Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change
Anti-Poverty Organizing - Ocesa Keaton, MSW

Anti-Poverty Organizing - Ocesa Keaton, MSW

August 5, 2019

Episode 20

Guest: Ocesa Keaton, MSW

Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

 

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In this episode, I talk with Ocesa Keaton, who is the Executive Director of Greater Syracuse H.O.P.E. in Syracuse, New York. Ocesa details the incredibly comprehensive and thoughtful strategies H.O.P.E. uses in their anti-poverty work at both the systems and individual levels to eliminate systemic barriers that maintain inequity and prevent people from having opportunities. We discuss the racial wealth gap in the U.S. and stereotypes and inaccurate beliefs about people in poverty. Ocesa shares her journey of wanting to become an entertainment lawyer but choosing social work due to her own health issues and a social worker who helped her. She stresses the importance of policy work and why voting is critical for social change. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

 

greatersyracusehope@gmail.com

www.greatersyracusehope.org

 

 

***BOOK PROMO***

This City Is Killing Me: Community Trauma and Toxic Stress in Urban America, by Jonathan Foiles

Order at  https://beltpublishing.com/collections/new-coming-soon/products/this-city-is-killing-me

***Use the code DTW for 10% off (and to help out the podcast)***

 

Through a remarkable set of case studies, Foiles opens up his therapy door to allow us to overhear the stories of Jacqueline, Frida, Robert, Luis, Anthony, and other poor Chicagoans. As we listen, Foiles teaches us how he diagnoses, explains how therapists before him would analyze these patients, and, through statistics and the example of Chicago, teaches us how policy decisions have contributed to these individuals’ suffering. The result is a remarkable, unique work with an urgent political call to action at its core.

Felony Reentry, Employment, Recovery - Margo Walsh

Felony Reentry, Employment, Recovery - Margo Walsh

July 1, 2019

Episode 19

Guest: Margo Walsh

Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

 

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In this episode, I talk with Margo Walsh, who is the Founder and CEO of MaineWorks and the Chair and Co-Founder of the Maine Recovery Fund, both in Portland, Maine. We discuss how MaineWorks was created to provide jobs to convicted felons transitioning back to society from jail or prison due to the barriers they face finding employment. Margo discusses how Maine has been hit hard by drug addiction, particularly opioids, and how many of her employees have significant barriers to successful reentry to society beyond simply having a job. Margo explains the problems with the term ex-felon and how a felony conviction negatively impacts the person for life. We talk about mental health and recovery, and Margo shares her story of how she got into this work. I open up about a friend of mine who was a felon and died by suicide. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

 

Margo’s email: margo@maineworks.us
https://www.maineworks.us/
https://www.mainerecoveryfund.org/

 

 

***BOOK PROMO***

This City Is Killing Me: Community Trauma and Toxic Stress in Urban America, by Jonathan Foiles

Pre-order at  https://beltpublishing.com/collections/new-coming-soon/products/this-city-is-killing-me

***Use the code DTW for 10% off (and to help out the podcast)***

 

Through a remarkable set of case studies, Foiles opens up his therapy door to allow us to overhear the stories of Jacqueline, Frida, Robert, Luis, Anthony, and other poor Chicagoans. As we listen, Foiles teaches us how he diagnoses, explains how therapists before him would analyze these patients, and, through statistics and the example of Chicago, teaches us how policy decisions have contributed to these individuals’ suffering. The result is a remarkable, unique work with an urgent political call to action at its core.

 

LGBTQ+ Latinx - Christopher Cuevas

LGBTQ+ Latinx - Christopher Cuevas

June 3, 2019

Episode 18

Guest: Christopher Cuevas

Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

 

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In this episode, I talk with Christopher Cuevas, who is the Executive Director of QLatinx in Orlando, Florida. They talk about how QLatinx was created in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016. Chris shares about the intense pain and healing that took place, and discusses the longstanding systemic oppression faced by the LGBTQ+ Latinx community – the barriers to access culturally competent mental health services; marginalization from the white, middle-class LGBTQ community; and lack of protection under federal and state law. This is a powerful story of how LGBTQ+ folks of color came together to create a powerful grassroots racial, social, and gender justice organization dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Central Florida's LGBTQ+ Latinx community and the continued work they are doing. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

 

QLatinX Website & Social Media Links

https://www.qlatinx.org/                                  http://www.facebook.com/qlatinx

http://www.instagram.com/qlatinx                   http://www.twitter.com/qlatinx

 

Christopher’s Email & Social Media Links

christopher@qlatinx.org                                   http://www.facebook.com/chrisjaycuevas

http://www.twitter.com/chrisjaycuevas             http://www.instagram.com/chrisjaycuevas

 

***BOOK PROMO***

This City Is Killing Me: Community Trauma and Toxic Stress in Urban America, by Jonathan Foiles

Pre-order at  https://beltpublishing.com/collections/new-coming-soon/products/this-city-is-killing-me

***Use the code DTW for 10% off (and to help out the podcast)***

 

Through a remarkable set of case studies, Foiles opens up his therapy door to allow us to overhear the stories of Jacqueline, Frida, Robert, Luis, Anthony, and other poor Chicagoans. As we listen, Foiles teaches us how he diagnoses, explains how therapists before him would analyze these patients, and, through statistics and the example of Chicago, teaches us how policy decisions have contributed to these individuals’ suffering. The result is a remarkable, unique work with an urgent political call to action at its core.

Youth Research Their Community - Leili Lyman

Youth Research Their Community - Leili Lyman

May 6, 2019

Episode 17
Guest: Leili Lyman
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Leili Lyman from Richmond, California. Leili explains how she learned how to conduct Youth Participatory Action Research at the RYSE Youth Center while she was in high school, and that her research explored why marijuana was the primary coping strategy for youth in her community. We discuss what led youth to state that they did not feel safe talking to adults and that marijuana was a safer option. Leili talks about issues that are common for youth growing up in Richmond, such as experiencing trauma, a lack of resources, and stigma and other barriers towards counseling. Leili also shares about her current studies and research at UC Berkley as well as being a first-generation college student. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Leili’s email: leililyman0705@berkeley.edu
Article in Chronicle of Social Change: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/child-trauma-2/why-do-so-many-youth-use-marijuana-as-a-coping-tool-heres-what-youth-had-to-say
RYSE Center: https://rysecenter.org

Public Library Social Work - Elissa Hardy, LCSW

Public Library Social Work - Elissa Hardy, LCSW

April 1, 2019

Episode 16
Guest: Elissa Hardy, LCSW
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Elissa Hardy, who is the Community Resource Manager at the Denver Public Library in Denver, Colorado. Elissa details the evolution of library social work and how social workers and peer navigators work with librarians to serve diverse populations across twenty-six total locations. We discuss the work Elissa and her team carry out providing social work services to library customers experiencing a range of issues such as homelessness, immigration and refugee status, gentrification, access to benefits, mental health, reentry from incarceration, and much more. Elissa explains how her team has been able to intervene with people struggling with addiction, specifically opioid use, and how they have stopped over 23 overdoses. She also shares her story of how she got into this work. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Elissa’s email: ehardy@denverlibrary.org

Denver Public Library website: http://denverlibrary.org

Social Workers in Political Office - Daniella Levine Cava, MSW, JD

Social Workers in Political Office - Daniella Levine Cava, MSW, JD

March 4, 2019

Episode 15
Guest: Daniella Levine Cava, MSW, JD
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Daniella Levine Cava, who is a Miami-Dade County Commissioner, serving District 8 in Miami, Florida. We discuss Daniella’s current work as a County Commissioner, her social work background, including the creation of the Human Services Coalition, now Catalyst Miami, and her transition to political office. Daniella shares how her social work background helped her campaign and how she implements social work values and principles in her political work. She encourages people – especially social workers – to “grow their civic muscle” on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

https://twitter.com/DLCAVA
http://www8.miamidade.gov/global/government/commission/district08/home.page

Child Welfare, Foster Care, Family Preservation - Ronnita Waters, LCSW

Child Welfare, Foster Care, Family Preservation - Ronnita Waters, LCSW

February 4, 2019

Episode 14
Guest: Ronnita Waters, LCSW
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Ronnita Waters, who is the Program Operations Administrator at the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, Inc. in Miami, Florida. Ronnita is also the South Florida Area Coordinator for Florida State University College of Social Work and an adjunct professor at Florida Memorial University. We discuss the child welfare system, foster care, family preservation, and various interventions that take place for children and families in this complex system. Ronnita takes us through an example of what happens when child abuse is reported. She also talks about the challenges of this work for her and how she has learned to “self-check” and “regulate” her emotions and thoughts in order to focus on the needs of the children and families. Ronnita shares her story of how she got into this work and the impact of her life experience on her work. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Ronnita’s email: RJW.msw@gmail.com

Health Education, Peer-to-Peer, High School Students - Valerie Berrin

Health Education, Peer-to-Peer, High School Students - Valerie Berrin

January 7, 2019

Episode 13
Guest: Valerie Berrin
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Valerie Berrin, who along with her sister Risa Berrin, is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Health Information Project, Inc. – known as HIP – a Miami, Florida based organization delivering a peer-to-peer model of health education in high schools. We discuss the importance and effectiveness of HIP’s model and how they were able to partner with the public school district as well as independent private schools to have HIP in 58 high schools in Miami-Dade County, serving 34,000 ninth graders during this school year alone. Valerie shares how she and her sister created HIP out of a mix of their own personal and professional experiences. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

https://behip.org/
http://www.twitter.com/hiphealthy
http://www.instagram.com/hiphealthy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U990hPJrWdE

Mindfulness Meditation, Incarceration, Substance Abuse - John Paulson, LCSW, LCAC

Mindfulness Meditation, Incarceration, Substance Abuse - John Paulson, LCSW, LCAC

December 3, 2018

Episode 12
Guest: John Paulson, ACSW, LCSW, MAC, LCAC, CCS, HS-BCP
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with John Paulson, who is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana. We discuss John’s volunteer work where over the last two years, he’s been teaching weekly mindfulness meditation to inmates in the substance abuse program at the Hopkins County Jail in Madisonville, Kentucky. John actually drives over an hour each way to volunteer at the jail and I think you can really tell from the interview how dedicated he is about helping people through mindfulness-based practices. We talk about some of the challenges around developing a regular mindfulness-based practice in jail. John shares how he got into mindfulness-based practices and the integration between his personal mindfulness practice and the growing body of evidence-based research on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as an intervention. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

John’s email: ajpaulson@usi.edu

School Social Work, Immigration, Racism as Trauma - Katherine Ambía, LMSW

School Social Work, Immigration, Racism as Trauma - Katherine Ambía, LMSW

November 5, 2018

Episode 11
Guest: Katherine Ambía, LMSW
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Katherine Ambía, who is the clinical site coordinator at a school-based mental health clinic in Queens, New York. We discuss Katherine’s work with high school students who are experiencing a range of issues impacting their lives. We talk about racism, historical trauma, colonialism, immigration, coping skills, and how Katherine approaches these topics with students by creating a safe space where they feel like they can talk with her about anything. We discuss the Trump administration’s family separation policy, ICE, deportation, and the impact on students and families, and also the impact on professionals, particularly those who are members of groups being targeted. Katherine shares about self-care, balancing work and activism, her family’s experience with immigration, parenthood, and finding hope in the youth activism of today. We also talk about self-disclosure. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Katherine’s email: katherine.ambia@gmail.com

Mental Health, Community Violence, Culturally Effective Practice - Myriam Bernardo, MSW, RCSWI

Mental Health, Community Violence, Culturally Effective Practice - Myriam Bernardo, MSW, RCSWI

October 1, 2018

Episode 10
Guest: Myriam Bernardo, MSW, RCSWI
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Myriam Bernardo, who is a therapist at Community Connections for Life in Miami, Florida. We discuss Myriam’s community-based clinical work with a diverse population of clients who experience a range of mental health issues, as well as community violence. Myriam shares her approach of learning from her clients as well as evidence-based interventions. She talks about why she loves social work and provides a refreshing perspective. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Myriam’s email: myriam.ccfl@outlook.com

Youth Organizing, Restorative Justice, Youth of Color, Community Organizing - Keno Walker

Youth Organizing, Restorative Justice, Youth of Color, Community Organizing - Keno Walker

September 3, 2018

Episode 9
Guest: Keno Walker
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Keno Walker who is a youth organizer at Power U Center for Social Change in Miami, Florida. Keno is from Liberty City and has been involved with Power U since he was thirteen – he’s now twenty-three. We discuss Keno’s work to organize Black and Brown youth around issues impacting their community, such as the school-to-prison pipeline. Keno gives a first-hand account of the crushing impact of racism and poverty on marginalized communities. He shares his story of how he got involved with Power U and his evolution in becoming an organizer. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Power U: https://poweru.org/
Keno: keno@poweru.org

Black Disability, Disabled Women of Color, Empowerment, Advocacy - Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Black Disability, Disabled Women of Color, Empowerment, Advocacy - Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

August 6, 2018

Episode 8
Guest: Vilissa Thompson, LMSW
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Vilissa Thompson, founder and leader of Ramp Your Voice!, a self-advocacy and empowerment movement for people with disabilities. We discuss Vilissa’s work to educate social workers, educators, and medical professionals about being helpful, rather than harmful, to disabled people, especially disabled women of color. Vilissa explains how the intersection of racism and ableism negatively impact this population and she shares steps that people can take to educate themselves to be allies and advocates for change. She also shares about creating the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite and the Black Disabled Woman Syllabus. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Ramp Your Voice!: http://rampyourvoice.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/RampYourVoice

Youth Leadership, Mental Health, School Shootings, Adult Allies - Martin Rafferty

Youth Leadership, Mental Health, School Shootings, Adult Allies - Martin Rafferty

July 2, 2018

Episode 7
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Martin Rafferty

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In this episode, I talk with Martin Rafferty, CEO of Youth ERA, a national organization that empowers youth to achieve their greatest potential. We discuss Youth ERA’s unique approach to youth leadership, drop-in centers, and training for adults who want to support youth voice. Martin explains how Youth ERA responds to school shootings as well as the stigma surrounding mental health. He also shares his powerful journey of how he got into this work. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Youth ERA: https://www.youthera.org/
Resources for Adult Allies: https://www.youthempowerment.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheYouthERA/

Empowering Women, Policy Advocacy, Graceful Revolution, Coaching - Melissa Bird, PhD, MSW

Empowering Women, Policy Advocacy, Graceful Revolution, Coaching - Melissa Bird, PhD, MSW

June 4, 2018

Episode 6
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Melissa (Missy) Bird, PhD, MSW

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In this episode, I talk with Dr. Melissa Bird – “Missy” – of Bird Girl Industries, where Missy empowers women to engage in advocacy. We talk about challenging injustice and how people’s fear of “doing it perfectly” holds them back. Missy shares a story of using advocacy to empower a client, explains the “Graceful Revolution,” and tells the story of when she wrote a bill to emancipate homeless youth, organized a coalition, and lobbied to get the bill passed – which it did! – when she was a graduate student. Missy encourages everyone to “find their jam” and get involved. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Missy’s blog www.birdgirlindustries.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/birdgirl1001
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/birdgirl1001/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/birdgirl1001/
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/birdgirl1001

Drug Policy and Decriminalization, Racially Biased Policing, Coalition Building - Kassandra Frederique, MSW

Drug Policy and Decriminalization, Racially Biased Policing, Coalition Building - Kassandra Frederique, MSW

May 7, 2018

Episode 5
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Kassandra Frederique, MSW

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In this episode, I talk with Kassandra Frederique, who is the New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. We talk about Kassandra’s work to decriminalize drugs, challenge racially biased policing, and build coalitions. Kassandra emphasizes how to meet people where they are at on these issues and remain accountable to those most affected. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

http://www.drugpolicy.org/kassandra-frederique

Incarceration, Reentry, Prevention, Criminal Justice Reform - Dante Barber

Incarceration, Reentry, Prevention, Criminal Justice Reform - Dante Barber

April 16, 2018

Episode 4
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Dante Barber

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In this episode, I talk with Dante Barber, who is a Senior Youth Leader at Friends of Island Academy, an organization in New York City focused on supporting youth who are incarcerated and after they are released from jail. We talk about Dante’s prevention work of speaking to youth about his own experience in the criminal justice system, prisoner reentry, and the campaign to close Rikers Island. Dante shares about how he got into this work and his “journey of change.” I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Friends of Island Academy: http://www.friendsny.org/

Close Rikers Campaign: http://www.closerikers.org/

Research, Rural Social Work, Dementia, Policy Advocacy - Nicole Ruggiano, PhD, MSW

Research, Rural Social Work, Dementia, Policy Advocacy - Nicole Ruggiano, PhD, MSW

April 2, 2018

Episode 3
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Nicole Ruggiano, PhD, MSW

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In this episode, I talk with Dr. Nicole Ruggiano, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama. We talk about Nicole’s research on dementia and how it led to working with the community of Tuskegee, where there is a history of unethical and racist practices by researchers. Nicole shares about the challenges facing rural communities and the importance of researchers, academics, and practitioners in supporting self-determination among individuals, families, and communities. Nicole urges listeners to get involved with policy advocacy and provides examples of how to do so. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

 Nicole’s email: nruggiano@ua.edu

Consulting, Reproductive Justice, Racial Equity - Nicole Clark, LMSW

Consulting, Reproductive Justice, Racial Equity - Nicole Clark, LMSW

March 19, 2018

Episode 2
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Nicole Clark, LMSW

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In this episode, I talk with Nicole Clark, of Nicole Clark Consulting. Nicole is a licensed social worker in Brooklyn, New York. We talk about Nicole’s consulting work – program design, program evaluation, strategic planning, and trainings – with an emphasis on how she keeps social justice, racial equity, and reproductive justice as her focus. Nicole shares how she decided to study social work and how she started her own business. She provides a brief overview of the Reproductive Justice framework. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Nicole’s website: http://nicoleclarkconsulting.com/

Mental Health, Trauma, Self-Care, Advocacy - Jonathan Foiles, LCSW

Mental Health, Trauma, Self-Care, Advocacy - Jonathan Foiles, LCSW

March 5, 2018

Episode 1
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
Guest: Jonathan Foiles, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Jonathan Foiles, who is a clinical social worker in Chicago, Illinois. We talk about Jonathan’s clinical work with clients who have experienced trauma, cross-cultural practice, whiteness, and self-disclosure. Jonathan shares how he got into this work. We discuss self-care, which for Jonathan includes writing about social policy issues and their impact on clients, using clients’ stories and his experience as a way to show the reality of how policy decisions negatively impact people’s lives. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Link to Jonathan's article: http://beltmag.com/fixing-chicago-mental-health-system/

 ***Jonathan has a book coming out!!!***
Pre-order at https://beltpublishing.com/collections/new-coming-soon/products/this-city-is-killing-me
***Use the code DTW for 10% off (and to help out the podcast)***

This City Is Killing Me: Community Trauma and Toxic Stress in Urban America, by Jonathan Foiles brings policy and psychology together. Through a remarkable set of case studies, Foiles opens up his therapy door to allow us to overhear the stories of Jacqueline, Frida, Robert, Luis, Anthony, and other poor Chicagoans. As we listen, Foiles teaches us how he diagnoses, explains how therapists before him would analyze these patients, and, through statistics and the example of Chicago, teaches us how policy decisions have contributed to these individuals’ suffering. The result is a remarkable, unique work with an urgent political call to action at its core.