Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change

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.




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

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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.