guard, and new political dynamics with Gov. Phil Scott. (January 30, 2019 broadcast)

Rep. Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury), chair, House Comm. on General, Housing and Military Affairs

Could carbon pricing save money & the planet?

A long awaited report on carbon pricing from the Vermont Legislature’s nonpartisan Joint Fiscal Office Leg’s was released this week. It’s key conclusion is that carbon pricing could enable Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without adversely impacting low-income residents or the state’s overall economy. The report was followed by a press conference of 25 organizations representing youth, low-income, business, public health, environment presenting a Climate Action Plan for Vermont legislators to advance. We discuss the new impetus for carbon pricing and other climate change strategies in the Vermont legislature. (January 23, 2019 broadcast)

Johanna Miller, Energy & Climate Action Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Tom Hughes, Campaign Director, Energy Independent Vermont

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, chair, VT House Government Operations Committee

Has the time come for paid family leave?

Paid family leave — passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2018 ,only to be vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott — is back on the front burner. Gov. Scott has proposed a voluntary two-state program with New Hampshire, and the legislature has countered with mandatory paid leave. Why does paid family leave matter? Can the two sides bridge the gap to pass paid family leave in 2019? (January 23, 2019 broadcast)

How Vermont craft beer took over America

Vermont craft beer is taking over America. Vermont now leads the nation with 11.5 breweries per 100,000 adults, according to the Brewers Association. Vermont brewers produce over 150 pints of beer for every person in the state of legal drinking age (21+). Montana and Maine are tied for a distant second place. Vermont craft breweries add $681 per adult to the state economy. How did this small Vermont industry come to lead the nation? We discuss the rise and of craft beer and changing tastes with two beer connoisseurs and entrepreneurs who have front row bar stools to Vermont’s libation revolution. (January 16, 2019 broadcast)

Dave Juenker, co-owner, Blackback Pub, Waterbury, VT

Ari Fishman, co-owner, Zenbarn, Waterbury Center, VT

 

How does a small state tackle global climate change? Suncommon’s Duane Peterson tells how

How does one of the smallest states tackle one of the world’s most urgent problems? How can Vermont attract young workers? And how does a former cop lead a business that progressive millennial workers flock to? Duane Peterson, co-founder of Suncommon, Vermont’s largest solar business, offers his insights. Peterson is a former LA cop, aide to California State Sen. Tom Hayden, justice department official, and values-led business practitioner. The unifying theme in Peterson’s work has been organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change. He moved to Vermont in 1996 to work at Ben & Jerry’s as Ben Cohen’s Chief of Stuff, then left to launch SunCommon to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe, in-state energy. A Certified BCorp, SunCommon has over 100 workers. In September 2015, Duane received VBSR’s Terry Ehrich Award for his commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community. (January 16, 2019 broadcast)

Duane Peterson, co-founder, Suncommon

The Advocates: Vermont’s public interest groups mobilize for change

Will 2019-2020 bring Vermont paid family leave, $15 minimum wage, smart justice reform, stronger protection from toxic chemicals and clean water? These are some of the goals of advocates for social, economic and environmental justice who have descended on the Vermont State House pressing for change on these and other issues in the new legislative biennium. We hold a roundtable discussion with leaders from some of Vermont’s key advocacy groups to hear about their priorities and strategies for the 2019-2020 legislative session. (January 9, 2019 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group 

Lauren Hierl, executive director, Vermont Conservation Voters

Kate Logan, director of programming & policy, Rights & Democracy

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

 

From homeless teen to newspaper editor: Steve Pappas finds his voice

Steven M. Pappas is the editor of the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, two of Vermont’s leading daily newspapers. Born and raised in Vermont, Pappas has not taken an easy road to journalism. Raised by his grandparents, Pappas was a successful high school student in Woodstock, Vt, but he hid a dark secret: he was homeless. Pappas recounts his odyssey through homelessness, being discovered by the school superintendent, and ultimately attending a journalism program at the University of Maine. He also discusses the attacks on journalists during the Trump era and his concerns for the safety of his staff, and the future of print journalism in Vermont. (January 2, 2019 broadcast)

Steve Pappas, editor, Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

How to get 67¢ back from every $1: The power of Buying Local

A new study shows that for every $1 spent at a locally-owned business, 67¢ stays in the local community. In the age of online shopping and big box stories, Buying Local has become a powerful rallying cry to strengthen local communities and sustain vibrant downtowns. We talk with two experts on the power of Buying Local, and hear about a Buy Local coupon book that saves shoppers $3,000 on local purchases in Vermont. (December 19, 2018 broadcast)

Melissa Kosmaczewski, program manager, Local First Vermont, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Michael DeSanto, co-owner, Phoenix Books

Rusty DeWees: How a Vt actor became The Logger

Rusty DeWees is an entertainer, comedian, actor, producer, writer, musician and, as many Vermonters know him, The Logger. The Logger is one-man comedy show that DeWees describes as “Blue Collar Comedy” meets “Prairie Home Companion.” DeWees discusses how he went from a kid growing up in Stowe, Vt., to acting in New York City, and what brought him back to the Green Mountains. He also talks about how he decided to parody rural Vermonters, teaching comedy to kids, and where the line is between humor and offense. (December 19, 2018 broadcast)

Rusty DeWees, actor, The Logger

Warriors to end wars: Veterans for peace

As The US has been embroiled in numerous foreign wars in the last few decades, some of the most passionate activists for peace have been military veterans. Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace (Rutgers University Press, 2018), by Michael Messner, tells the story of these veterans. We speak with these veterans about what transformed them into fighters for peace. (December 12, 2018 broadcast)

Daniel Craig, US Army, Gulf War

Jonathan Hutto, US Navy, Operation Iraqi Freedom

Ken Mayers, US Marines, Vietnam War

Michael Messner, professor of sociology and gender studies, University of Southern California, author, Guys Like Me

 

The Fighting Mayor: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Puerto Rico’s struggle & challenging Trump

When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, President Donald Trump minimized the damage and visited the island, famously tossing rolls of paper towels to desperate residents. By contrast, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz emerged as a hero, wading through flood waters to speak with residents and charging Trump and his administration of “killing us with inefficiency.” Trump subsequently attacked Cruz. Cruz was elected mayor of San Juan in 2012. A graduate of Boston University and Carnegie Mellon, she came to national attention following the hurricane, appearing frequently on national and international television. As Trump congratulated himself, Cruz pleaded for help in numerous media interviews. We spoke with Mayor Cruz about Puerto Rico’s recovery, the consequences of standing up, and why she says “Trump sucks as president.” (December 5, 2018 broadcast)

Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

What could you do with a few thousand dollars? Author Bob Friedman says you can change the world

What would you do with a few thousand dollars? Author Bob Friedman argues that you could transform your life, and the world, with an investment like this in his new book A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone (The New Press, 2018). Friedman is chair emeritus of Prosperity Now, formerly the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national economic development nonprofit founded in 1979. He helped create the US micro-enterprise and savings and asset-building fields and the international enterprise development and child savings fields. (December 5, 2018 broadcast)

Robert Friedman, author, A Few Thousand Dollars

Is welfare reform killing women? Felicia Kornbluh on the female face of poverty

Has welfare reform, passed in 1996 with bipartisan consensus between Pres. Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress, been an attack on women? That is the argument made by Dr. Felicia Kornbluh in her new book, with Gwendolyn Mink, Ensuring Poverty: Welfare Reform in Feminist Perspective (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Kornbluh is Associate Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Vermont.  She is a member of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and has served as a member of the Vermont Commission on Women. Kornbluh argues that welfare reform has actually shortened women’s lives, and that its new incarnation under Pres. Donald Trump will make matters worse. She discusses her role as a scholar-activist and the new book that she is writing about her mother’s efforts to win abortion rights in the 1970s. (November 28, 2018 broadcast) 

Dr. Felicia Kornbluh, professor, University of Vermont, author, Ensuring Poverty

Fighting for a Green New Deal: Bill McKibben on midterm elections, unnatural disasters & Boston Red Sox

Author and activist Bill McKibben spent fall 2018 barnstorming the country for progressive candidates and a Green New Deal. He talks about the pulse of climate change activism around the US, his take on the midterm elections and what to expect from the 2018 Blue Wave. He also discusses threats to his life, which he wrote about in an op-ed for the NY Times, “Let’s agree not to kill one another.”. Finally, McKibben, a lifelong Red Sox fan, holds forth on whether the 2018 World Series champions are the greatest baseball team of all time. (November 14, 2018 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, author, activist, co-founder of global grassroots climate group 350.org

Is philanthropy racist? Edgar Villanueva on decolonizing wealth

“Philanthropy has evolved to mirror colonial structures, ultimately doing more harm than good,” argues Edgar Villanueva in his new book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Villanueava is a nationally recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, and the vice president of programs and advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Villanueva insists that philanthropy is “racism in institutional form.” He offers seven steps to restoring harmony and centering people who are at the margins into decisionmaking roles. (November 14, 2018 broadcast)

Edgar Villanueva, philanthropist & author, Decolonizing Wealth

Can we find common ground? Inclusion, diversity & nationalism

Does diversity matter? We discuss this with Dr. Jude Smith Rachele, an expert in the area of diversity, unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and cultural competence. She has designed programs to help professionals display inclusive behaviors and to understand and respond respectfully to various cultural traditions, behaviors and values. Rachele’s skills were put to the test when multiple callers to this show (at 39 minutes) challenged the notion that the term “nationalist,” which Pres. Trump identifies himself as, refers to white nationalists. A debate and discussion with callers about nationalism follows. Rachele is an Adjunct Professor at Marlboro College in its MBA program in Managing for Sustainability. She is CEO of Abundant Sun. (October 24, 2018 broadcast)

Dr. Jude Smith Rachele, CEO, Abundant Sun

Social media for small business: What works?

What’s the most effective way for a business to do social media? What types of business can benefit from social media engagement? What type of content is best? This show explores the best practices in social media. Three experts share their advice and experience. (October 10, 2018 broadcast)

Valerie Solof Monette, Breezy Hill Marketing

Tara Pereira, communications director, Vermont Fresh Network

Samantha Sheehan, communications manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out: Breaking the school-to-prison pipeline

In 2008, Chelsea Fraser, 13, was doodling on her desk. The eighth grader was sent to the principal’s office along with three African American classmates. But instead of being reprimanded, the four students were marched out of their middle school by police and taken to the precinct. Chelsea spent three hours at the precinct handcuffed to a pipe  before her mother was finally allowed to see her. I told this story in an article in Mother Jones called “Hard Time Out.”

This is a symptom of a larger problem: When students of color enter school, it begins their fast track into the criminal justice system. In Texas, 75 percent of students of color are suspended by the end of high school, and statistics show that many of them land in jail as a result. This phenomenon is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. In response, a movement for educational justice is growing across the US. These stories are told in a new book, Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Out: Voices From the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement, a collection of essays by leading education activists, by Mark Warren and David Goodman. On this Vermont Conversation, these activists discuss the problems and solutions confronting students and parents in schools today. (October 3, 2018 broadcast)

Mark Warren, professor of public policy and public affairs, University of Massachusetts-Boston,  co-chair, Urban Research-Based Action Network

Roberta Udoh, pre-kindergarten teacher, Boston Public Schools and an activist in Boston Teachers Union 

Denyse Wornum, organizer and youth leader, Youth on Board, Boston

Carlos Rojas, director, special programs, Youth on Board

Part 1: Warren, Wornum, Udoh

Part 2: Warren, Udoh, Rojas

 

How socially responsible businesses became a movement

How did sustainable business that support a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit become a movement? We talk with leaders of this movement from its founding to today. We look at how Vermont energized the socially responsible business movement, and how Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility have evolved differently, and what issues and history they share in common. (September 12, 2018 broadcast)

Jane Campbell, executive director, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility 

Pat Heffernan, president, Marketing Partners, and a founder, first president, and former board member of VBSR

Michelle Veasey, executive director, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility 

Can a vanilla ice cream company fight white supremacy & lead radical change? Outgoing Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim makes the case

Jostein Solheim has just stepped down as CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream after eight years at the helm of this iconic progressive company. He took the job a decade after the company’s purchase by Unilever, and some worried that Ben & Jerry’s might retreat from its social mission. Instead, Solheim doubled down: during his tenure, Ben & Jerry’s became a certified B Corporation, signed an agreement with Migrant Justice called “Milk With Dignity” to protect and empower migrant dairy workers, and reduced chemical use within the company’s supply chain. Ben & Jerry’s is now among the only corporate sponsors of the Poor People’s Campaign, continuing work started by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., more than a half century ago. Solheim is now directing Unilever’s North American food and beverage operations. He reflects on blending business and activism, fighting white supremacy and poverty, and making great ice cream. (August 29, 2018 broadcast) 

Jostein Solheim, CEO, Ben & Jerry’s, 2010-2018

Surviving amazon.com: How Don Mayer of Small Dog Electronics runs with the big dogs

Don Mayer began selling Apple computers out of his garage in Warren, Vermont in 1994. That business blossomed into Small Dog Electronics, which is now the largest independent Apple reseller in the country. Mayer has been an outspoken leader in the field of socially responsible business, pushing for single-payer health care and a livable wage. Mayer announced this month that he is retiring and selling his iconic Vermont company. He talks about how Small Dog runs with the big dogs and surviving in the age of amazon.com. (August 22, 2018 broadcast)

Don Mayer, CEO and founder, Small Dog Electronics

Red Scare in the Green Mountains: Rick Winston on the McCarthy Era in Vermont

The anti-communist Red Scare that swept the country in the 1940s and 50s blew right into Vermont. Author Rick Winston has been an avid historian of the little-known McCarthy Era witch hunts that rampaged through the Green Mountain State. His new book is Red Scare in the Green Mountains: Vermont in the McCarthy Era 1946-1960. Winston chronicles how academics, dissidents, and ordinary people were caught up in the paranoid frenzy, and how a Vermont U.S. Senator Ralph Flanders helped to bring down McCarthy. (August 15, 2018 broadcast)

Rick Winston, author, Red Scare in the Green Mountains

Special Olympics at 50: The coming #InclusionRevolution

Fifty years ago this summer, the very first Special Olympics for people with intellectual disabilities was held at Chicago’s Soldier Field. It was the brainchild of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of Pres. John F. Kennedy and of Rosemary Kennedy, a woman with intellectual disabilities. A half century later, more than 5 million Special Olympics athletes train and compete in 172 countries every day. What began as a summer camp for children with intellectual disabilities in Shriver’s backyard has grown into a global movement for inclusion. The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games were held in Seattle, Washington July 1-6, 2018. More than 4,000 participants from across the nation, along with the support of 15,000 volunteers and 100,000 spectators, competed in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. We talk with Vermont athletes who participated in the USA Games and also with coaches, parents, educators and others involved in Special Olympics nationally and in Vermont. (August 8, 2018 broadcast)

Tim Shriver, chairman of the board, Special Olympics International

Sue Minter, President & CEO, Special Olympics Vermont

Athletes from USA Games Team Vermont: Unified Basketball Team (gold medal winner) — Erin Watson, Wayne Elias, Hailey Clos, Graham Walker, Peter Booth (coach); track athlete Michelle Olden; track coach Selina Hunter

Adam Bunting, principal, Champlain Valley Union High School

Part 1 (Shriver, Minter, athletes)

Part 2 (Booth, Bunting, Hunter)

 

 

 

America’s forgotten border: Porter Fox travels the 4,000 mile northern border

Pres. Donald Trump has been stoking fear about security on the southern border ever since his 2016 campaign, with talk of marauding criminals, rapists, and implementing a policy of tearing children from their families. But little is said about our longest border – the one with Canada. Author and travel writer Porter Fox spent three years traveling the border from Maine to Washington by canoe, freighter, car and foot. Along the way he stops at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to chronicle resistance to an oil pipeline, urchin draggers & freighter captains. His tells this story in his fascinating new book, Northland: A 4000 Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border. (August 1, 2018 broadcast)

Porter Fox, author, Northland: A 4000 Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border

Exposing secrets: Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

Fifty years ago, US soldiers entered the village of My Lai in Vietnam and massacred more than 100 villagers. A year later, a young freelance reporter named Seymour Hersh exposed the massacre in articles that ran in newspapers around the world. It was the beginning of a long and storied career of exposing official secrets as a reporter for the New York Times and The New Yorker. Hersh, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his My Lai reporting, is widely recognized as America’s leading investigative journalist. Among his other notable accomplishments are exposing the Abu Ghuraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq, US-backed assassinations around the world, many Watergate revelations, the CIA role in spying on antiwar protesters, and more. Hersh has just published a new memoir, Reporter. He discusses how he gets the stories, how the press is getting it wrong in their coverage of Pres. Trump, the future of journalism, and more. (July 25, 2018 broadcast)

Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter

 

Poor People’s Campaign: Dr. Bernard LaFayette on MLK’s last battle

Dr. Bernard LaFayette, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is a giant of the civil rights movement. In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King appointed LaFayette to be National Coordinator of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign, King’s final grassroots mobilization. Dr. LaFayette worked closely with King and was with him just hours before his assassination in Memphis in 1968. LaFayette has carried on King’s mission ever since.

Dr. LaFayette visited Vermont in June 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, which is being marked by a new poster display about the campaign at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury. The display is from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. LaFayette talks about who Martin Luther King was, his relevance today, and why King expanded his efforts from civil rights to fighting for all poor people. (July 11, 2018 broadcast)

Dr. Bernard LaFayette, civil rights leader, aide to Dr. Martin Luther King

Part 1:

Part 2:

“We are at war:” MLK aide Bernard LaFayette on fighting white supremacy then & now

Dr. Bernard LaFayette, a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King who was with him the day he was assassinated and was the leader of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, discusses the rise of President Donald Trump and white supremacists. He talks about why he predicted Trump would win, and the key to fighting white supremacy successfully–in the 60s, and today. (June 27, 2018 broadcast)

Dr. Bernard LaFayette, civil rights leader, aide to Dr. Martin Luther King

The Poor People’s Campaign & its sweetest backer

Ben & Jerry’s is marking the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign with a special display from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture about the civil rights struggle. The exhibit is on display throughout 2018 at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury, Vt., which is Vermont’s largest single tourist attraction, with 400,000 visitors each year. This is the Smithsonian’s first exhibit at a corporate location. At the unveiling of the exhibit, Ben & Jerry’s founder Jerry Greenfield talks about why the company is the lone corporate sponsor of the modern Poor People’s Campaign against racism, poverty and militarism, and a Smithsonian curator discusses the purpose and challenge of having a civil rights exhibit at an ice cream factory. (June 27, 2018 broadcast)

Dr. Aaron Bryant, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

Do felons deserve a second chance?

In 2005, Ben and Jerry’s chief financial officer Mickey Wiles was charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from the company. Wiles pleaded guilty to a felony charge of wire fraud and served two years in federal prison. He confessed that his actions stemmed from alcoholism and substance abuse, and sought treatment.

After his release, Wiles became executive director of the Turning Point Center in Burlington, which assists people in recovery. He later joined the drug testing company Burlington Labs as chief financial officer. He played a key role lobbying in 2016 for passage of “ban the box” legislation in Vermont. In 2017, he founded Working Fields, a staffing agency which helps people in recovery to get a second chance and find a job. He discusses why he embezzled, who gave him a second chance, and his work helping others who have made mistakes. (June 27, 2018 broadcast)

Mickey Wiles, founder, Working Fields

Energy pioneer Mary Powell

Mary Powell has been president and CEO of Green Mountain Power since 2008. Powell and GMP have been pioneers: the utility is the first to help its ratepayers go off the grid, the first to offer residential solar customers the Tesla Powerwall battery and the first and only utility to achieve B Corp certification. Powell is among the few women in the country to lead an energy utility.

In May 2018, the National Audubon Society awarded Mary Powell its Rachel Carson Medal, given to women who have advanced the cause of conservation. The award is named for the marine biologist and author of The Silent Spring, whose work is credited with helping create the modern environmental movement. Powell discusses how she shook up a stodgy energy utility to make it more nimble and responsive to customers, why an electric utility supports renewable power, “leading with love,” and surviving cancer and the loss of her house in a fire. (June 20, 2018 broadcast)

Mary Powell, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power

 

Is inequality in America irreversible?

America’s 3 richest people — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos — now own more wealth than half of all Americans. This extreme inequality is unsustainable, but many politicians accept it as irreversible. In his new book, Is Inequality in America Irreversible?, scholar and activist Chuck Collins diagnoses the causes and drivers of inequality and proposes policies to roll back inequality and build a national movement for change. Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits Inequality.org. He is author of Born on Third Base, and, with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. (June 13, 2018 broadcast)

Chuck Collins, senior scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, author, Is Inequality in America Irreversible?

Chernobyl: The hidden history of the world’s worst nuclear disaster

In 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded in Chernobyl, then part of the Soviet Union. In the years since, thousands of people in the region have died of radiation-related illnesses, but the story was covered up within the former Soviet countries. Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy was a young university professor on a train not far from Chernobyl when the accident happened. In his new book, Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, Plokhy recounts how the Soviet leaders did not speak about the accident for 18 days after the nuclear meltdown. Drawing on newly released files from the KGB and other sources, Plokhy gives the first detailed account of the Chernobyl accident, and argues that it ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and could happen again in the US, North Korea, Iran or elsewhere. (June 13, 2018 broadcast)

Serhii Plokhy, Professor of Ukrainian History, director of the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, author, Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

Shattering the silence on sexual harassment & assault: Lisa Senecal breaks her NDA & tells her #MeToo story

Lisa Senecal had a choice: the entrepreneur in Stowe, Vermont, could abide by her nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and remain silent about the sexual harassment and assault that she says she experienced while applying for a job at Inntopia, a national business based in Stowe. Or she could speak out about Craig DeLuca, the former Inntopia president who she accuses of preying on vulnerable women, including one who recently filed a lawsuit against DeLuca and Inntopia. Senecal has decided to speak out. On June 2, 2018, she wrote an article for The Daily Beast: “The NDA Protected Our Predator. I’m Breaking My Silence, Because Women Deserve Better.”  Senecal is a communications and marketing entrepreneur and cofounder of The Maren Group, which focuses on serving people experiencing discrimination in the workplace and higher education. She is a commissioner on the Vermont Commission on Women. Senecal hopes that by telling her story, other women will be empowered to tell theirs. (June 6, 2018 broadcast)

Lisa Senecal, co-founder, The Maren Group, author, “The NDA Protected Our Predator. I’m Breaking My Silence, Because Women Deserve Better.” 

Broken promises: Ed Secretary Rebecca Holcombe on how Gov. Scott is raising taxes & rejecting voters

Rebecca Holcombe served as Vermont’s Secretary of Education under two governors. She was appointed in January 2014 by Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, and kept on in January 2017 by Republican Gov. Phil Scott. She was a driving force behind Act 46, Vermont’s landmark school district consolidation law passed in 2015 that reshaped the landscape of school governance. Holcombe abruptly resigned from Gov. Scott’s administration on April 1, 2018. Two months later, she slammed Gov. Scott in a widely published op-ed, accusing him of rejecting the will of voters on local school budgets and breaking his campaign promises by increasing taxes — while saying he was lowering them. This is Holcombe’s first extended interview since leaving Scott’s cabinet. (June 6, 2018 broadcast)

Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont Secretary of Education, 2014-2018

Is Gov. Scott faking a crisis? Ashe & Johnson hit back at “manufactured political battle”

On May 22, 2018, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed four bills passed by the Legislature, including legislation that would have raised Vermont’s minimum wage to $15 and established a paid family leave program. Scott previously vetoed legislation regulating toxic chemicals, and he is expected veto the state budget and tax bills. The Vermont legislature convened in a rare special session to address the vetoes. The state budget has only been vetoed once in state history prior to Gov. Scott’s tenure; this will be Scott’s second budget veto. What is the crisis? Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson say there is none. “This is a manufactured political battle,” says Ashe. “We have a governor who is playing off bogus plans…. If he wants to stand behind destroying our schools, that’s on him.” (May 23, 2018 broadcast)

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson

The power of Thinking Big

Robert U. Craven is CEO of the New Hampshire-based GMO-free nutritional supplement maker MegaFood. Craven is an advocate for Thinking Big, and discusses how his company addresses priorities such as ending nutritional poverty. He discusses practical ways to apply “change-the-world” thinking to businesses, and why he is on a mission to promote “Big T Transparency” in business–which MegaFood does by having live cams throughout their factory that can be seen on their website. Craven, the keynote speaker at the 2018 VBSR Spring Conference, also talks about what he learned from several lifechanging experiences: his father’s early diagnosis of cancer, and Craven’s recent decision to donate a kidney. (May 16, 2018 broadcast)

Robert Craven, CEO, MegaFood

Hero or villain? Author Reeve Lindbergh on the double life of Charles Lindbergh

In 1927, at the age of 25, aviator Charles Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic flight. He won a $25,000 prize, and was immortalized. Lindbergh and his wife, author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, soon became known as “the most famous family of the twentieth century.” Five years after his famous flight, Lindbergh suffered a tragedy: his 20-month old son Charles was kidnapped and murdered in what became known as the “crime of the century.” During World War II, Lindbergh was a leader of the America First movement that opposed going to war with Germany and espoused anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi policies. President Franklin Roosevelt accused Lindbergh of being a Nazi. Lindbergh died in 1974, but in 2003, it was revealed that he had three German mistresses and had fathered seven children.

Vermont author Reeve Lindbergh is the daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She is a noted author of more than two dozen books for children and adults. In her newest book, Two Lives, Reeve Lindbergh writes about growing up in this famous household and how she navigates between her public family while leading a “quiet existence in rural Vermont.” In this interview, Lindbergh discusses her father’s controversial politics, her brother’s murder, the discovery of her father’s secret lives and her German half-siblings, Pres. Trump’s embrace of a new America First policy, and her life as a writer in Vermont. (May 9, 2018 broadcast)

 

Reeve Lindbergh, author

Can a former anti-Semite & a Jewish extremist make peace?

Can enemies make peace? A former anti-Semite and a former Jewish extremist are reaching across the divide to change the Muslim-Jewish relationship. Their efforts occur as more than three dozen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers in the last three weeks in protests against the Israeli occupation. Yossi Klein Halevi, author of a new book, “Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor,” and Imam Abdullah Antepli discuss their effort to bridge the political and cultural abyss. They discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Pres. Donald Trump, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and their personal journeys from hate to understanding. (April 25, 2018 broadcast)

Yossi Klein Halevi, author, co-director, Muslim Leadership Initiative, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem 

Imam Abdullah Antepli,  Muslim chaplain, Duke University, co-director, Muslim Leadership Initiative

 

Breaking into the Hollywood boys’ club: Nell Scovell pulls back the curtain

Even if you don’t know the name Nell Scovell, you’ve probably seen her work and laughed at her jokes: she’s written for The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, created Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and co-wrote the 2013 blockbuster book Lean In with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. She has also written jokes for President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Scovell has just penned a new memoir, Just the Funny Parts…and a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club. She talks about her funny and not-so-funny experiences confronting sexism, the #MeToo movement, writing for celebrities, dealing with rejection, her advice to others on how to break in to male-dominated industries, and offers a joke for James Comey, if he needs one. (April 18, 2018 broadcast)

Nell Scovell, author, TV writer, producer, director

Tackling toxics: Will Vermont side with industry or citizens?

In the aftermath of the discovery in 2016 of widespread contamination of drinking water around Bennington, Vermont, citizen’s groups have lobbied for laws to tighten restrictions on toxics. But on April 16, 2018, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation intended to help protect children from toxic chemicals in toys and other products. The Vt Senate overrode the governor’s veto, 22-8, three days later, leaving the fate of the veto in the hands of the House. The legislation, S.103, would give the Commissioner of Health greater authority to regulate toxic chemicals, provide more information to consumers about toxins in children’s products, and require testing for toxins in new drinking water wells. “In the choice between protecting kids and pleasing industry lobbyists, [Scott] went with the lobbyists,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). Burns discusses the battle over toxics in Vermont, as well as the future of renewable power, regulating data companies, and the future. (April 18, 2018 broadcast)

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)

The long road to gun control in Vermont

On April 11, 2018, Gov. Phil Scott strode onto the steps of the Vermont State House and signed into law the first major restrictions on gun ownership in the state’s history. The move represented a dramatic about face for the Republican governor — and the culmination of a years-long organizing effort led by gun safety advocates, legislators, and most recently, thousands of Vermont high school students. Sen. Philip Baruth proposed one of the first gun control measures in 2013, only to withdraw the legislation after it received no support that year. Moments before joining Scott for the bill signing, he reflected on the long and often lonely fight to enact gun control in Vermont, and what lies ahead. We also hear from callers with their views on the new laws. (April 11, 2018 broadcast)

Vermont Sen. Philip Baruth (D-Burlington)

Business leaders demand action on clean water & carbon

Five Vermont CEOs recently wrote an open letter to Vermont Gov. Phil Scott urging him to support studies for clean water and decarbonization. “We, as leaders of companies that employ more than 800 Vermonters and account for over $1 billion in sales each year, are concerned by your refusal to seek new information and analysis to address threats facing our state,” wrote CEOs Joey Bergstein of Seventh Generation, Jostein Solheim of Ben & Jerry’s, Jen Kimmich of The Alchemist, Bram Kleppner of Danforth Pewter and Mark Curran of Black River Produce. “Two critical studies which will address threats to Vermont’s economy and environment – one to identify funding to improve water quality, and one to study the economic costs and benefits of decarbonization – have received broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Yet you’ve declared that neither study should be funded,” the letter stated. “Hope is not a strategy.” Shortly after meeting with the CEOs, Scott issued a letter to the Legislature restating his opposition to the studies. We talk with CEO Bram Klappner about what is at stake and why businesses are speaking out. (April 11, 2018 broadcast)

Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter

Is our economy stacked against women?

As part of marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we speak with Rickey Gard Diamond, author of Screwnomics: How Our Economy Works Against Women and Real Ways to Make Lasting Change. Diamond explains that she invented the term screwnomics to refer to “the economic theory that women should always work for less, or better, for free.” Diamond recounts her story of going from being a single mother on welfare to being the founding editor of Vermont Woman, and discusses why the #MeToo movement’s time has come.  (April 4, 2018 broadcast)

Rickey Gard Diamond, author, Screwnomics: How Our Economy Works Against Women and Real Ways to Make Lasting Change

Stand up: How to speak out & win

We mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a conversation with author Gordon Whitman about his new book, Stand Up! How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on FireWhitman is director of policy for Faith in Action. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and helped build grassroots organizations dedicated to fighting racial and economic injustice around US. He discusses today’s tipping points and why #NeverAgain students, teachers and women are winning now. (April 4, 2018 broadcast)

Gordon Whitman, author, Stand Up! How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on Fire