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Real talk, Real people

Real talk, Real people

By james walker
Real talk, Real people is a podcast that turns the mic over to everyday people to hear what they have to say about the problems and social issues we face as a society.
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Pandemic is Taking a Toll on Black Kids
The pandemic has been particularly difficult for the mental health of young Black kids because they have had to deal with more than social isolation, anxiety and depression that the pandemic brought. My guests today are Dr. Regina Wilson and Shenira Billups, a certified licensed counselor for New Haven County. They are here to talk about the challenges black kids are facing.  Due to the length of this discussion, we are running it in two parts, today and next Monday.
September 20, 2021
Throwback Monday: A network of Black mothers "Demand Action" to stop gun violence
There are many efforts underway by police and community leaders to stop gun violence, but the bullets just keep on flying -- including five shootings in four days in New Haven.  In light of this, we are returning to a conversation we had six months ago with Hamden resident Kimberly Washington.  Eight years ago, she founded the nonprofit "Mothers Demand Action" to bring attention to gun violence in her community and rallied mothers from around New Haven County to her cause. We talked to Kimberly at Hamden High School where she works as a teacher.
September 13, 2021
Hat-maker teaches the art of sewing
We have a different type of show this week as we welcome French hat-maker Catherine Cazes Wiley to Real talk, Real people. Catherine runs a nonprofit and a for profit business on Chapel Street in downtown New Haven that centers around sewing and hat-making. Sewing and making your own clothes and other household items have seen a tremendous resurgence during the past five years. In fact, the sale of sewing machines is soaring and fabric is flying off the shelves. Catherine’s goal is to teach people how sewing can earn them extra cash and she spends her time teaching classes and making and repairing hats. Let’s hear what she has to say.
August 30, 2021
Black car buyers face predatory lending at dealerships
African Americans continue to face predatory lending practices when they apply for credit. And never is this more evident than when Blacks go to buy a car. My guest today is economist and lawyer Ian Ayres. He is the Deputy Dean and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor at Yale Law School. He started his research back when President Barack Obama was then president of the Harvard Law Review and published an article about his findings. Let’s listen to what he has to say.
August 15, 2021
The Kiyama Movement Seeks to Educate Black Men
Attorney Michael Jefferson joins us this week. He is the founder of the Kimaya (Kee Ah Ma) Movement here in Connecticut. You’ve probably noticed the black and white signs around New Haven and Hamden bearing the slogan "Black men vote too." It is one of the ways the Kimaya Movement seeks to educate Black men and help them become more viable and effective members of their communities. Let’s hear what he has to say.
August 2, 2021
Pulling Back the Veil on Black Women’s Health
My guest today is Dr. Kristen Zarfos with Trinity Health of New England. She is a breast cancer specialist and medical director of the Karl J. Krapek Sr. Comprehensive Women’s Health Center at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. Black women are needlessly dying and she is here to tell them why. Let’s listen to what she has to say.
July 25, 2021
New Haven Woman Gains Ground in Non Traditional Business
There are many minority women who are chucking their 9-5 jobs and striking out on their own. And they are breaking ground by opening businesses not traditionally associated with minority women. My guest today is New Haven resident Shantel Garcia, the owner and founder of Innovative Consulting and Solutions, an entity that helps business owners and executives keep their companies organized, productive and financially sound. She is here to tell us how she got started and offer tips to women contemplating starting their own business. Let’s hear what she has to say.
July 12, 2021
The Road to Justice Never Ends
What a difference a day makes. Last Tuesday, Democratic state Rep. Quentin "Q" Phipps, who represents Middletown, and Barbara Fair of Stop Solitary CT taped an episode about the bill, SB1059, which stops the inhumane treatment of the solitary confinement of prisoners. The bill was passed by the CT House and Senate but Gov. Ned Lamont had yet to sign it into law, even though he publicly stated he would. On Wednesday, the governor blindsided supporters of the bill when he vetoed the measure and instead issued an executive order to reduce the time prisoners could be confined. Much of what Barbara and Q had to say remains relevant so we decided to run the episode with updated comments about the governor's veto from Barbara.
July 5, 2021
Celebrating Gay Pride
Gay Pride Month is being celebrated throughout the US and by sane people and governments worldwide. I had to put it that way because in some countries being gay is illegal. And to me, that’s just insane. My guest today is Patrick Dunn. He is the executive director of the New Haven Pride Center. He says there is much to celebrate as barriers continue to fall but he is concerned about the lack of resources for LGBTQ+ youth who are homeless and have very little support from families because they are gay. Let’s listen to him reflect on Pride month, the Legend Drag show and how he is trying to help LGBTQ+  youth who are struggling.
June 26, 2021
Nourishing the body doesn't have to be expensive
Eating healthy can help low-income people control obesity and diabetes. But eating healthy foods isn’t cheap and that is where community gardens comes in. My guest today is Eliza Caldwell, who listeners may remember from last year when she offered tips on planting vegetables and when to do it. She is the program manager for the community gardens at Gather New Haven. Once again, she is here to talk about the value of growing healthy food and how it benefits low-income communities.
June 7, 2021
The Family Music Center has a place for you
I think it is around the age of 1, that we discover the joy of music. I don’t care if it’s classical, R&B, hip-hop, pop or jazz, music plays a crucial part in most people’s lives. But do you ever wonder where these musicians learned to play instruments and polish their craft? My guest today is Ty Scurry. He is the owner of the Family Music Center on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, where the motto is "Believe, Achieve, Become!" He has his attention on bringing music and the arts to low-income children and communities. Let’s hear how he is doing that and how you can be part of his community musical event.
May 31, 2021
What's on my mind
It's been a long 14 months and things are beginning to reopen. I, for one, am grateful. 
May 24, 2021
Gather New Haven is about more than growing food
Healthy food. You wouldn’t think putting healthy food on the table would be a problem, but it is, particularly for low-income people. My guest today is Brent Peterkin. He is the executive director of Gather New Haven. As many of you know, we had Eliza Caldwell from Gather New Haven on the podcast last year where she shared tips for growing food. She’ll be back with us in the coming weeks to share more seasonal tips on plating vegetables. Bent is here to talk about the overall mission of Gather New Haven, which is about a lot more than growing food.
May 17, 2021
Hamden man has new position, but the same goals
We hear a lot about the bad things that young people are doing. But there are many young people striving to do things that help make their communities a better and safer place to live. My guest today is Daniel Hunt. He is the newest member of the Hamden Human Services Commission. For the past several years, Daniel has been creating programs in New Haven that include building relations with police and making learning a fun experience for kids. He hopes to expand those programs and bring them into Hamden. He is to talk about what he hopes to do in his new position on the commission.
May 3, 2021
Fraternity seeks Black male high school teens to award scholarships
We're jumping into the year 2022 to give young Black men about to graduate high school a heads up on scholarship money that could be theirs. My guest today is Ed Stowe Jr. He is the vice chairman of scholarships for the Fairfield County chapter of Alpha Psi Alpha. He says his fraternity has four $2,500 scholarships to give away but many times has a hard time finding young men to apply. What are the requirements? How do they get it? Let's hear what he has to say.
April 26, 2021
A Yale infectious disease doctor talks candidly about COVID-19
There are a lot of mix-messages about COVID-19, with conflicting information coming from many sources. My guest today is Dr. Heidi Zapata, an infectious disease doctor at Yale University's School of Medicine.    She is here to talk candidly about the virus, where we stand on getting people vaccinated, the effectiveness of the different vaccines and what  potentially lies ahead.  This podcast is also available in video format on YouTube. 
April 19, 2021
Advocates say proposed security upgrades at Connecticut Mental Health Center is disguised racism
There is a crisis brewing in New Haven that potentially affects Black and brown people seeking mental health treatment at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Officials' plan to bring in armed police and add surveillance. This has the advocacy group Hamden Action Now calling the impending policy change a veiled attempt for more control of Black and Brown communities. My guests today are Rhonda Caldwell of hamdenactionnow, along with Carmen Black Parker and Keith Gallagher from Yale University who work at the CMHC.  This is an important discussion. It is available in both audio and video versions.
April 12, 2021
Domestic violence has no end
New Haven resident Alessia Mesquita, 28, is the latest woman to lose her life to domestic violence. Police say she was shot dead by her boyfriend while she was with their 1 year old child. My column this past Sunday in Hearst CT newspapers is about domestic violence because it has become more deadlier than ever.  We’re going to listen to Corrinna Martin, the founder of Mothers of Victim Equality, a nonprofit to help women victimized by domestic violence. She lost two daughters and a grandchild to domestic violence. Here in Connecticut, nearly 38 percent of women and approximately 33 percent of men experience domestic violence, sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking during their lifetimes. And 30 percent of all criminal court cases involve family violence. In 2017, there were 18 family homicide victims and a gun was used in 35 percent of those homicides.
April 5, 2021
Celebrating National Women's Month
We've had some interesting women on the show during the last 16 months. They have talked about everything from breast cancer to solitary confinement to mental health to how to get a better handle on your finances. We decided to end National Women’s Month with three of our guests who talked about the importance of healthy eating, being the boss and Black self-identity.  They are respectively, Eliza Caldwell from Gather New Haven; Samantha Williams, president of east haven-based samsword and Bridgeport resident Sharaya Smith.
March 29, 2021
A network of Black mothers "Demand Action" to stop the violence
Black women have been making a difference around the country fighting social issues that affect black communities -- and Hamden resident Kimberly Washington is no exception. Eight years ago, she founded the nonprofit "Mothers Demand Action" to bring attention to gun violence in her community and rallied mothers from around New Haven County to her cause. Real talk caught up with Kimberly at Hamden High School where she works as a teacher.
March 22, 2021
A Hamden man is on a mission to fix dads one at a time
What does it take to be a good father? My guest is Dr. David Lee Asbery, the founder of Fixing Fathers, Inc., a Hamden-based start-up company on a mission to fix fathers -- one dad at a time. He says men don't have to be perfect dads but they do have to be committed to being good dads. There are more than 4 million Black children in the U.S. The majority are growing up with a father in the home but 1.7 million are growing up in a fatherless household. But that does not mean the father is not involved.  According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, Black men excel as fathers even when marriage is not in the picture. 
March 15, 2021
Guns: The Second Amendment and the Black community
Guns, guns, guns. A lot of attention falls on the illegal use of guns in the Black community. But owning a gun legally is a Second Amendment right given to all Americans, although, it isn't talked about much in the Black community.  My guest today is Norwalk resident William Hampton, owner of Train Safe Academy. A gun enthusiast and member of several gun organizations, he teaches classes on the responsibility of gun ownership. He says more Blacks than ever are learning about their rights and guns sales are through the roof.  He joins us to talk about gun safety and why the Black community should know about its Second Amendment rights.
March 8, 2021
Her fight against inhumanity helps close a Connecticut prison
It's been nearly a year since Barbara Fair brought her campaign to end the inhuman treatment of Connecticut prisoners to Real talk, Real people.   And now, her advocacy on behalf of prisoners has helped bring about the closure of the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. The United Nations stated in a report that methods used at the prison seemed to be "a state-sanctioned policy aimed at purposefully inflicting severe pain or suffering, physical or mental, which may well amount to torture." But despite the victory, Barbara says the battle isn't over yet. 
March 1, 2021
Nearly 4,300 children in Connecticut need your help
My guest today is Dwayne Jackson, one of 45 volunteers for CASA, an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southern Connecticut. The mission of CASA is to recruit and train adults to safeguard the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected in New Haven, New London and Middlesex counties.  Jackson is here to tell us why we should get involved and become a volunteer with CASA to help these kids. 
February 22, 2021
Is this the year Connecticut will finally approve recreational marijuana?
The conversation is about legalizing marijuana in Connecticut and this is a critical week to talk about it. Gov. Lamont is expected to include marijuana legislation in his budget on Wednesday. My guest today is Adam Wood, co-director of the Committee to Regulate Marijuana in Connecticut. Wood joins Real talk, Real people to tell us why Connecticut should legalize marijuana and his reasoning goes beyond dollars and cents -- and he makes a lot of sense.
February 8, 2021
Being Black in Connecticut: A Bridgeport man says reparations are needed
The conversation this week is our ongoing look at being Black in Connecticut. My guest is 29-year-old Bridgeport resident Avery Tillery. Avery says many of the problems in the Black community can be solved through reparations. And he believes reparations are needed in all areas of the Black community where, he says, inequality has led to such wrongs as children working to help pay bills.  He also talks about how the image of Black men as violent is distorted and how difficult it is for Black men to earn a living, even doing simple things like shoveling snow. 
February 1, 2021
Being Black in Connecticut: A Bridgeport resident says Blacks must find their identity
What does being Black in Connecticut mean to its Black citizens? And what do we need to do to better our lives and have stronger communities? My guest this week is Bridgeport resident Sharaya Smith. She says the first step Blacks must take is to find their identity. 
January 25, 2021
We're still marching toward MLK's dream -- and I, too, have a dream
When I was a kid, the name Martin Luther King, Jr. was like an electric current running through Black neighborhoods. The March on Washington had galvanized the civil rights movement and Black people could not stop talking about King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the real possibility that a change was going to come. It’s been nearly 58 years since King’s iconic speech and his unifying vision but as the events of 2020 spill over into 2021, we still face the same old problems. And that’s why I, too, have a dream.
January 18, 2021
An HIV specialist talks about the pros and cons of vaccines in America
I thought COVID-19 had shown us the worse it could bring but I was wrong. The virus is raging stronger than ever and the death tolls are at unprecedented levels here in the U.S.  As of Friday, the U.S. was averaging 247,200 new cases a day and averaging 2,982 deaths per day.  Whether you agree or disagree with taking the vaccine available, you should understand the pros and cons. And for that, we go back to a conversation with Gary Spinner of the Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport.
January 11, 2021
A new year and a new adventure as we launch
We finally have our own website. Our new podcasts will now be uploaded to --- but we will continue to also upload them here for a period of time.  A little more than a year ago, Real talk, Real people put out its first podcast. It took about five months before people began to show interest, but little by little, we began to pick up more listeners. We decided to add a website, which allows us more flexibility and gives us the space to add more content and explore other ideas we are interested in bringing to you. 
January 4, 2021
2020: Our year in review
Wow. What a year it has been. Who could have imagined that a virus would not only become the dominant story of the year, but bully its way through a nation mired in chaotic social upheaval to take over the way we live, work and socialize? It was a year of protests, rioting, looting and shooting -- all which took a back seat to COVID-19. We talked about all those issues with everyday people sharing their experiences and weighing in on everything from domestic violence to breast cancer to health issues, such as sickle cell and diabetes, and the benefits of community gardens. Here is what the people we talked to had to say.
December 28, 2020
Faith? A minister uses loss to inspire others to stay strong in their faith
What does it mean to have faith -- and how far can it carry you during dark periods in your life? My guest is the Rev. Alfred Smith of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ansonia.  He said it was his faith that kept him strong during a year in which his left foot was amputated, family members died from COVID-19 and between the surgery and recovery time, spent 117 days alone due to the virus. He said life doesn't play fair but faith will pull you through. 
December 21, 2020
Family members can be paid to keep loved ones out of a nursing home
If 2020 has done nothing else, it has reinforced my fear of being old and stuck in a nursing home.  The CT Adult Family Living Program offers an alternative for those people who wish to stay home by paying a family member, loved one or home aid to take of them. My guest is Monica Perry, a soft spoken, longtime home health care worker. She has spent 40 plus years caring for others.
December 14, 2020
What's it going to take to get people to strap on a mask and help save lives?
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am frustrated with people who refuse to wear a mask in public even as COVID-19 resurges more deadlier than ever. Deaths nationwide may exceed 300,000 before Christmas.   This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but I have never known the news to be so grim. I also have never known people to be so callous and have such disregard for the value of human life by refusing to wear a mask. 
December 7, 2020
Should there be term limits on the time spent in political office?
I know what they say in front of the cameras and what they say when they stand at a podium delivering a speech. But has anyone tried to contact Democrats U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal with a problem?  I did.  They are two of the most recognizable “liberal” names in politics.  I guess that is why I was bitterly disappointed by the response or lack of response from their offices -- and I am not alone. 
November 30, 2020
Something new and something old as we expand and highlight upcoming changes
As we look forward to Thanksgiving, we here at Real talk, Real people have a lot to be thankful for. We have been up and running for more than a year. October 25th was our anniversary and as we head into the new year, we have a lot of changes coming that will offer more than our podcast. These changes include the launch of a new website --, -- which will have content such as my columns -- both written and spoken -- video interviews and a lot more. We are also recording our new podcasts in a way that we hope makes them a better listening experience.
November 23, 2020
Throwback Monday: Inmate from New Haven talks about being behind bars with COVID-19
My guest this week is Brock Bacote, a New Haven resident. He had just been released from the Brooklyn Correctional Institute 3 days when this conversation took place. I wanted to talk to Brock to get an idea what it is like being locked up and in close quarters with other inmates after learning about COVID-19.
November 16, 2020
Dietitian says using food groups properly are key to staying healthy
A lot of people are having a hard time feeding the body what it needs to stay healthy and obesity is a huge problem. My name is Kelly Gruber, the outpatient dietitian at Yale New Haven Health-Bridgeport Hospital.  She is here to brush us up on what nutrition is and how to use key food groups to stay healthy. 
November 9, 2020
People of color are highly affected by flu season
My guest is Bernard Macklin, a flu vaccine outreach coordinator from Southern Connecticut State University. He is urging people of color to stop potentially putting their lives at risk by clinging to myths, not facts, when it comes to vaccines and the flu.
November 2, 2020
Hear her voice: Domestic violence took the lives of two of her daughters and a grandchild.
Can you imagine losing two daughters and a granddaughter at the hands of men filled with rage? My guest is West Haven resident Corrinna Martin, the founder of Mothers of Victim Equality, a nonprofit to help women victimized by domestic violence. If anyone can speak to the horrors of this disease, she can.
October 26, 2020
Black women with cancer find support and friendship at "Sister's Journey"
The conversation continues about Black women and breast cancer. This is part 2. In Part 1, breast cancer survivor Lolita Bonilla Brooks shared her story and the support she received. My guest today is Kaprice Miller, the recording secretary from Sister’s Journey, a New Haven, faith-based support group founded in 1999 by the late Linda White-Epps. The group helps women on their journey to recovery and beyond.
October 21, 2020
A breast cancer survivor shares her journey
Nearly 34,000 Black women were expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, and sadly, an estimated 6,540 were expected to die from it. My guest today is breast cancer survivor Lolita Bonilla Brooks, a native of Stratford, now living in Virginia. Due to the importance of this issue, we are doing two segments on it. Part 2 will highlight a local support group founded for Black women by the late Linda White-Epps.
October 19, 2020
Eating healthy can help low-income people control obesity and diabetes
Eating healthy isn’t cheap and that is where community gardens comes in. My guests are Eliza Caldwell, a community gardens manager at Gather New Haven who oversees 50 gardens; and Alexander Morales, an operations assistant at the Green Village Initiative in Bridgeport, which has 12 gardens. They’re here to talk about how their gardens are benefiting low-income communities.
October 12, 2020
Black community must focus more on mental health
If you’re following the national news, the focus from COVID-19 is shifting to its effect on mental health across the nation. But while the media reports on the nation’s mental health, we are going back to a conversation we had with Rahisha Bevins and Louis R. Reed about the lack of mental health resources in the black community -- and also the black community’s reluctance to seek it
October 5, 2020
Putting the spotlight on local, nontraditional businesses headed by women
The conversation is with Samantha Williams, president of samsword, based in East Haven You may not think a business that offers online writing services would be successful, let alone profitable, but Sam says with a nationwide clientele that includes state contracts, businesses, individuals and students, she is busier than ever. The key to success? Sam says "raise your price!"
September 28, 2020
Could you use $1,000 a month? Revisiting Universal Basic Income
When Andrew Yang was running for president, many people -- myself included -- scoffed at the idea of the government sending people $1,000 a month to improve their living conditions. But I think as we all wait anxiously to see if more stimulus money is coming our way, many people may now agree that Universal Basic Income is needed to close the income gap.
September 21, 2020
Black business leaders say now is the time to strike out on your own
Think you can't start your own business? Well, think again. Many blacks are using the loss of a job from COVID-19 as an opportunity to strike out on their own, setting up shop in their homes -- sometimes with as little as a $1,000 to get going. Black business leaders say now is the right time for Blacks with an entrepreneurial spirit. My guest today is Anne-Marie Knight of the Black Business Alliance, based in New Haven. She has a lot of encouraging words for those thinking about starting their own biz but are a little wary.
September 14, 2020
Schools are set to reopen. Is in-person learning safe for kids?
My guest is Bridgeport Board of Education member Joseph Sokolovic, who helped plan the reopening of  Bridgeport schools, which are set to reopen Sept. 8 The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reports that children account for nearly 10 percent of COVID-19 cases nationwide and figures show COVID-19 is rising in schools that have reopened. Should parents be worried?
September 7, 2020
Vaccine? One is coming for COVID-19. Should we take it?
The conversation this week is about the pending vaccine for COVID-19 that is expected to here no later than the beginning of 2021. My guest is Gary Spinner from the Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport. He is a physician's assistant who works with HIV patients and has seen first-hand how effective vaccines can be. One of the big questions surrounding the coronavirus is whether Black Americans will take part in experimental trials to ensure the vaccine will work for them -- and, perhaps, more importantly, will they take the vaccine when it becomes available.
August 31, 2020
Coping? Wrestling with the present, worrying about the future
I think we’re all feeling a little out of it and maybe some mild depression about what has been going on this year. The conversation is about COVID-19 fatigue. Our guests today are Dr. Jeff Dietz and Alex Parkhouse,  two assistant professors from Quinnipiac University -- one a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine and the other, a medical sociologist whose research areas focus on chronic illness stigma, stress and mental health and health literacy.
August 24, 2020
Make your paycheck work: Part 2 on taking steps to gain financial freedom
This is our second segment on how people earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year can chip away and find financial freedom My guest is Cornell Wright of the Parker Wright Group, a consulting firm based in Stratford. I know Cornell from my time as senior editor of the New Haven Register, where he writes a weekly column called "Plan Well & Execute. "
August 17, 2020
Drag queens struggle to earn a living in era of COVID-19
The drag queen industry has been hit hard as bars,  nightclubs and restaurants have been shut down due to COVID-19, as well as other places and events where drag queens traditionally perform. My guest today is Robin Banks, a drag queen living in Hamden, who depends on performing to earn a living. Like many drag queens, she does not work a traditional job and the virus is preventing her from taking the stage. 
August 10, 2020
Evictions? 140,000 Connecticut residents could be affected
I received an email from the company that manages the building where I live, stating it would begin reporting missed rent payments to the three credit bureaus. That is a major problem during this pandemic where more than 30 million people have lost their jobs and more than 28 percent of Americans face being evicted due to the loss of jobs. Here in Connecticut, at least 140,000 are at risk of being evicted from their homes.
August 3, 2020
Make your paycheck work: Every dollar counts on the road to financial freedom
How do you get on the road to financial freedom when you make $40,000 -$60,000 a year? With the cost of living, it really seems like a pipe dream to save or invest when you’re struggling to pay bills. Stephanie Miller, an assistant professor of accounting and finance at Quinnipiac University, says it's about prioritizing and taking small steps to get bigger rewards
July 27, 2020
The black community needs new leaders
There is a lack of leadership in black communities as we face multiple issues that are familiar such as jobs, housing, health care and crime.  The deaths of John Lewis and the Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian are reminders how important that leadership is at the national level. But who will step up at the local level?
July 20, 2020
COVID-19 isn't the only deadly disease affecting Black and brown people
If COVID-19 taught minorities one thing, that is to take better care of your health. You do that by gaining more access to health services and by becoming more knowledgeable about health issues that affect not only you but your race.   My guests today are Leandre Memborn, former New Havener living in Providence RI; Frank Taveres of Waterbury and Jim Rawlings, chairman of the board of directors for The Southern Connecticut Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.
July 13, 2020
The Black community is paralyzed about what to do about Black-on-Black crime
Black-on-Black crime and gun violence continues to be a serious problem as bullets continue to take young lives.  My guest is Thayer Barkley, a Bridgeport resident and volunteer for Moms Demand Action. She says the Black community is paralyzed and suffering from PTSD
July 6, 2020
What can be done to end gun violence?
Kiana Brown, 19, was shot in the head while she was asleep in her home in New Haven. She was the victim of a random bullet. Another innocent, black life lost. Gun violence continues to be a problem in black neighborhoods. What is the solution? Chaz Carmon, president of the anti-gun violence organization "Ice the Beef," says the key is getting to kids while they're young. He talks about how the organization intervenes in the lives of youth.
June 29, 2020
Race? Gaining economic self-sufficiency in the black community
The spending power of black people in 2018 was estimated to be $1.9 trillion. But you would never know that when you go into black neighborhoods. Most of it did not go to black businesses. It is time black people start making a commitment to spend more of their money in black-owned businesses to get some of that money into black communities. My guest today is businessman Howard K. Hill, the owner of Howard K. Hill Funeral Services.
June 22, 2020
Recap? Welcome to our new listeners
We have been gaining listeners since we aired our first episode on Oct. 25, with our podcast listened to hundreds of times. But we know new listeners may not be aware of the conversations we've had. Here are snippets of what people in Connecticut are talking about.  
June 15, 2020
Unrest? It's what you don't see that matters
Why do I love my country but at the same time hate it so much? The conversation is about systematic racism within police departments and the protests around the US. My guests today are Wes Johnson from Danbury, Clyde Nickerson from Bridgeport and Miche'lle Sanders of Shelton.
June 8, 2020
Angry? Yes, I guess I am
The country is at unrest over the killing of another unarmed black man at the hands of police. My guest is Greg Johnson, president President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Ansonia Branch. The conversation is about George Floyd and the ongoing murders of black men by police.
June 1, 2020
Time? Nothing will change for black and brown people
It’s no longer a secret that blacks and other minorities are being hospitalized and dying at a higher rate than whites from COVID-19.  I discussed this with my guests, Dr. David Hill and Dennis Brown, two professors from Quinnipiac University.  But it is no secret it is due to what has plagued minorities for decades: lack of access to health care, low-level jobs and poor working conditions, along with crowded and inadequate housing. 
May 25, 2020
Hungry? The competition for food heats up
As the number of people who are unemployed due to COVID-19 continues to rise, thousands of people here in Connecticut and tens of millions nationwide are facing hunger. And that is happening as food prices soar and the food supply chain is breaking down. That is leading to  competition to feed people.  My guest is Nancy Coughlin, the executive director of Person-to-Person in Stamford, a nonprofit that has been around since 1968. She will talk about how her agency is helping put food on the table during the pandemic.
May 18, 2020
A recently released inmate talks about being behind bars with COVID-19
My guest this week is Brock Bacote, a New Haven resident. He had just been released from the Brooklyn Correctional Institute 3 days when this conversation took place about 10 days ago. I didn’t bring him on to talk about his crimes or what led to them, (for more on that kind of conversation, listen to our Nov. 4 podcast with Seymour resident Jimmie Kave on the benefits of a revamped justice system and turning your life around). But I wanted to talk to Brock to get an idea what it is like being locked up and in close quarters with other inmates after learning about COVID-19.
May 11, 2020
A healthcare worker talks about COVID-19 and working at a prison
You know folks, there are a lot of healthcare workers who don’t feel enough is being done to keep them safe from becoming infected with  COVID-19. Some of them work in prisons where the number of people infected with and dying from  COVID-19 continues to rise.
May 4, 2020
Inmates and seniors: Two groups in Connecticut who are confined and vulnerable.
COVID-19 has produced a crisis unprecedented in our times but still, Connecticut has been shameful in its slow response to stop the spread in nursing homes and prevent it from further spreading in prisons. And people are paying for it with their lives.
April 27, 2020
Confined? Are we killers or saviors?
There are more than 11,000 people locked up in the Connecticut prison system who are potentially on death row as COVID-19 slithers through the densely populated spaces. Should some of them be released in an effort to keep them from potentially becoming infected and infecting others? The governor says no; my two guests say yes -- and give their reasons why. 
April 20, 2020
A conversation with a non-essential employee required to go into the office
I was under the impression that only essential employees had to show up to work to maintain social distancing as health experts attempt to get a handle on the coronavirus. But I was wrong. There are a lot of non-essential employees whose lives are being put at risk when they could be working from home
April 13, 2020
Anxiety? The danger is in the paranoia
Normally, my Monday podcast is a followup conversation to my Sunday column in Hearst Connecticut newspapers. But I admit, the unknown factors of COVID-19 have inched my anxiety up a notch and I lost my cool this week. So I decided to switch things up and bring in someone who could offer us some inspiration. Sometimes, when there is a crisis like we are experiencing now, it is interesting to hear what a member of the clergy has to say. 
April 6, 2020
Reconnect? Humanity is man's greatest weapon
Like many Americans, my rational thought process tells me we will get through this, but I admit, that process is constantly interrupted by my emotions. I can’t help but worry about how much damage covid-19 will eventually do to the nation and more importantly, if it will affect my family and the people that I care about. I have family members throughout the US. This is what is going on where they live
March 30, 2020
Distancing? We’re doing something a little different this week
We’re doing something a little different with the podcast this week because what else is there to talk about but the coronavirus and we’re being hit with enough of that. We know what we have to do. And I am doing it. But you know this social distancing stuff is tough. I mean, there is only so much house cleaning and binge watching TV you can do. So I decided to give listeners something else instead of talk this week. My guest today is music. We all have talented family members and mine is no exception. My brother Allan is an actor who has numerous commercials, has appeared on TV shows such as Manifest, Orange is the new black, Gotham, Law and Order among others. He also wrote the music for this podcast. About 20 something years ago, he and his now-husband, Tom, started recording songs in their apartment in Brooklyn and every four years or so, they put together a collection on a CD that makes its rounds of family and friends. Here is their latest. I think you will like it.
March 24, 2020
Carriers? It's 6 feet away, or 6 feet under
It is pretty clear that the problem is we don’t know who is carrying the coronavirus -- but we do know as Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, admitted: “We’re past the point of containment.” And once you understand what that statement means, then you know the only thing that is going to stop the spread of this disease that has hijacked America, is a cure. And we don’t have one. We must follow what health experts are asking us to do. But will it keep us safe?
March 16, 2020
Fear? Coronavirus hits home
Until recently, it seemed like coronavirus was something happening to people far away in other parts of the world. But even when you feel immune, it is scary watching it jump from country to country while the numbers of deaths rise. Still, at least to me, it was one of those impending crises you hear and read about and watch television for the latest news on it -- but one that is still far away. That is, until it knocks on the door of someone you love -- in this case, my sister, Michelle, who lives in Rhode Island.
March 9, 2020
Tic-tac-toe? It’s all in how you play the game
Sometimes, I like to take a different approach when writing a column to give people an alternative way of looking or thinking about a problem. In this case, I used tic-tac-toe to illustrate how the absence of fathers hurts children and the household
March 2, 2020
Talk? A conversation at Greenwich High shows black history is a shared history
I was invited to speak at Greenwich High School Friday as part of its Diversity Awareness Club’s Black History Month program. Here is an overview of that speech, which centered on domestic violence, being black in America and finding some success. 
February 24, 2020
Curfew? Resurrecting failure never works
The Bridgeport Police Department recently announced it would resurrect and enforce its youth curfew to curb teen violence after a rash of shootings. The curfew has been in place since 2012 but never enforced. But do curfews work? Many studies say no. And curfews are clearly a violation of constitutional rights. Bridgeport Councilman Ernest Newton and Bridgeport Board of Education member Joseph Sokolovic join the conversation. 
February 17, 2020
On a break this week, but coming up on Real talk, Real people
The "alleged" coming of snow, sleet and rain killed this week's podcast with high school students talking about Black History Month.  Of course, it barely snowed. But we wanted to give you an idea of the podcasts we are working on.
February 10, 2020
Scapegoat? Educators sure spin a tall tale
A white teacher cast two black kids as slaves in a read-aloud class play called “A Triangle of Trade.” The purpose was to give students a look at the atrocities of the slave trade. Carmen Parker, who is black, and her husband, who is white, are the parents of one of the kids. They called out the teacher and school for cultural insensitivity. The teacher was placed on leave but both parents along with others have called for the teacher to be reinstated and not be made a scapegoat. The real problem is the lack of black teachers.
February 3, 2020
Parenting? Mandatory classes are needed
Three years ago, I wrote in a column - "Responsibility? I am not your baby daddy" --  that “I have never seen so many children being abused, living in misery or so many irresponsible parents.” And it just seems to be getting worse for these kids. Since that column appeared, the abuse of children has become downright shocking and staggering. Parents are not only killing their kids, but in some cases, are doing so in spectacular fashion, as if to make a statement to the world. We need to do more.  My latest column about the abuse of children:
January 28, 2020
Bullets? The case is never really closed
Case closed - or is it? The yellow tape has been removed, the street swept clean and the latest body has been buried. In some cases, the prosecution has rested its case, the person who pulled the trigger is put behind bars and police have moved on. But for victims left behind after gun violence, the case is never really closed. Long after it strikes its intended victim, a bullet’s trajectory just keeps on going and buries itself in the memories it leaves behind -- and each new bullet adds a new victim and a new memory. And those memories and the post-traumatic stress disorder that develops and grips victims in their wake are what this column is all about.
January 14, 2020
Volunteers? The brigade is in full step
It's Christmastime and hundreds of volunteers are out in force. My Sunday column in Hearst Connecticut newspapers is a salute to volunteers. We talk to 3 people about why they put in the hours to help other people. 
December 23, 2019
Call-in feature details
We have added a call-in feature that will begin to take listeners calls. Here are the details
December 6, 2019
Building a better experience
Pardon our appearance -- so to speak -- as we are temporarily under construction to add a new call-in feature to make "Real talk, Real people" a better experience for listeners and allow more people to weigh in on topics. Listen for details.
December 2, 2019
A perfect union: My column on social issues returns to Hearst Connecticut newspapers
I am happy to announce that my listeners will be able to read what I have to say on Sundays and listen to me on Mondays after my column returns to the New Haven Register and Hearst Connecticut newspapers on Sunday, Dec. 1.
November 18, 2019
More focus on mental health in the black community is needed
African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health issues than the general population -- and suicide was the second leading cause of death for black men ages 15-24 in 2017. Yet, the subject is largely ignored in the black community.
November 11, 2019
Email change to contact Real talk, Real people
Email change to contact Real talk, Real people
November 6, 2019
Does a revamped juvenile justice system benefit society?
Jimmie Kave was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison at age 17. He wanted society to give him a second chance. He got one under a revamped juvenile justice system. So, what happened when he was released?
November 4, 2019
Will Universal Basic Income help people or make things worse?
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has proposed giving every adult in the US over the age of 18 a $1,000 a month stipend to offset coming automation and job layoffs. Is this a good idea?
October 25, 2019