With the 2020 election as the backdrop for Season 2 of All Ears, Abby is excited to talk with people she considers “good troublemakers:” people whose work pushes back with imagination and courage against the status quo. We’ll be intertwining big ideas and personal stories about gender, class, and race, and how we can take action to make changes in our cultural and political landscape.
All Ears is a production of Fork films. The show is produced by Alexis Pancrazi and Christine Schomer. Lauren Wimbush is associate producer and Sabrina Yates is production coordinator. Our engineer is Veronica Rodriguez and Bob Golden composed our theme song. The podcast team also includes VP of Production Aideen Kane. Our executive producer is Kathleen Hughes.
For Fork Films the All Ears team is Dominique Bouchard, Ameena Din, Sarah Feuquay, Tess Goodbody, Jess Kwan, Juli Kobayashi, Phil Nuxoll, Kat Vecchio, Angie Wang, and Codey Young.
Find us wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to subscribe and spread the word!
Thoughts, questions, feedback? You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Season 2 Episodes
Young People Will Inherit This Earth
Varshini Prakash: Young People Will Inherit This Earth
This week on All Ears, Abby talks to Varshini Prakash, who co-founded the Sunrise Movement, a youth-centered activist organization created in 2017 to end climate change. Sunrise has mobilized two incredibly valuable resources for grassroots organizing: young people and the internet. As the 27 year-old Executive Director of Sunrise, Varshini talks to Abby about how she fell into organizing, and the event that put Sunrise on the map: a 2018 sit-in in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office that became a global sensation (they were joined by new-and-not-yet-sworn-in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). As a result of the viral event, Sunrise’s visibility ballooned, and in 6 months they grew from 20 local chapters nationally, to over 350. Varshini talks about the challenging task of converting energy and ideals into concrete policy wins, and how two years as a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party earned her a seat at the table in the halls of power. Also, Abby reflects on how Sunrise has overcome some of the miscalculations of past environmental movements and offers Varshini some unsolicited advice from a surprising source.
This is our last episode of Season 2! We’ll be back in a couple of months. In the meantime, we’d love to hear listener ideas for future guests. Please email us at email@example.com
Varshini PrakashCo-founder, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement
Varshini Prakash is the Executive Director and co-founder of Sunrise, a movement of young people working to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process through the Green New Deal. Varshini has been a leading voice for young Americans, including when she helped lead a mass demonstration for the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that went viral and put the climate crisis at the top of the political agenda for the 2020 elections. Varshini’s work has been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, The New Yorker, BBC, The Washington Post and more. In 2019, she was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for law and policy, and TIME 100 Next, a new list of rising stars who are shaping politics, popular culture, science, and more. Varshini currently lives in Boston, MA.
Follow Varshini Prakash on Twitter: @VarshPrakash
How Sundance Sausage is Made
Tabitha Jackson: How Sundance Sausage is Made
This week, as Sundance Film Festival launches a virtual festival for first time, Abby talks to the festival’s director, Tabitha Jackson. After spending 25 years in non-fiction filmmaking, Tabitha moved from head of the Sundance Documentary Program into the festival chair, beating out 700 applicants and becoming the first woman, and first person of color, to hold the job. What came next was a year of tumult and challenge, in which she unexpectedly faced the task of transforming America’s premiere film festival, normally held in scenic Park City, Utah, into an almost entirely online event. Tabitha says it forced her and her team to “reconsider the value of everything we were doing and how we were doing it because it was all threatened.” What emerged was a re-commitment to the original mission of Sundance: use the power of the Festival to direct attention to independent voices and work that may otherwise get lost in the noise. Also, Tabitha tells Abby about her traumatizing experience going to the cinema for the first time, how being British in an American institution can be to her advantage, and why she’s skeptical of flattery. Plus, the laborious process of whittling down 13,000 submissions into a program of 71 features and 50 shorts.
Tabitha JacksonFestival Director, Sundance Film Festival
Tabitha Jackson was appointed Director of the Sundance Film Festival in February 2020, having previously served as Director of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute since 2013. Throughout her career in film and public broadcasting she has been committed to supporting the independent voice, championing the social and cultural power of artful cinema, and furthering the mission of uplifting a more expansive set of makers and forms.
What The Constitution Means To Us
Heidi Schreck: What The Constitution Means To Us
What could be more a timely topic for inauguration week than the US Constitution? But this isn’t any old patriarchal take on our country’s founding document. This week on All Ears Abby talks to playwright and actor Heidi Schreck, creator of Tony-nominated Broadway hit, “What The Constitution Means To Me”. In the play, Heidi reflects back on her teenage experience as an award-winning orator, traveling the country to compete with other teens on the topic of the US Constitution. If anyone ever had a mad crush on a document, it was 15 year old Heidi. But she also looks at it as an adult woman, processing the generational trauma of domestic abuse in her family, and the impact of how our laws have been historically interpreted through the lens of the values and biases of the landowning white men who wrote it. Though Abby and Heidi grapple with our nation’s historical sins and its uncertain future, you will come out the other side of this lively conversation with a spark of optimism. Much like Inauguration 2021!
Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiBSchreck
This episode was engineered by Eric Xu Romani.
Heidi SchreckWriter, Actor
HEIDI SCHRECK is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. After an extended run on Broadway, What the Constitution Means to Me played a sold-out, limited run at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C as well as at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and will continue its national tour in 2021. What the Constitution Means to Me was named Best of the Year by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker and more; NPR named it one of the “50 Great Pop Culture Moments” of 2019. Schreck’s other plays Grand Concourse, Creature, and There Are No More Big Secrets have been produced all over the country and she has worked as a stage actor in NYC for almost 20 years. Her screenwriting credits include I Love Dick, Billions, Nurse Jackie and shows in development with Amazon Studios, Big Beach, Imagine Television and A24. As both an actor and writer she is the recipient of three Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and a Theatre World Award; as well as the Horton Foote Playwriting Award and the Hull-Warriner Award from the Dramatists Guild. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 and was featured on Variety’s 2019 Broadway Impact List. Schreck was awarded Smithsonian Magazine’s 2019 American Ingenuity Award, for her work in the Performing Arts.
A Full-on Reversal Or An Incremental Hollowing Out For Roe V. Wade?
Emily Bazelon: A Full-on Reversal Or An Incremental Hollowing Out For Roe V. Wade?
This week on All Ears Abby talks to New York Times Magazine staff writer, Yale Law School scholar, and Slate Political Gabfest co-host Emily Bazelon on a host of legal and legislative changes on the horizon in the American judicial system. With the looming shift from Republican to Democratic control of the federal government on January 20th, the Supreme Court is on its own separate trajectory, set into motion by the addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the bench. Focusing primarily on women’s reproductive health and justice, Emily breaks down how Supreme Court could begin to dismantle the legal scaffolding around abortion rights, and how it could reverberate through states and communities. With an eye toward the Democrats’ newly-shifted but still razor-thin control of Congress, Abby and Emily game the potential outcomes and discuss what values and metaphorical baggage justices bring into a courtroom. With Emily’s smart takes and deep knowledge, this is an episode for the legal-savvy, the legal-curious, and even the legal-agnostic.
Find Emily on Twitter @EmilyBazelon
Emily BazelonStaff writer NYT Magazine, Co-host Slate Political Gabfest, Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School.
Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, and a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, a popular weekly podcast. She is the author of two national bestsellers published by Penguin Random House: Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, about the power of prosecutors, and Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, about how to prevent bullying. Charged won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the current interest category and the Silver Gavel Book Award from the American Bar Association.
Truth Is The Only Balm For The Festering Sore Of Racism
Leymah Gbowee: Truth Is The Only Balm For The Festering Sore Of Racism
Like the rest of the country, All Ears is reeling from the disturbing events this week at the Capitol Building, so we decided to switch gears away from our planned programming to talk about the impact of this seemingly inevitable burst of political violence. Looking for some perspective from outside U.S. borders, Abby calls her good friend, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, who lived through civil and military insurrection in her native Liberia and as an ordinary social worker and grass roots organizer helped to lead her country out of a very dark era. Leymah’s perceptive commentary on the race and gender dynamics at play this week in Washington offers insight into the ways men, white people, and people in power shield themselves from moral responsibility and solution building. Abby and Leymah also talk about the ways women can both perpetuate and break apart conservative coalitions. Leymah insists that faith in the goodness of all people is a necessary ballast to her work as a peace builder, and as someone who has lived through the brutal undoing of a Democracy, her words have resonance for Abby. We hope you find inspiration in Leymah’s words as well.
Leymah Gbowee2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate
2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate.
She is the founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. Her foundation provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and youth in West Africa in order to raise the next generation of peacebuilders and democratic leaders. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Ms. Gbowee was the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and co-founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She was also a founding member and former Liberian Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). She travels internationally to advocate for human rights and peace & security.
Ms. Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She holds an M.A. in Conflict Transformation and many honorary doctorate degrees.
Hope Is A Muscle
Krista Tippett: Hope Is A Muscle
For All Ears this week, Abby hosts a rare and revealing interview with On Being host, Krista Tippett. Krista talks about growing up in Shawnee Oklahoma, and the enduring influence of her grandfather, a Southern Baptist minister, on her life’s work. Krista describes the experience of going from a sheltered, church-centric upbringing, to throwing herself into big, bold life experiences (Brown University, a Fulbright Scholarship in Bonn, a job at the US Embassy in Cold War Berlin) and the disorientation that unsettled her once she realized that powerful people in important jobs don’t necessarily have steadfast principles or rich emotional lives. Her subsequent path to divinity school and the creation of The On Being Project have been a process of defining what a “moral imagination” is, and why we, as a culture and as a country, need it. Krista and Abby also discuss how we can learn from one of the most trying and tragic years in our nation’s history, and where we can find hope, which Krista says, “is a muscle that keeps us moving and acting and doing.” It’s a fitting conversation to end the year on, and we wish you all the best for this holiday season.
Our next episode drops on Thursday, January 7. See you in 2021!
Krista TippettHost, On Being, Founder and CEO, The On Being Project
Krista Tippett is a Peabody-award winning broadcaster, National Humanities Medalist, and New York Times bestselling author. She hosts the On Being public radio show and podcast, curates the Civil Conversations Project, and founded and leads The On Being Project, a non-profit media and public life initiative that pursues deep thinking and moral imagination, social courage and joy, towards the renewal of inner life, outer life, and life together. Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, worked as a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin, and later received a Master of Divinity from Yale University. She was awarded a National Humanities Medal from President Obama. Her books are Speaking of Faith, Einstein’s God, and Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.
Fighting Nazis Should Be Fun
Loretta Ross: Fighting Nazis Should Be Fun
This week on All Ears, Abby goes deep with professor and long time activist Loretta Ross. As an outspoken critic of cancel culture, Loretta’s sharp insights have made her class “White Supremacy in the Age of Donald Trump,” one of Smith College’s most popular. Loretta tells Abby that social media shaming is counterproductive to her long-sought goal of building a human rights movement; while it can be an important tool for holding the powerful accountable, more often than not “we’re spending our best bullets on each other.” And besides, Loretta reminds Abby, the revolution should be fun! Instead of calling people out, Loretta describes the practice of “calling in.” “It’s not that deep,” she tells Abby, “It’s a call out done with love and respect.” In her efforts to build a movement for all people, Loretta is always looking for ways she can partner with others, even her ideological opposites. Loretta also tells her own story of sexual assault and sterilization at a young age, experiences which helped propel her into a lifetime of activism.
Loretta RossVisiting Associate Professor, Smith College
Loretta Ross is a Visiting Associate Professor at Smith College in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender for the 2019-2021 academic years.
She started her career in activism and social change in the 1970s, working at the National Football League Players’ Association, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Black Women’s Health Project, the Center for Democratic Renewal (National Anti-Klan Network), the National Center for Human Rights Education, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, until retiring as an organizer in 2012 to teach about activism. Her passion transforms anger into social justice to change the world.
Her most recent books are Reproductive Justice: An Introduction co-written with Rickie Solinger, and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique, both published in 2017. Her forthcoming book is Calling In the Calling Out Culture: Detoxing Our Movement due out in 2021.
She has appeared on CNN, BET, “Lead Story,” “Good Morning America,” “The Donahue Show,” the National Geographic Channel, and “The Charlie Rose Show.” She has been quoted in the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, among others.
Her activism began as a rape and incest survivor as a teen mother. She graduated college at age 55. She is from San Antonio, TX and lives in Atlanta, GA. She is a mother and grandmother, and an avid pinochle player. Her dream is to see Venus and Serena Williams play tennis in person.
On Moving Past The “Dark Heart” Of The Trump Administration
Julián Castro: On Moving Past The “Dark Heart” Of The Trump Administration
This week on All Ears Abby talks about good government and the American Dream with Julián Castro, whose own journey in public service began in San Antonio, first as city councilman at age 26 and then as mayor at 35. In 2014, President Obama put him in charge of HUD: the sprawling federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last year, he spent most of his time away from home and family as he ran in the Democratic presidential primary. Since dropping out, he’s started a podcast and begun to think about how he can continue to be of service to his community. Julián and Abby grapple with how divided Democrats can find common ground with the party. Julián also tells Abby he believes government does have a role to play in helping people achieve the American Dream, particularly those who rely on housing and healthcare programs to create stability. He recounts his own experience growing up in Texas in a family that exemplifies that model, where his grandmother came to this country as an orphan from Mexico, and lived to see her grandsons go to Harvard Law School.
Find Julián Castro on Twitter: @JuliánCastro
Listen to Our America with Julián Castro
Julián CastroFormer Sec. of HUD, Mayor of San Antonio
Julián Castro served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017. Before that, he was Mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas — the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at the time. In 2012, he gave a rousing keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, during which he described the American Dream as a relay to be passed from generation to generation. After his historic campaign for president in 2020, Secretary Castro launched People First Future in May to help elect bold, progressive candidates whose campaigns are focused on improving the lives of all people they hope to represent. In September, Secretary Castro launched “Our America with Julián Castro,” a podcast with Lemonada Media that puts a spotlight on vulnerable communities and takes a humanizing and hopeful look at how drastically the American experience shifts from one person to the next.
The Algorithm is Deeply Mysterious
Natalie Wynn: The Algorithm is Deeply Mysterious
This week on All Ears, Abby takes a trip through the underworld of internet culture with YouTuber Natalie Wynn, also known as ContraPoints. An ex-philosopher with a penchant for elaborate sets and costumes, Natalie got her start making response videos to right-wing YouTubers after finding herself alarmed at the increase in hate speech online. Her wildly popular YouTube videos are highly stylized essays, full of sharp, incisive commentary on topics ranging from gender pronouns to capitalism. Natalie and Abby’s conversation touches on the dangerous misogyny of incels, Natalie’s hijacking of YouTube’s algorithm, and how alt-right ideologies hide in plain sight. Natalie also talks about the discomfort of transitioning in the public eye, and gives her surprising prediction about the next big schism on the platform.
Natalie WynnSocial Commentator, Entertainer, Video Essayist
Natalie Wynn is a social commentator, entertainer, and video essayist with over a million subscribers to her channel ContraPoints. She has been described as the Oscar Wilde of Youtube by The Verge, and was listed as one of 50 People Pushing Culture Forward in 2019 by Paper Magazine. Her videos on internet culture and online hate movements have become an online cultural phenomenon, gaining over 45 million views and earning her position as one of the most influential figures in online progressive activism.
Natalie Wynn on Twitter: @ContraPoints
All This Pleasure With A Punch In The Stomach
David Byrne: All This Pleasure With A Punch In The Stomach
This week on All Ears Abby invites us all to take a break from ongoing election shenanigans and enjoy a lively interview with musician David Byrne, whose eccentric musical stylings as the former Talking Heads frontman catapulted him into a multi-faceted career as an artist across many modes of expression. He’s written books, designed art installations, created journalism projects, and last year adapted his acclaimed concert tour, American Utopia, for Broadway. He and Abby look back at his remarkable journey and talk about some of the ways art pushed him to grow as a person, giving him perspective on some of his youthful, broad critiques of middle class American values. These insights led him to some revelations about his earlier work that manifest with a kind of joyful, percussive melancholy in American Utopia. Spike Lee filmed the show right before COVID hit in March, preserving a mood that seems like a perfect fit for these times. Lee’s filmed adaption of American Utopia is currently screening on HBO Max.
David ByrneMusician, Composer, Producer
David Byrne is a musician, composer, and producer. Recent works include the Broadway debut of David Byrne’s American Utopia as well as the forthcoming Spike Lee directed film version, the launch of his Reasons to be Cheerful online magazine, and the solo album American Utopia. Byrne co-founded the band Talking Heads, for which he was the guitarist and lead singer, and established the record labels Luaka Bop and Todo Mundo. Other artistic achievements include the theatrical piece Joan of Arc: Into the Fire; a series of interactive environments questioning human perception and bias, The Institute Presents: NEUROSOCIETY; the theatrical production Here Lies Love; and the book How Music Works. Among his many laurels are Academy, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards.
The Populist Authoritarian Playbook Is Well-Documented
Stacey Abrams: The Populist Authoritarian Playbook Is Well-Documented
On the heels of historic voter turnout in Georgia, Abby revisits her interview with Stacey Abrams back in July. In that conversation, Stacey outlined her bold strategy to fight voter suppression and educate communities about voting. And her work bore fruit, with Georgia flipping blue for the first time in a presidential race since 1992. Recounting her upbringing in Mississippi, the former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader describes the powerful example of citizenship and activism her parents set for their six children, as activists and citizens, even as they had struggled their whole lives for fair access to education, employment opportunities, and the voting booth. Oh, and when Abrams isn’t saving our democracy, she’s got a side hustle as a romance novelist.
Stacey AbramsStacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, nonprofit CEO and the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.
Stacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Abrams was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. After witnessing the gross mismanagement of the 2018 election by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure every Georgian has a voice in our election system. Over the course of her career, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. In 2019, she launched Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the 2020 Census and greater participation in civic engagement, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South.
She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the 2012 recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and a current member of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Abrams has also written eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Salena Montgomery, in addition to Lead from the Outside, formerly Minority Leader, and Our Time Is Now
Post Election Day Therapy
Anand Giridharadas: Post Election Day Therapy
Join us this week for an All Ears rapid response to Election Day 2020! Awash in uncertainty the morning after election day, Abby talks with Anand Giridharadas, the journalist whose unsparing criticisms of the liberal establishment have themselves made headlines. Abby and Anand consider Trump’s popularity with voters and why it’s such a bitter pill for liberals to swallow. They talk about how neoliberalism has put mainstream Democratic leaders at risk of losing blue collar workers. Anand says Joe Biden’s two political personas help explain how the party has lost credibility. There is “Scranton Joe” (the small town, working class defender of the little guy) and “Delaware Joe” (the corporate-friendly elite catering to powerful donor constituents). And, although toxic masculinity as modeled by Trump still holds strong, Anand does express hope about how the needle has moved on race, leaving Abby a bit more optimistic than when the conversation started.
Anand GiridharadasWriter, Publisher of The.Ink, Author of "Winner Takes All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World"
Anand Giridharadas is a writer.
He is the author of, most recently, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” published by Knopf in 2018. His other books are “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas,” about a Muslim immigrant’s campaign to spare from Death Row the white supremacist who tried to kill him (optioned for movie adaption by Annapurna Pictures); and “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking,” about returning to the India his parents left.
He is an editor-at-large for TIME, an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He is a former columnist and correspondent for The New York Times, having written, most recently, the biweekly “Letter from America.” His datelines have included Italy, India, China, Dubai, Norway, Japan, Haiti, Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, Uruguay, and the United States. He has also written for The Times’s arts, business, and travel pages, and its Book Review, Sunday Review, and magazine–and for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.
Follow him on Twitter: @AnandWrites
Subscribe to The.Ink, his newsletter about money and power, politics and culture.
Rev. Rob Schenck
The Faustian Bargain
Rev. Rob Schenck: The Faustian Bargain
This week we have a very special episode of All Ears. Breaking from our usual format, we’re reacting in real time to the late night swearing in of the latest Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett. Abby’s guest this week is Rev. Robert Schenck, an evangelical minister and former prominent anti-abortion activist, who for decades was at the center of the conservative efforts to criminalize abortion and strike down Roe v. Wade. To his regret, those efforts came closer to fruition this week with the long-sought manipulation of the nation’s highest court to reflect an extreme conservative tilt. Describing himself now as a “menace” to vulnerable women during his years of activism, Rob has renounced his work as an anti-abortion crusader, admitting that he was part of a group that in 1995 paid Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) to say that she had changed her mind to come out against abortion. For this All Ears, we air a previously unreleased interview from this past summer between Abby and Rob, where they discuss the origin of their unusual friendship five years ago, the process of setting aside political and religious differences, taking emotional risks to build trust, and how Abby’s experience of sharing her own abortion story shifted their friendship and played a part in Rob’s ideological reversal. Then Abby checks in with Rob by phone after Coney Barrett’s installation to the Supreme Court to react and reflect on the moment, and how they plan to move forward, both personally and politically, with hope and action.
Rev. Rob SchenckMinister in Washington DC, President, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, & Author, Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister's Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love
Rev. Rob Schenck, D.Min. has been a pastor, international evangelist, and is currently an executive advisor to the World Evangelical Alliance. A former home missionary to top government officials, Dr. Schenck now serves as president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, DC. He holds degrees in Bible and Theology, Christian Ministry and Church and State. Dr. Schenck was a primary principle in Abigail Disney’s Emmy-Winning documentary, The Armor of Light. His memoir, Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love (HarperCollins 2018) tells the story of his three conversions, from nominal Judaism to born again Christianity, from a simple belief to a highly politicized faith of more than 30 years, followed by a return to the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
I Take My Civic Duty Ridiculously Seriously
Maria Hinojosa: I Take My Civic Duty Ridiculously Seriously
This week on All Ears, Abby is joined by Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, whose work on issues that affect the Latinx community has brought her both acclaim and scrutiny. As an intrepid reporter at places like CNN and PBS, as well as the first Latina correspondent at NPR, Hinojosa has long challenged what she sees as the typically inequitable race, gender, and cultural narratives told by these venerable but monolithic institutions. And yet her spirit is unbroken! Hinojosa is a funny, warm, and engaging guest, and she and Abby banter and gossip as well as take on heady topics like immigration reform, overcoming imposter syndrome, and the agenda behind labeling women “angry.” Also, there’s an epic takedown of CNN’s Lou Dobbs you won’t want to miss.
Maria HinojosaJournalist, Anchor of Latino USA
Maria Hinojosa’s nearly thirty-year career as a journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WGBH, WNBC, CNN, NPR, and anchoring and executive producing the Peabody Award–winning show Latino USA, distributed by Futuro Media and PRX. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC, and has won several awards, including four Emmys, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club. In 2010, she founded Futuro Media, an independent nonprofit organization with the mission of producing multimedia content from a POC perspective. Through the breadth of her work and as the founding co-anchor of the political podcast In The Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. She lives with her family in Harlem in New York City.
A Paper Plate With A Slice Of Pizza On It Would Be A Better President
Samantha Bee: A Paper Plate With A Slice Of Pizza On It Would Be A Better President
All Ears is kicking off Season 2 with comedian Samantha Bee. As the host of Full Frontal on TBS since 2016, and as a correspondent on The Daily Show for 12 years prior, Sam has been skewering politicians, culture, and society’s sacred cows for the better part of two decades. And she’s really good at it! Abby talks to Sam about growing up in Canada with a Wiccan mom, an atheist dad, and a serious schoolgirl crush on Jesus. Sam describes her journey from pre-law student to comedian, and how the platform of late night news satire became the new face of journalism in modern American politics. Along the way Sam developed a spine of steel, her own show, and a sense of responsibility to tell underreported stories and collaborate with show staffers who bring diverse racial, ethnic, class and gender viewpoints. Did we mention she’s funny? Yeah, that too!
Samantha BeeHost, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs on TBS on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM EST
Find Samantha Bee on Twitter @iamsambee and @FullFrontalSamBee
Season 1 Episodes
Every Thursday on ALL EARS, filmmaker Abigail Disney speaks to a bold thinker from the front lines of America’s inequality crisis to debate and explore the problems, perils and maybe even opportunities made possible by the global COVID-19 pandemic. She’ll look to some of the most dynamic and analytical minds to ask: What have we learned? What haven’t we seen yet? What’s around the corner, and how do we seize this moment to come together as a nation and reset economic opportunity for the 99%?
My Grandfather Was A Sociopath
Mary Trump: My Grandfather Was A Sociopath
This week All Ears brings you a special bonus episode: Abby couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to author Mary Trump about her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man”. As like-minded mavericks, Abby and Mary discuss what it’s like to stand up to a wealthy American family empire from the inside, and the friction and drama that results. Mary brings a gimlet eye to the Trump family mythology, and deconstructs the brutal dynamics that destroyed her father, Fred Trump Jr. (Donald Trump’s elder brother). As Mary relates in vivid detail, the Trump family patriarch, Fred Sr., pitted the five Trump siblings against each other, and Donald emerged as the ruthless victor by emulating Fred Sr.’s narcissism and sociopathy, while Fred Jr. died at 42 from complications of alcoholism, broken by years of emotional abuse at the hands of his father. This is an interview you won’t want to miss!
Mary TrumpMary L. Trump holds a PhD from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies and is the author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man
Mary on Twitter: @MaryLTrump
Is Business Ethics An Oxymoron?
Rebecca Henderson: Is Business Ethics An Oxymoron?
This week on All Ears Abby welcomes Professor Rebecca Henderson, who teaches about innovation, corporate culture change, and ethics at Harvard Business School. Her class, “Reimagining Capitalism”, is one of HBS’s most popular classes, and she says that the majority of her students tend to believe that capitalism is broken. But Professor Henderson tells Abby that capitalism is a fundamentally moral enterprise, albeit one that needs to be held in delicate balance with a strong society and a democratically accountable government. They discuss the dramatic pivot point created by the charismatic economist Milton Friedman in the early 1970s. According to Professor Henderson, Friedman’s fervent free market beliefs created the moral, political, and legal arguments for abolishing ethical boundaries in business practices in the name of maximizing profits. Then, using their political clout, unchecked business leaders spend the next decades undermining protections for workers, healthcare, infrastructure and the environment. Professor Henderson urges listeners to lean into their power as consumers and voters as the engine of business cultural change.
Rebecca HendersonProfessor, Harvard Business School
Rebecca Henderson is one of 25 University Professors at Harvard, a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a fellow of both the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is an expert on innovation and organizational change, and her research explores the degree to which the private sector can play a major role in building a more sustainable economy, focusing particularly on the relationships between organizational purpose, innovation and productivity in high performance organizations. For several years she taught “Reimagining Capitalism: Business & the Big Problems”, a course that grew from 28 students to over 300 and that is the basis for her book “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire” (Hachette/Public Affairs, April 2020). Rebecca sits on the boards of Idexx Laboratories and of CERES. Her publication include Leading Sustainable Change: An Organizational Perspective, and Accelerating Energy Innovation: Lessons from multiple sectors. She was named one of three “Outstanding Directors of 2019” by the Financial Times.
The Hierarchy Of Human Value
Heather McGhee: The Hierarchy Of Human Value
This week on All Ears Abby talks to author and commentator Heather McGhee. Heather is a distinguished senior fellow at the progressive think tank Demos, where she also served as president for four years. Heather argues that the economic, intellectual, and societal costs of racism affect not only its victims but also its perpetrators. She tells Abby that America’s White middle class grew after WW2, with help from Federal housing subsidies, education grants and other benefits that were largely denied to Black Americans. Once Black Americans began demanding equal treatment, many of those programs were simply dismantled. This kind of racism, McGee tells Abby, cost everyone. Abby and Heather also delve into the political theft of Reconstruction, whether American racism is unique, the misogyny of libertarianism, and if the Karen memes are a harbinger of a backlash on feminism.
Heather’s heavily anticipated book, The Sum of Us, is due out in early 2021.
Heather McGheePolicy Advocate
Heather designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. For nearly two decades, she helped build the progressive think tank Demos, including four years as its president. Her upcoming book, The Sum of Us, is available for pre-order now from One World, an imprint of Random House. She will anchor two original podcasts later in 2020. She is the chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, and volunteers for numerous other boards in philanthropy and social justice. She lives in Brooklyn with her urbanist husband, an eighteen year-old cat and a chatty toddler.
Make Way For (Civically Engaged) Ducklings
Stacey Abrams: Make Way For (Civically Engaged) Ducklings
In this week’s episode, Abby talks to one of Joe Biden’s shortlisted VP candidates, Stacey Abrams. Recounting her upbringing in Mississippi, the former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader describes the powerful example her parents set for their children as activists and citizens, even as they had struggled their whole lives for fair access to education, employment opportunities, and the voting booth. “Every election they would take us with them [to vote],” Abrams tells Abby. “And there’s six of us. So we looked like Make Way For Ducklings as we followed them into the voting booth and we trailed out.” Additionally, Abrams talks to Abby about her missions to create awareness about voting, the value of the census, and the authoritarian playbook that closely resembles President Trump’s reelection strategy. Oh, and when Abrams isn’t saving the world, she has a romance novel-writing side gig.
Stacey AbramsStacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, nonprofit CEO and the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.
“Stacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After serving for eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Abrams was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. After witnessing the gross mismanagement of the 2018 election by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure every Georgian has a voice in our election system. Over the course of her career, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. In 2019, she launched Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the 2020 Census and greater participation in civic engagement, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South.
She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the 2012 recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and a current member of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Abrams has also written eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Salena Montgomery, in addition to Lead from the Outside, formerly Minority Leader, and Our Time Is Now.”
The Woman at the Intersection of Intersectionality
Kimberlé Crenshaw: The Woman at the Intersection of Intersectionality
This week is a deep dive into how we can shed ingrained ideologies, question our identities, and form our intellectual selves. Abby is joined by UCLA and Columbia law school professor Kimberlé Crenshaw for a lively conversation about critical race theory, the pitfalls of meritocracy, and how Kimberle’s created the theoretical framework we call intersectionality. Having grown up in the same era, Abby and Kimberle talk about how they internalized the same political touchstones, processed similar clues from their mothers about the importance of propping up the male ego, and how they both failed at absorbing patriarchal messaging.
Kimberlé CrenshawExecutive Director, African American Policy Forum; Host, Intersectionality Matters Podcast; Professor of Law, Columbia University & UCLA
Kimberlé Crenshaw is a Professor of Law and an advocate and educator for civil rights, black feminist legal theory, and race, racism, and the law. She currently teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as Columbia University. Crenshaw co-founded the African American Policy Forum, an organization that provides research-backed ways for people to advance social inclusion. She currently serves as the Executive Director. She is the founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Workshop, and the co-editor of the volume, Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement.
A Video Can Change A Nation
Van Jones: A Video Can Change A Nation
This week on All Ears Abby welcomes CNN host and New York Times’ best-selling author Van Jones. Van talks about being a young civil rights lawyer in Oakland at the time of the Rodney King trial, and how it directly influenced his progressive activism of the last 30 years. Van says that having children made him come around to the belief that fixing the system is more productive than tearing it down, and that finding common ground is the key to systemic change. Van and Abby also discuss white fragility, Democrats’ past willingness to support “tough on crime” laws and mass incarceration, and the fact that Van is a 9th generation American, but the first person in his family to have all his rights fully recognized by the government. Learn more about Van’s extensive body of work in criminal justice reform though his organization REFORM Alliance.
Van JonesCEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN host, and NY Times best-selling author
Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, and CNN host and political commentator. Jones has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. He has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and the Dream Corps – a social justice accelerator that houses #YesWeCode, #GreenForAll, and #cut50, which recently led the charge to pass the FIRST STEP Act (a bipartisan Federal bill that the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation).
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Before George Floyd Was Ever Killed By This Cop, The Systems Were Suffocating Him
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II: Before George Floyd Was Ever Killed By This Cop, The Systems Were Suffocating Him
Continuing our focus on activism around the murder of George Floyd by police on May 25th, Abby welcomes Reverend William J. Barber II, Co-Chair of The Poor People’s Campaign, and President of Repairers of the Breach. Both organizations focus on organizing and uplifting communities across the country using a moral framework of public concerns such as how society treats the poor, women, LGBTQ people, children, workers, immigrants, communities of color, and the sick. Abby, who calls herself a “militant agnostic” who has “faith in people of faith” discusses with Rev. Barber how politics and morality not only overlap, but also that a moral movement can be rooted in the deepest principles of our constitution. Rev. Barber talks about the brutal and arrogant indifference of George Floyd’s killer, and how racism is a form of violence that infiltrates healthcare, public policy, and employment opportunities, and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work in the current environment of protest and civil disobedience.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber IIPresident, Repairers of the Breach
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is president of Repairers of the Breach, based in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. He is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro and a bishop in the College of Affirming Bishops and Faith Leaders. He is the former president of the North Carolina conference of the NAACP and architect of the grassroots social justice movement called Moral Mondays, which spread nationally. He also is a member of the board of directors of the national NAACP.
Rev. Barber is the author of several books, including his most recent, “We Are Called to Be a Movement,” available June 9th from Workman Publishing. It is from a sermon he delivered on June 3, 2018, at the National Cathedral in Washington.
The Time To Challenge The Insidious Calculus Of White Supremacy Is Now
Rajasvini Bhansali: The Time To Challenge The Insidious Calculus Of White Supremacy Is Now
All Ears is stepping back this week from our COVID-19 focus to turn our attention to the national anguish resulting from the murder of George Floyd by police on May 25th. At the forefront of Abby’s mind is sharing her platform with movement leaders, both as an opportunity to listen and learn. This week Abby talks to Rajasvini Bhansali, the Executive Director of Solidaire Network (a community of donors mobilizing resources to social justice movements), about why it’s hard to fund social movements, how white people need to sit with their own discomfort when confronting their own racism, and why profound personal transformation is impossible to do alone.
Rajasvini BhansaliExecutive Director of the Solidaire Network
Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of the Solidaire Network. In a wide-ranging international career devoted to social, ecological, and economic justice, she previously served as Executive Director Thousand Currents for 9 years where she was credited with helping launch a collaborative climate justice fund, an innovative impact investment fund and grow the organization’s award winning grantmaking and partnership practices with social movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has led a national social enterprise focused on youth development; managed a public
telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues in Texas; and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant for large public sector entities. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years, an experience she credits as motivating her to work to transform U.S. based philanthropy.
Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor′s in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley . In 2015, Vini was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) , and she was a Social Entrepreneurship (SEERS) fellow at Stanford University in 2016.
The Resilience Of Women Is Profound, And It's Happening Right Now
Cecile Richards: The Resilience Of Women Is Profound, And It's Happening Right Now
This week Abby is joined by activist and organizer Cecile Richards, as they discuss shared bonds of having a famous parent, and their middle school activism landing them in the principal’s office. Cecile also talks to Abby about why she’s never run for political office, how George W. Bush animated the Christian Right, and the need to build childcare- and healthcare-focused coalitions during COVID-19.
Cecile RichardsSupermajority co-founder and former President of Planned Parenthood
Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, and a co-founder of Supermajority — a new organization fighting for gender equity with women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. She is also the author of New York Times bestseller “Make Trouble” and the former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
The Political Is Very, Very Personal
Elizabeth Warren: The Political Is Very, Very Personal
This week on All Ears, Abby talks to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren about the loss of her eldest brother to COVID-19, one of over 93,000 loved ones lost to the pandemic in this country (as of this episode’s release). As they dig deeper into the origins of the political divide raging between blue and red states, Senator Warren talks about her conservative upbringing and how to maintain relationships even as political viewpoints within families diverge. Both speaking from their own life experiences, Abby and Senator Warren share how family dynamics, work/life balance, and the act of listening can shift perspective across a lifetime.
Elizabeth WarrenU.S. Senator, Massaschusetts
Elizabeth Warren is the Senior Senator from Massachusetts. She is a fearless consumer advocate who has made her life’s work about rebuilding the middle class and making our government for every person, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
Is Everything That Matters Metric-able?
Darren Walker : Is Everything That Matters Metric-able?
Join Abby and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker (@darrenwalker), as they discuss modern philanthropy: how it has evolved, how its success is measured, and who it benefits, on both sides of the ledger.
Darren WalkerPresident, Ford Foundation
Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs including the Rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation—Harlem’s largest community development organization—he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy, including building over 1,000 units of affordable housing and the first major commercial development in Harlem since the 1960s. Earlier, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS.
Darren co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and serves on the Commission on the Future of Rikers Island Correctional Institution and the UN International Labor Organization Commission on the Future of Work. He also serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Gallery of Art, Art Bridges, the High Line, VOW to End Child Marriage, the HOW Institute for Society, the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, and the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the recipient of 13 honorary degrees and university awards, including the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University.
Paying Every Employee A Living Wage
Dan Price: Paying Every Employee A Living Wage
Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price joins Abby from Seattle to talk about his experience as a small business owner in Seattle. Five years ago, Dan made a radical decision to make the base salary $70,000 for every employee at his company, and took a pay cut to do it. It’s been a roller coaster ever since. Also, Dan and Abby discuss their conservative upbringings, how that influenced their work around inequality, and why caring for the well-being of low-wage workers is considered by some to be “un-American”.
Dan PriceCEO, Gravity Payments
Raised in rural Idaho, far from the closest neighbor, Dan Price started Gravity Payments from his university dorm room when he was just 19 years old. Although music was his passion growing up, Dan discovered his lifelong mission when he found many small business owners in his community were being taken advantage of by their credit card processors. He knew that wasn’t right, so he rolled up his sleeves and began disrupting the typical way business is done.
As he told Entrepreneur Magazine, “I never intended to make a lot of money, or really any. I was really upset at this industry for the way they were treating my clients, and I just wanted to blow the whole thing up.”
Dan shaped Gravity on a different set of values not normally seen in the workplace —honesty, transparency, and responsibility. These simple values have made Dan and the Gravity team a trusted name in credit card processing. Today, independent businesses across all 50 states trust Gravity to save them millions in fees and hours in frustration by making it easy and simple for them to accept payments.
The Essential Female Workers of COVID-19
Terry McGovern: The Essential Female Workers of COVID-19
In the inaugural episode of All Ears, Abby is joined by Columbia University professor and human rights lawyer Terry McGovern to discuss how gender discrimination undermines job security, equal pay, and healthcare for women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the startling parallels to the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Terry McGovernHarriet and Robert H. Heilbrunn Professor and Chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Director of the Program on Global Health Justice and Governance at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Terry McGovern currently serves as Harriet and Robert H. Heilbrunn Professor and Chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health and the Director of the Program on Global Health Justice and Governance at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Ms. McGovern founded the HIV Law Project in 1989 where she served as its executive director until 1999. Ms. McGovern successfully litigated numerous cases against the federal, state and local governments including S.P. v. Sullivan which forced the Social Security Administration to expand HIV-related disability criteria so that women and individuals can qualify for Medicaid and social security, and T.N. v. FDA, which eliminated a 1977 FDA guideline restricting the participation of women of childbearing potential in early phases of clinical trials. As a member of the National Task Force on the Development of HIV/AIDS Drugs, she authored the 2001 federal regulation authorizing the FDA to halt any clinical trial for a life threatening disease that excludes women. From 2006 until 2012, she was Senior Program Officer in the Gender, Rights and Equality Unit of the Ford Foundation. Her research focuses on health and human rights, sexual and reproductive rights and health, gender justice, and environmental justice, with publications appearing in journals including Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Health and Human Rights, and the Journal of Adolescent Health. Ms. McGovern recently co-edited Women and Girls Rising: Rights, Progress and Resistance: A Global Anthology. She has served on the Standing Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing and the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, and currently serves as a member of the UNFPA Global Advisory Council and the UNAIDS Human Rights Reference Group.
Effective Date: March 22, 2017.
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