Brooklyn Podcast Brings Social Justice to the Airwaves

By Paul DeBenedetto on February 11, 2014 9:28am 

 Anthonine Pierre (left) and Veralyn Williams host a new social justice podcast aimed at central Brooklynites.
Anthonine Pierre (left) and Veralyn Williams host a new social justice podcast aimed at central Brooklynites.
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — It's Radio Free Brooklyn.

A central Brooklyn activist group is bringing its social justice message to the airwaves with a new podcast designed to address issues surrounding Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights and other communities.

The Brooklyn Movement Center's "Third Rail" podcast, which launched on Thursday, features talks on subjects that are important to the organization, including education, health and street harassment.

"It's definitely an extension of the work," said Veralyn Williams, BMC's communications organizer. "The social justice issues we deal with on the day-to-day, and also things that come up in the work."

Williams, a former freelance journalist who has worked in radio at both WNYC and WBAI, co-hosts the podcast with community organizer Anthonine Pierre. The two will address topics in the media and spotlight featured guests.

On Thursday, BMC Executive Director Mark Winston Griffith took a star turn as the show's first guest, discussing a recent City Limits article about the challenges of running an election campaign.

Griffith, who will have a mostly "hands-off" role in the podcast's production, said "Third Rail" is a way to talk about the issues affecting central Brooklyn in a way that everyone can understand.

"We do get into kind of 'organizing speak' and activist stuff, but the idea is to kind of go beyond that and expand the audience," Griffith said. "[We're] trying to create a more informal way to have these conversations, and a slightly more fun and irreverent way."

The first episode reflected that mission. In addition to Griffith's segment and a discussion about "the social justice outrage machine," the show aired a segment called "Tell 'Em Why You Mad," in which the hosts commented on issues like dating and the politics of Beyoncé.

The format is a refreshing change from the formalities of community organizing, Pierre said.

"The work we do really only gives us an avenue to talk about just the issues themselves," Pierre said. "We wanted an avenue to address people as people."

Brooklyn Movement Center's "Third Rail" podcast is posted every other Thursday on Soundcloud. The next episode will air on Feb. 20.

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