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The Black Panther Party – Seattle Chapter

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. The Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party was the first to be established outside of California.  This series highlights some lesser known stories of Seattle’s local Black Panther Party.

KBCS’s Yuko Kodama speaks with Steve Roberson and Aaron Dixon, former members of Seattle’s Black Panther Party. Steve Roberson served as a vista volunteer for the Party in the free community health clinic and breakfast program in the early 70’s, and Aaron Dixon was the former leader of Seattle’s Black Panther Party.

Part 1 – Dixon explains how the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party was founded.Roberson shares about memories about the Black Panther Party health clinic in the late 1960’s.

Part 2 – Black Panther Party members were required to educate themselves about black history.  The mission was to serve the community.  Dixon describes a day in the life of a Black Panther Party member.

Part 3 – Dixon describes how the Black Panther Party free breakfast program worked and who donated to the organization.

Part 4 – One of the Black Panther Party’s programs was to protect the community from racial aggression.  Dixon recounts an incident the orgnanization was involved in at Rainier Beach High School.

Part 5 – Roberson shares about an encounter at the Black Panther Party free community medical clinic that changed his perspective on community.

Part 6 – Dixon illustrates how the organization was supported by the local community during a confrontation with the Seattle Police, and explains the history behind a sculpture at Madrona Elementary school and Library

Part 7 – Dixon shares what happened as Black Panther Party chapters in Los Angeles and Chicago were attacked by federal government entities, resulting in 4 political assassinations of Black Panther Party leaders

Part 8 – Dixon reflects on how the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party weathered the more intense period after J Edgar Hoover proclaimed the Black Panther Party breakfast program a threat to national security.

Part 9 – Dixon describes how former Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman stepped in to keep the local chapter safe.

Part 10 – Dixon gives his take on how civil rights and black liberation movements of the 60s and 70’s compare to the social movements of today.

Part 11 – Dixon shares the Seattle Black Panther Party’s relationship with Jimi Hendrix.


2 Stories: PTSD and the Media – and a Ferguson Story

KBCS’s KD Hall interviews clinical psychologist, Chalon Ervin about how some of us can experience post traumatic stress disorder by constantly being exposed to tragedies in the media.


Musician, Author and Theologian, Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou was arrested for praying in front of Ferguson, Missouri riot police, in 2014 during the protests for slain teenager, Michael Brown. He shares that story with KBCS’s Yuko Kodama.


The Media and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

KBCS’s KD Hall interviews clinical psychologist, Chalon Ervin about how some of us can experience post traumatic stress disorder by constantly being exposed to tragedies in the media.


Today’s Native Activism

Our region’s Native community is vibrant, and a force to be reckoned with.  From art and education, to  social services and political advocacy, we feature some of the leaders empowering the Native experience.

Episode 1 – Last October, local Lakota activist, and Co-founder of the blog, Last Real Indians Matt Remle made a breakthrough in Seattle with the replacement of Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s Day. The event made national and international headlines. Remle discusses the importance of recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day.

Episode 2 – This year, all Washington public schools are  mandated to teach Native American history and governance in the curriculum.   Mike Vendiola is a Swinomish member and Washington State’s Native Education Program Supervisor for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He explains the need for the legislation.

Episode 3 – Pahnee Tribal Member and Chief Seattle Club Executive Director, Colleen Echohawk explains one of the core reasons why there’s a disproportionate number of Native Americans on the street and without a home.

Episode 4 & 5 – Louie Gong is a Nooksack member, arts entrepreneur and educator who founded Eighth Generation.  He breaks down cultural appropriation and the impact on the native community.

Image – Courtesy of artist, Louie Gong “Modern Day Warrior”

Music – Rushus “crimson turtles”, “05-29”

Producers – Ruth Bly and Yuko Kodama

The Man Behind ‘Essence’, the Black Women’s Magazine

Essence is a well-known monthly African American women’s magazine.  What may not be as well-known is the successful black women’s lifestyle publication was founded by four African American men including Edward Lewis.  Edward Lewis was in our studios to share his perspective and experience in starting up, Essence.

Episode 1 – Co-Founder of Essence Magazine,  Edward Lewis talks about the women who influenced him

Episode 2 – Edward Lewis speaks about the power of black women in our society.

Episode 3 – Edward Lewis recounts the challenges he faced in starting up this now successful monthly.

Episode 4 – Edward Lewis, explains how he helped kickstart Latina Magazine with Christy Haubegger. Lewis also talks about the importance of a woman’s magazine that covers all topics including those sometimes considered controversial.


Photo:  Courtesy of Essence Magazine

Music: Rushus – modal blues

Producers:  Sonya Green and Ruth Bly

Perspectives on Parenting

Parenting and being a caregiver of a child can bring about the biggest joys and some of the most difficult challenges of our day to day lives. This series offers some perspectives on parenting today.
Episode 1 – Local child safety expert Kim Estes  on kids and the media today

Episode 2 –  Seattle based child safety expert, Kim Estes describes culture entitlement parenting.

Episode 3 –  Simplicity Parenting is an international movement toward simplifying life to benefit the entire family. It’s informed by the book, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and is in response to maxed out family schedules and stressed out child behavior.  Simplicity Parenting coach, Briana Bennitt reflects on modern day parenting challenges.

Episode 4 – Simplicity Parenting Coach, Briana Bennitt shares her perspective on managing kids’ “stuff” in the home.

Episode 5 –  Local Simplicity Parenting coach, Briana Bennitt shares her perspective on offering a filter on the adult world for the younger kids.

music by Rushus  song –  “crimson turtles”

photo courtesy of Buck Daddy

Producers – Yuko Kodama and Ruth Bly


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Black Prison Organizing During the Civil Rights Era

Black activism and prison organizing go hand in hand according to University of Washington, Bothell, Professor Dan Berger’s book, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era. In the book, Berger explores how prisoners used jail to shine the light on racial oppression and what it means to be free.  KBCS News Director, Sonya Green sat down with Berger to talk about his new book.

episode 1: Dan Berger explains how the prison organizing and civil rights organizing complemented each other and were a part of each other.

episode 2: The women of the civil rights movement played a key role in exposing the injustices especially the wrongful treatment of those put in jail or imprisoned.  Berger talks about the women who helped change the course of the movement with their actions and words.

episode 3: Author, activist and prisoner, George Jackson greatly influenced the prison reform movement of the civil rights era and today. Jackson’s letters from prison published in, Soledad Brother, put a spotlight on the need for change. Dan Berger explains how Jackson quickly became a leader both in and out of prison.

episode 4: Many notable men of the civil rights movement documented their incarceration and published books detailing their experience. This piece highlights the role of media in telling prisoners’ stories.

episode 5: Today’s Black Lives Matter movement echoes the same sentiment as the civil rights era of the 60s. It also calls for a close look at how the criminal justice system treats African Americans. Dan Berger says society needs to rethink the prison system and policing.

Music by Kevin MacLeod “Good Groove”

Photo by Fiona Dalwood

Art for Social Change

Some people in our community say that art not only helps promote social relationship and awareness, but encourages social change.  Listen to segments of interviews with artists, art educators  and art students about how art is a conversation.

Episode 1:  University of Washington Tacoma, Professor of Interdisciplinary studies, Beverly Naidus talks about her experience in creating art for social change. (full interview aired in 2013)

Episode 2:  Artist, Jasmine Brown describes what inspired her to create her art-piece on how the media portrays child deaths.   (full interview aired in 2013)

Episode 3 : University of Washington Tacoma, Art students, Jenn Soikowski and Rachel Ervin describe how art builds community for them.  (full interview aired in 2013)

Episode 4: University of Washington Tacoma Interdisciplinary studies professor, Beverly Naidus and her students (from 2013), Jenn Soikowski and Rachel Ervin describe how art shapes us. (full interview aired in 2013)

Episode 5:  Music Educator, Clarence Acox gives his take on how deeply art curriculum can enrich students in public schools. (aired in 2009)

by Jennifer Soikowski

by Jennifer Soikowski

by Vanessa Darrah

by Vanessa Darrah

Veronica Millan

Veronica Millan

Impacts of the Comcast/Time Warner Merger

Many consumers and business advocates have a lot to say about the Comcast Time Warner merger announcement.  When Comcast buys out Time Warner, the two combined would have 30 million cable subscribers and would control close to half of the internet connections in the United States.   Music + Ideas host, Sonya Green hosts a discussion on the impacts of the proposed time Warner merger on local consumers and broadband service businesses.

  • Bill Schreier – Writer for Contributor of Geekwire and former Chief Technology Officer at the City of Seattle
  • Susan Crawford – Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and Columnist for Bloomberg View
  • Steve Weed – Founder and CEO of WAVE Broadband



The giving season is upon us!  At this time of selling, buying and gifting, it seems appropriate to step back and take a look at consumerism.  The non-profit organization, Humanities Washington hosts Think & Drinks throughout the state – public events that offer a topic and a panel of speakers on the topic to inspire thoughtful discussion in our communities.  They hosted events earlier in December on consumerism.  We listen to some history of consumerism and where we are with it today.


  • Zaki Abdelhamid – Humanities Washington Program Manager
  • Linda Nash – Professor at University of Washington’s Department of History

Listen to the discussion here