“We Live Here” is a podcast that shares stories about race and class from St. Louis and beyond. Episodes range from investigative accountability pieces to story-based reflections with a focus on everyday people interested in racial equity.
Kendall Martinez-Wright is an Afro-Puerto Rican transgender woman advocating for transgender rights in the Missouri Legislature. Amidst nationwide transphobic legislation in 2021, Kendall ran a historic campaign for Missouri's Fifth District. She has a long career in advocacy, politics and legislative work. The campaign's website was admitted to the Library of Congress, as she became the first Afro-Puerto Rican transgender woman to run for Missouri’s House of Representatives.
For years, Black people have been working on the ground and behind the scenes to create a better world for the next generation. We have seen a number of great activists over the years who challenged the status quo and promoted a more equitable society. I sat down with Ben Jealous, President of People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy organization created to fight extremism and restore democracy. In this episode we hear from Ben about the changing landscape of activism work, his excitement for events to engage with communities, and the legacy he wants to leave behind.
Seldom are Black journalists allowed the opportunity to tell their own stories. In this episode local Black journalists share personal experiences about reporting on stories while living with the very same realities of the communities they serve.
The COVID-19 pandemic flipped the education system on its head. Teachers had to find new ways to engage with students virtually. Students had to learn how to navigate chrome books, laptops, and other devices in order to complete their studies. Everything changed and a lot was uncovered such as the lack of resources in minority school districts. In this episode we hear from a young school board member working to change the educational landscape in her hometown, a professor with years of experience with a new outlook on education, and community members share their thoughts on the state of education.
This time around we’re going to do things a little differently. We partnered with Dr. Kira Banks and the Raising Equity podcast on this episode to discuss movement and mental health. Dr. Banks and I wanted to understand more deeply how people are coping with the feeling of loss, the loss of normalcy, loved ones, jobs, and more. In this episode we hear from a yoga instructor and math teacher about how he combined his passion for yoga with education and then Dr. Banks and I sit down with a local Black therapist who talks about how he shaped the mission of his private practice.
I wanted to hear from Black women in our region about what the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) act means to them and discuss their own personal journey with hair. In this episode we visit Frizz Fest 2021, hear from a beauty salon owner about the importance of individuality, and an African American history professor breaks down the history of Black hair.
This is the second of a two-part tribute to the late Dr. Jonathan Cedric Smith, whose commitment to cultural memory we shared in our most recent episode. In this episode, we’re handing over the mic to family, friends, and community members who were impacted by Jonathan’s passion for social justice and will be carrying forth the legacy of love that he left them.
This episode is the first of a two-part tribute to a man whose passion for social justice and cultural memory impacted hundreds of people in the St. Louis region: Dr. Jonathan Cedric Smith, who died this year on Juneteenth. Among many community roles, he served on the board of St. Louis Public Radio. Last year, Lauren and Jia Lian had the opportunity to interview Dr. Smith about his perspective as Co-Chair of the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project. To introduce you to this project and Dr. Smith’s role in it, we speak with Marissanne Lewis-Thompson, afternoon newscaster and general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. Then, we travel back in time to share Jonathan’s own words about what the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project meant to him. Finally, historian Dr. Kelly Schmidt will explain how Jonathan’s care for descendant communities shaped the project and his youngest brother, Jacques, will share how Jonathan’s passion for cultural memory, ancestry, and history began.
Jia and Lauren sit down in the studio for the first time since March 2020 to discuss reporting during the pandemic and how life has been for the past year. As they discuss personal trials and tribulations the We Live Here team is also excited about the new listener survey. Whether you are a long time listener, contributor, or community member we want your input. What do you enjoy, what can we do better, and what does We Live Here mean to you? Check out our new listener survey by visiting our website at welivehere.show/survey or check us out on social @weliveherestl on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Throughout this season, we’ve shared stories of those living in unhealthy environments, how those environments came to be, and what we can do to create a better environment for the future. But in order to complete this series on the environment, we had to discuss land, the people who originated from that land and the movements to restore and give back to Indigenous people. In this episode, we hear from a PhD student working on a research project to combat Indigenous people's invisibility in the St. Louis region and a Director providing a space for students to learn about American Indian history and culture.
Throughout this season, we have introduced you to urban farmers, people working on the ground to change their environment, politicians working to pass environmental legislation, and more. But there are also many environmental scholars working to provide a space for Black environmentalists to thrive. That’s why we are introducing you to Dr. Dorceta Taylor, an author and professor at the Yale School for the Environment. In this episode, we hear about Dr. Taylor’s work in environmental studies, the contributions Black folks have made to the environmental justice movement, and the power community leaders have to transform the environments where they live.
We wanted to share a follow-up conversation with Myisha Johnson, one of the three working members of State Street Tenant Resistance and the founder of Community First Plus, a new housing and environmental justice organization. She’s been connecting the dots between health problems and pollution from facilities like Kinder Morgan for over a decade. In this episode, we hear how Myisha felt when residents like her were asked to sign onto an administrative complaint to the EPA about the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Then, attorneys Sarah Rubenstein and Bob Menees of Great Rivers Environmental Law Center will share about what happened when they filed the administrative complaint to the EPA on behalf of the Missouri and St. Louis City NAACP and Dutchtown South Community Corporation.--This is Part II of a two-part series on how tenants are organizing to hold problem landlords accountable, and what happens when large companies and the state need to be held accountable too. If you haven’t listened to Part I: Tenant Rights and Resistance, listen to it now!
Follow us on Social
Gabriela is the Executive Director at the Center for Emerging Technologies and Director of Entrepreneurship at CORTEX. With the BALSA Foundation she promotes social equity and prosperity.
Alejandro Santiago Ortega
Alejandro Santiago Ortega is a foreign attorney and community advocate.
Alejandro received his J.D. from Universidad Anáhuac in Oaxaca, Mexico. After graduating law school, Alejandro did a Master’s Degree in U.S. Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. Alejandro has worked for non-profits and law firms in many areas including real state, immigration, mediation, and contracts.
He also volunteers for several organizations in the St. Louis region, looking to create meaningful change in the community. Alejandro is committed to improving the quality of life for all in the region.
Alejandro Santiago Ortega es abogado extranjero y defensor comunitario.
Alejandro recibió su J.D. de la Universidad Anáhuac en Oaxaca, México. Después de graduarse de la facultad de derecho, Alejandro hizo una maestría en derecho estadounidense en la Facultad de Derecho de California Western en San Diego, California.
Alejandro ha trabajado para organizaciones sin fines de lucro y bufetes de abogados en muchas áreas, incluyendo bienes raíces, inmigración, mediación y contratos.
Alejandro también es voluntario de varias organizaciones en la región de St. Louis, buscando crear un cambio significativo en la comunidad. Alejandro está comprometido con mejorar la calidad de vida para todos en la región
2020 - Empower Missouri Media Award
2019 - Kaleidoscope Award
2020 - Empower Missouri Media Award
Have episode ideas or feedback? We'd love to hear from you.