This month, millions of young Texans will face new struggles in the transition back to school amid a global pandemic. But for those facing food insecurity or limited internet access, the new school year poses greater threats.
“This podcast is full of creating awareness and information so that people have whatever they need to look into their own communities’ backyard, to examine these inequities and disparities that are happening to our youth and the impact that it will have on overall society,” says co-host Tracie Lowe, assistant director of assessment in the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA).
In their first season, she and co-host and demographer Ricardo Lowe discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on Black communities, particularly as they relate to education, food insecurity and the digital divide. Each episode brings in new voices to address these topics, from community members to local leaders to experts and researchers.
“We need to start speaking out about this stuff because a lot of people are not going to read policy briefs and op-eds,” Ricardo says. “We’re trying to get our voice out there in every medium possible.”
Much of the groundwork for the podcast was laid by IUPRA researchers, who’ve looked into how COVID-19 will affect urbanization and the racial and economic segregation that affects public schooling in Austin, Texas. Black Lives Texas is a platform to share that research with a wider audience, so they can see how the issues are mirrored in their own cities.
“The podcast is a reflection piece,” Tracie describes. “It’s designed to help people better understand the impact on certain bodies of people in a totally different way.”
While some episodes might reinforce things people already know, others will expose blind spots, creating a more encompassing conversation on the disparities the Black community faces.
“We want to make sure we’re capturing those voices, putting them on the forefront,” says Ricardo. “That’s what we look forward to continuing to do in any upcoming seasons.”
Listen and subscribe to the podcast, including getting updates on future seasons. Join the conversation and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.