We’ll be back later this year with the debut of Season 3 of “We Can Be,” but in the meantime, join host Grant Oliphant for “Stronger than This,” a special podcast series of candid conversations about COVID-19. With new episodes each week, you’ll hear from those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as they share first-hand experiences, challenges, victories, and what they see for the long road ahead. Recorded remotely — with a quick turnaround time from recording to release and minimal editing — these episodes give a unique, unvarnished opportunity for deeper insight into the current crisis.
Global Leadership Award winner Leah Lizarondo, founder and CEO of 412 Food Rescue, talks with host Grant Oliphant about what COVID-19 reveals about food insecurity, the “Mister Rogers mentality” that drives the largest volunteer-led food transport network in the nation, and how movie star Michael Keaton has helped spur record volunteer involvement during the current crisis.
Melding technology, logistics and civic engagement to fight hunger and promote sustainability, 412 Food Rescue has become the fastest-growing food recovery entity in the country, diverting more than 10 million pounds of perfectly good food from waste to organizations that help those who are food insecure.
Born in the Philippines and currently residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leah earned her master’s degree in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, where she holds the position of Entrepreneur in Residence. Leah and 412 Food Rescue have been featured in media pieces by NPR, Fast Company, Martha Stewart Living, and The Washington Post.
In addition to a 2020 Global Leadership Award from Vital Voices, an honor whose past winners include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Melinda Gates and Malala Yousafzai, Leah has received a 2019 WE Empower UN SDG Challenge award, given annually to five women from around the world who are advancing the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.
Dr. John Graham, a senior scientist with the Clean Air Task Force, talks with host Grant Oliphant about the effects COVID-19 is having on the air we breathe, why this is an “exceptional moment” for air quality, and what the current “war on expertise” could mean for our future.
A San Francisco Bay Area resident, John grew up in the rural dairy farm community of Glenn Falls, New York, and holds a doctorate in atmospheric science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s in chemistry from Harvard University.
A nationally respected expert in air quality data analysis, he has been with the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force for more than a decade, working with his colleagues to help prevent catastrophic climate change by driving technology innovation, policy change, and realistic solutions.
Patrick Dowd, executive director of Allies for Children, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the myriad of ways COVID-19 is affecting our young people, including hunger, access to technology, the health and well-being of their parents, child care – and the action needed to prepare for what’s next.
A bold voice for policy and practice changes that improve the lives of children, Patrick was raised in Missouri and put down roots in Pittsburgh after earning his doctorate in European history from the University of Pittsburgh.
A teacher for nearly a decade before making the move into the policy world, Patrick served in prominent roles on both Pittsburgh’s school board and City Council. He is a nationally respected expert in the education realm, a role that comes naturally to this father of six.
Monica Ruiz, executive director of Latino advocacy organization Casa San Jose, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the unique ways COVID-19 is affecting immigrant and refugee communities, why the census is key to changing the narrative around Latinos, and the teachable moments that the current crisis offers us.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and with family roots in Guatemala and Puerto Rico, where her parents are originally from, Monica has a master’s degree in social work with a focus on community organizing and social action. She fights for those facing deportation proceedings, and brings compassion and expertise to projects that help women, children and youth. In 2019, she received both the Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, and the César Chávez Community Heroes Award.
Brookings Institution scholar and author Andre Perry joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the moral lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis, why black and brown people are dying from the virus at a vastly disproportionate rate, and why hearing from his son’s teacher gives him hope.
Andre is an internationally acclaimed voice on race and equity. He is a columnist for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in in-depth education reporting, and his writing also regularly appears in The Nation, The New York Times and The Washington Post. His upcoming book is titled “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities” (Brookings Institution Press, May 19, 2020).
Artist/activist Jasiri X, co-founder and CEO of 1Hood Media, joins host Grant Oliphant to talk about the role of art in times of crisis, why COVID-19 lays bare a historic distrust of the medical system by people of color, and the reality that many who are deemed “essential workers” do not make a living wage.
Jasiri X is leading 1Hood Media — a collective of socially conscious artists and activists who use art as a means of raising awareness about social justice issues — in its response to the COVID-19 crisis. He is the recipient of an “Artist as Activist” fellowship at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Chicago Theological Seminary, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also received an honorary doctorate.