Curated by Kate Werning, creator of Healing Justice Podcast
Kate Werning is a decade-long community organizer, trainer, and healing practitioner who cut her teeth in the Wisconsin Recall election and just wrapped up organizing for Cynthia Nixon’s campaign in New York. Here, Kate presents a collection of podcasts that help us get informed, care for ourselves and each other, and take grounded action amidst the urgency of ever-changing political cycles.
Healing Justice Podcast was born out of ten years of organizing for social justice. I was already deeply tired when I landed fully exhausted, depressed, and scared on the morning after the 2016 US presidential election. We all knew the political pressure, the urgency to intervene, and the polarization of our country was accelerating to a pace we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.
But I had witnessed enough talented healing justice facilitators, spirited organizers, and resilient activists to know that there must a way to do civic engagement differently. We are not only victims of our chaotic world: we have the power to shape it, and to shape ourselves. Politics of division and fear-mongering leaders only have the power that we collectively give them.
Choosing the right action and pacing ourselves wisely is more critical now than ever. These podcasts help me situate myself in a longer history, intake the crises of the daily news filtered through thoughtfulness I can trust, unpack how the news cycle is impacting me on deeper levels, and decide where I can most effectively focus my actions to co-create a political reality that takes care of all of us. I hope this playlist can be one support to help us move from overwhelm and despair, to healing and action.
Healing Justice Podcast
Healing Justice Podcast shares inspiring voices and practices to support movements for social change. Examples of resilience and humanity in the struggle for justice are part of the medicine we need, and this project aims to be a campfire around which we can gather to share the tales of our victories and pain, visionary ideas, and generative debates. Each week, we share a new conversation and an accompanying practice––something practical you can try to get more engaged and deepen your roots as you act. I recommend beginning with Katie Loncke’s “Meditation on Non-Striving for Activists” practice episode, to help us ground our effort and tap into sustainability amidst urgent times.
How to Survive the End of the World
Sisters adrienne maree brown and Autumn Brown are beloved thought leaders and facilitators in movements for justice. Their podcast is a personal, wise, and hilarious window into their thoughts about navigating these times. In a time of #MeToo, the Kavanaugh hearings, and a president who openly gloats about sexual assault, their “The Apocalypse We Need” episode tends to the personal impact of that constant bombardment. We hear about their experiences being exposed to the constant tragic news cycle, particularly around uncovering memories of abuse. They talk about the apocalypse of patriarchy and rape culture, and consider the complexity of accountability and abolition through adrienne’s poem “we will not cancel us.”
The Wilderness is a documentary series that helps us situate ourselves in historical context, covering the last two centuries of American political history. Pod Save America‘s Jon Favreau talks to more than 100 strategists, historians, activists, and voters about how the Democratic Party arrived at this moment, and helps us remember we are part of a longer story. I highly recommend educating yourself by listening to all 15 episodes, but if you only have time for one, check out episode 15 with President Barack Obama. (I dare you to not get nostalgic for that voice.)
This show fortifies the spiritual perspective of our movements for justice. Hosted by experienced organizer Caitlin Breedlove of Auburn Seminary, the collection of guests represent some of the most powerful spirits of our time. I most recently enjoyed the episode with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy; it is such a rare and incredible opportunity to hear the perspective of an accomplished elder in this work, and Miss Major is no average elder. She’s one of the original pioneers of transgender activism, a participant in the Stonewall riots, and a champion for the rights of transgender women of color in the prison industrial complex.
Upstream is a radio documentary series that invites you “to unlearn everything you thought you knew about economics.” The radio production is really engaging, and I learn so much every time I listen. So many harmful political myths and assumptions prevail around how our economy works––and are used as justification for unjust policies that are only increasing economic inequality exponentially in the US. Upstream helps us educate ourselves about alternatives that actually work, to believe in and work toward the possibility of creating an economy that meets all of our needs.
On Being is one of the giants our podcast world revolves around––and rightfully so. Krista Tippett interviews spiritual leaders, asking key questions about how spirituality interacts with our changing world. I recommend the “Civic Spiritual Evolution” episode: in this poetic interview about the heart of what public service can be at its best, U.S. Senator Cory Booker calls us to move from merely tolerating each other to manifesting love. We don’t really reward or allow our politicians, good or bad, to be searching, or to change their minds and grow––to admit their human frailty. When all politics seems hopeless and politicians morally bankrupt, this interview humanizes a politician and gives me a little bit of hope.
Pod Save the People
This is my top pick for digestible news that actually makes me smarter and more aware instead of just overwhelmed and terrified. Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores culture, social justice, politics, and the weekly news with fellow activists Brittany Packnett and Sam Sinyangwe and writer Clint Smith. You’ll get the important happenings interpreted through a racial justice lens, and clear calls to action to make a difference.
For the Wild
For the Wild helps us face hard questions about our relationship to the planet in a time of climate chaos. How do we confront the psychological challenges of an uncertain future, while healing the age-old wounds of alienation from nature? How can we take action together to repair our relationship to the earth and reverse the effects of climate change? For the Wild brings us beautiful storytelling and engaging exploration as we navigate a time of reshaping the relationship of our species to our planetary home.
Tonic Podcast, hosted by three healers of color (Richael Faithful, Karen L. Culpepper and Miriam Zoila Pérez), offers “advice for what ails you.” Systemic violence, oppression, and climate instability are impacting us all on a very personal and daily basis. With episode topics like suppressed emotions, dealing with fear, anxious sleep, and following your intuition, Tonic brings the wise advice in a comforting tone that you wish your own grandma gave you.
CTZN Podcast speaks of a kind of citizenship that doesn’t require documents and papers, but is about engagement and solidarity. Spiritual teachers and activist leaders help those of us engaged in wellness and spiritual practices connect to our role in moving toward “wellbeing for all” as a political possibility. I recommend starting with episode 1 with Rev. angel Kyodo williams, an incredible Zen Buddhist teacher and voice for justice in our times.
Surviving Elections with Healing Justice Podcast
With the 2018 US midterm elections upon us, we’re releasing a brand new miniseries called “Surviving Elections.” The series runs October – November 2018, and explores the connection of electoral politics, long-term social change, and how to engage with the chaos from a grounded place.
We’ll be talking to social movement organizers and theorists about how elections play into long-term societal shifts, campaign managers about cultivating healthy campaign culture, candidates about their experience running for office, and the Campaign Workers Guild about workers’ rights in politics. Our final episode will be released the day after the election so we can process the results and what’s next––because we’re all in this together. Follow Healing Justice Podcast in the RadioPublic apps to go on this journey with us.
Want to create your own collection of shows that dovetails with your area of interest? Add shows to your Smart Folder on RadioPublic, then inform the Podcast Librarian of your collection: firstname.lastname@example.org.