Abolitionism with LaDonna Sanders Redmond (BZP023)

Many people understand abolitionism as something connected to the effort to end chattel slavery in the US that ended with the Civil War and Emancipation. In this episode of the podcast, Beth is joined by LaDonna Sanders Redmond to discuss modern day abolitionism as a paradigm for healing our institutional systems and ourselves from oppression.


LaDonna’s TedX Talk: Food + Justice = Democracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydZfSuz-Hu8

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies Resmaa Menaken https://bookshop.org/books/my-grandmother-s-hands-racialized-trauma-and-the-pathway-to-mending-our-hearts-and-bodies-9781942094470/9781942094470

LaDonna’s reading/discussion group: Abolitionist Virtual Community. https://columinate.coop/events/abolitionists

The People’s Inauguration (BZP022)

I am honored that this episode of the podcast is launched in partnership with Valarie Kaur’s People’s Inauguration https://thepeoplesinauguration.org/ Valarie organized this People’s Inauguration out of the recognition that while a renewed functional government is necessary, it will not alone transform our communities into places were all of us are valued and free. Rather all of us have a vital role to play to heal and build a country that is committed to racial and economic justice, physical and emotional well-being, environmental sustainability, and peace. As President Biden and Vice President Harris take office, it is necessary for each of us also to take an oath to do our part to work towards this reimagined future.

To discuss how to do this, in this episode I am joined by my friends and colleagues Kerrian Suarez, Executive Director of Equity in the Center, and Andrew Plumley, Director of Inclusion at the American Alliance of Museums and Board member of Equity in the Center. Our conversation was recorded just a week after the insurrection at the U.S. Capital. We discuss the background and the implications of the rise of more visible and radicalized white nationalist violence, and how to support people, organizations, and social systems at this critical time to move from awake, to woke, to work to put racial equity at the center of transformational progressive change.

Link to “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture” publication: https://equityinthecenter.org/aww/
Upcoming partner trainings (White Allyship, Building Pro-Black Institutions, et al.): https://equityinthecenter.org/services/#partner-trainings
Sign up for our newsletter/training announcements. Scroll to the bottom and complete “Subscribe” fields: https://equityinthecenter.org/

Public Allies Twin Cities 10th Anniversary (BZP020)

For this episode, Beth catches up with her longtime friends Antonio Cardona, LaCora Bradford Kesti, and Ernest Comer – three of the people who have been instrumental in the impact Public Allies Twin Cities has been making in the lives of young people and the broader community for the last ten years.

We dig into the history of the organization, the work they’ve done over the years, and about Beth’s involvement with the organization during key movement moments over the past decade.

We talk about the importance of leadership development, the pressure often felt by leaders to lead and rise to any given moment, how this pressure can sometimes by rooted in internalized oppression, and how penguins provide a great example for us in helping us shift our mindset around these concepts.

We also spend a few minutes chatting with the team about their plans and ambitions for the future, their current individual projects, and the way Public Allies has influenced the work they’re doing now and the work they plan to lead going forward.

Click the links to learn more about Ernest’s book, LaCora and Ernest’s work on Black Centered Design, more about the African American Leadership Forum and Antonio’s work at Pillsbury United Communities.


Revolutionary Love with Valarie Kaur (BZP019)


For this episode, via Zoom from California, Beth welcomes her old friend and colleague, civil rights attorney, writer, filmmaker, activist, and current world-changer, Valarie Kaur.

With her new book, See No Stranger (www.SeeNoStranger.com), hot off the press, and the Revolutionary Love Project (www.RevolutionaryLoveProject.com) she founded going viral online, we catch up with Valarie for a unique, intimate chat between friends about her work, her new book, and how it all came to be. Valerie shares with us, in a candid and effortlessly authentic way, about what first called her to activism, how her Sikh faith has shaped and influenced her work, and how the concept of Revolutionary Love has seen her through some of the darkest and most transitional moments of her life.

This episode will challenge you in ways that are perfectly timed for the movement moment we are currently working though. With Beth providing us the context as someone who has seen many movement cycles like the one we’re in now, whether you’re new to movement work, a lifelong activist, or transitioning from one form of movement work to another, Valarie offers us up her deepest wisdom, in a way that will speak directly to yours, no matter where you are in your journey.

Valarie’s book is available online now at www.SeeNoStranger.com. Get a copy for yourself and buy a copy for that special highly-experienced or aspiring activist in your life.  Or… as a special gift from Beth, share your thoughts about this episode or Valerie’s work on Facebook (be sure to use the hashtags #BethZemskyPodcast and #SeeNoStranger), and email a copy of your post and your contact information to blzemsky@gmail.com. If you’re one of the first ten folks to do so, you’ll get a FREE copy of the book signed by Valarie, courtesy of the Beth Zemsky Podcast!

Intentionality in Crisis (BZP018)

In our first ever Zoom episode of the Beth Zemsky Podcast (and our second one featuring Beth’s dog, Bert), we focus in on how opportunities for introspection and systemic change are often brought about by crisis. We talk about how crisis can often reveal things about ourselves and our organizations that we’d maybe rather not see, and about the temptation to leverage whatever privilege we might have to simply look the other way. We talk about how crisis can disrupt entrenched power structures and about how taking inventory of our ideas about diversity and inclusion can be even more important during crisis than when we think things are going smoothly. We also talk briefly about Beth’s experience working in the early days of HIV, and about the impact it had on the work she does today. We talk about the importance of being intentional in identifying the opportunities presented to us by this or any other crisis, and how the movement work we’re called to in times of crisis can be some of the most important work there is.

For more on this topic from Beth, check out this recent blog she wrote for the Dodge Foundation at: https://blog.grdodge.org/2020/05/08/dodge-ta-implementing-diversity-inclusion-and-equity-during-a-pandemic