The Check-In | KBIA

The Check-In

Thursdays at noon

KBIA's weekly call-in show where we check in with the community during the coronavirus pandemic, civil justice demonstrations and an economic crisis. 

We have some holidays to get through, and we are now a week out from Thanksgiving. Our holiday traditions are likely changing, and compounded with regular holiday stress, this could be a difficult time.

So, what is Thanksgiving going to look like for you? And what do any of us have to be thankful for?

That’s a tough one. So we're talking to a couple of experts to to get some advice on how to stay grateful in these times, and the role gratitude can play in our lives.

Our guests:
AJ Jacobs, author of "Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey"

Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices

Today in our country, you may be feeling a cautious optimism about a way forward following four years that will be known as The Trump Era.

So now is a good time to look at what we are—and who we are—as a country, and as Americans. Was the last four years one big aberration? With 71 million voters supporting President Trump, the force behind the President is real, it’s part of us, and it’s not going away. What does that say about who we are as a country and what it’s like to live here?

Today three international scholars are joining us to examine America and who we are. What does the idea of America mean for you? How does it feel to be an American in the US today? 

Our guests today:

Corinne Valdivia, an MU professor of agricultural economics who specializes in immigration, integration, and rural development

Jay Sexton, MU professor and Kinder Institute Chair 

Adam Smith, professor at Oxford University and director of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute

Here we are—we’ve made it to November, and we’ve made it through Election Day … sort of. We’re heading toward the wind-down of this remarkable year. And we’re waiting in limbo for election results, trying to stay safe and healthy amid rising Coronavirus numbers, and reflecting on the state of our democracy, our justice, and our health. It’s just a lot. 

The Check-In is about connecting, and sharing solutions. So today, let’s decompress. We’re coming together to talk about how we’re doing. How can we stay mentally healthy amid the uncertainty, the stress and the loss that has defined the time we’re in?

Our guests today:

Laura Schopp, clinical psychologist and chair of MU's Wellness Program.

Tashel Bordere, an MU professor who researches trauma, loss, grief, and adolescent mental health. 

How do we get information about an event if we aren’t there to witness it? How do we know what the President of the United States said yesterday or what happened at a protest downtown if we weren’t there?

We know because others—usually journalists, but increasingly, fellow citizens—witness the events, and record them. This mediated filter is how we know about the world we’re in. We can’t use our plain old common sense to figure out what’s happening, or how we should vote, though we’d like to.

How we’re all getting our information—our media consumption habits—has become a critical factor in our democracy. Understanding the sources we get our news from and being able to analyze and judge the media we consume is so important in this time we’re living in. 

Community connection has never been more important than right now, as we are in one of the most important times that we all come together in this great American democracy: Election Day. But in this 2020 election, as for so many things in 2020, we have anxiety. You may well have just this morning turned on your NPR to hear discussion about concerns about violence in November. Or you’ve thought that we have to take a moment to breathe and sort out what this means for our community. How are you feeling about voting this momentous election? Today we’ll talk about all things voting, and we’ll take some time to sort out the questions, and to remember that there is still much in this democracy that we agree on. We just have to find it. 

Our guests: Mary Stegmaier, MU political science professor and expert on elections and voting

Sheryl Oring and Lisa Bielawa, creators of “Voters’ Broadcast,” a musical work that seeks to raise the voices of voters in our democracy

Columbia Missourian Symonne Sparks has always been involved in a variety of mid-Missouri musical projects. She plays with Columbia soul-fusion band Loose Loose, performs classical music, and she has two NFL performances of the National Anthem under her belt to boot.

The WE Project

Valérie Berta's photography presents an unfiltered look at the marginalized communities across mid-Missouri, and the subjects provide information about their lives to accompany the intimate photos. Now, in collaboration with The WE Project, two exhibitions of portraits by Berta, founder of The WE Project, are open to the public.

Berta believes it is important to use her art in conjunction with the lives and experiences of her subjects. 

Since we last checked in, we've had the COVID-19 pandemic reach the very top of our American political establishment and the White House. And nevertheless, we are in election season. So the debates go on, and we're trying to talk to each other, debate each other and address the issue. 

So how is that going? It appears we need some help. So today we're checking in with an expert on political communication, discourse and debate. He's a Missourian and an MU professor. He'll break down some debate highlights from this election cycle and through the ages with us, and try to make sense of it all.

Later, we’ll hear from a local musician about her experiences the past few months and how music moves us forward. 

Our guests: Mitchell McKinney, MU professor and political communications expert

Symonne Sparks, Columbia musician

Fifty years or 100 years from now, when we read about this time we're in, what will be the lessons? What are we learning? 

Today, we're checking in with two historians to get some historical context to the times we're in. What are you hoping for when it comes to how this current era and this election season fit into the landscape of time in history?

At the end of the show we’ll hear about the intersection of art and activism and how they come together in the WE Project.

Our guests today: Devin Fergus, the Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies

Jay Sexton, the Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy, and a Professor of History

Valerie Berta, photojournalist and activist, creator of the WE project

When Raven Leilani wrote her debut novel Luster, she never imagined its themes of contemporary sexuality and race relations would feel so pressing on its release. But with race on the forefront of the nation’s collective conscience, the book feels like a reflection of our current landscape.

David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

When student-led protests erupted at the University of Missouri in 2015, first-year student Lauren Brown didn’t feel like the causes of the demonstrators were accurately reflected in the media.

Now, Brown is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate and a St. Louis Public Radio producer whose new audio documentary for American Public Media's "APM Reports" explores the setting and the context behind the 2015 protests. The documentary, called “Black At Mizzou: Confronting Race on Campus," is narrated and produced by Brown, who also worked as a student producer at KBIA. 

KBIA

You’ve heard this since your grade-school civics classes. That Voting is one of the most important part of a democracy - it’s how you exercise your right,as a citizen.

 

And this election season, the sacred American act of voting has become embroiled in our nation’s politics - we have accusations of voter fraud, and others highlighting

disenfranchisement of some citizens who might have less access to ballots and voting booths.

 

KBIA

In Columbia, Missouri and across the nation, campus is open - classes have started, school is reopening. But what is this semester going to look like? 

University and college leaders have been forced into a landscape where no decision is a good decision. Closing colleges puts already-struggling colleges that have weathered years of defunding into even more risk. But opening your college doors opens up an entire community to higher case numbers. 

KBIA

With everything else going on, it’s time to go Back to School.

 

Students are arriving on our college campuses, and Columbia Public Schools will also be returning to classrooms - either in person or online, Sept. 8th. That means students, teachers and parents are facing big decisions and it’s very hard to know where to turn. 

 

KBIA

Many of us these days find ourselves looking around and asking ourselves how we got here: to this moment we’re in, today. How has our history, our choices, our culture shaped the moment that we’re in when it comes to disparities in our health, wealth, our neighborhoods and education. And when it comes to racial justice.

One easy thing we can do is to look back and listen to people who have lived these experiences over the decades.

KBIA

Today we’re checking in with our Small Towns in Missouri to see how we’re getting by - out in the highways and byways of out state.

In Mexico, Missouri - Mayor Ayanna Shivers is making history - Mayor Shivers was the first Black woman elected to city council in Mexico - she’s now in her second term as its Mayor. We’re talking about “rural” and “small town” values - according to Mayor Shivers.

We’re also joined by Sarah Low from MU Extension - we’ll talk about the research and data behind rural Main Streets and economies.

KBIA

When it comes to the coronavirus, our city, state and country are going the wrong direction. We are living, working, parenting and trying to stay healthy in a half-open society, while cases rise. It’s confusing. What do we do next?

Two of the key “pillars” in the effort at every level are: testing and contact tracing. That’s true for Missouri and for Boone County and Columbia, and public health officials at every level have been working to perform these vital functions.

KBIA

This week's Columbia city council meeting showed that Columbia is a microcosm of the rest of the world. 

Within the first half hour of Monday’s meeting, citizens had called attention to police funding, public health funding and disparities in policing and health. Then council members went on to pass an ordinance requiring the use of masks in public spaces in the city.

A lot of this is happening everywhere. 

In this episode, we explore all of the above - what gets funded in our city and disparities in policing and education in our culture.

KBIA

After weeks of re-opening our main streets and venturing out of our isolation, coronavirus cases are rising and things aren’t going the way we’d like. And now, the data show a changing picture of COVID-19 in Missouri.

It’s not the hot spots of Kansas City and St. Louis that have the largest infection rate - it’s Jasper County and McDonald County in the far southwest corner of the state that get a red- level-4 for highest risk. And other rural counties are also showing a fast upward trend in cases. 

KBIA

History is not written in stone. The way we view our history and its stories evolves alongside the evolution of our culture and values. Our legacies are shaped by our historians, teachers and students with each new generation.

KBIA

Since we began the Check-In, we’ve gone from crisis to crisis - a global pandemic sparked off an economic crisis and merged into a movement calling for an end to police violence and for reconciliation and racial justice.

KBIA

It’s been about 11 weeks since Boone County issued its initial stay at home orders and many businesses, schools, individuals and families went into isolation and lockdown mode.

Now, businesses are re-opening, clinics and hospitals are resuming routine health care, and in the midst of a social-justice movement and demonstrations, people are taking to the streets. 

KBIA

If you know just a little bit about journalism, you’ve heard the word “objective” thrown around. 

Journalists should show up, witness, observe and then go back and report the truth. But while the facts are king in our world, the mandate for being fair and objective makes us very cautious. Do our goals of objectivity - a thing which might not even exist - prevent us from telling it like it is? 

KBIA

As hundreds of citizens show up in town squares and streets to call for justice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, many people are asking: How can this happen? How can police violence and the deaths of black citizens at the hands of police happen over and over again in our American democracy?

And before this, we were already in a pandemic that was disproportionately impacting black and Latinx communities, many of whom work as essential workers.

For answers, many are looking at how our systems work in the U.S. and calling for systemic change, from our policing and justice systems to health care and education.

KBIA

The world is coming off of a weekend of protests, rallies and gatherings calling for justice after the killing of George Floyd. They're also calling for attention to police violence against unarmed black citizens and continuing to call for action. 

Indeed, more than a thousand people gathered in Columbia Sunday at the Boone County Courthouse for a Black Lives Matter rally and march that included speeches, singing and music.

If you’re looking at the news right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve maybe entered another dimension. Things can seem more than surreal. So much so that KBIA’s T’Keyah and Janet have been discussing apocalyptic storytelling. Especially the kind that brings attention to the experiences of the marginalized and helps us empathize and imagine - or even predict - a different future.

Octavia Butler does this. So does Margaret Atwood, among many others.

KBIA

In this episode, we're checking in with people who have been and currently are on the frontlines of the civil rights movements of today and years ago.

KBIA

We are in the midst of turbulent, and for many, dangerous times. And having the current crises played and re-played in the media and in real life for us day after day can take a toll -- especially for our black families and kids.

So how do we talk about the grief and loss that is part of life at center stage? What can we do for our kids who are feeling loss and even trauma from these events in their own lives as well as prominently in the media?

KBIA

It’s impossible to talk about the events unfolding today with this double crisis we’re in - the virus and the widespread public outcry against racism within American law enforcement - without wondering how we got here and whether history can help us understand it.

KBIA

Citizens in Columbia and across the country have spilled on to the streets to call for justice for George Floyd.

After the recent killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and after a decade of killings of unarmed black citizens often at the hands of police, many people are saying: Enough is enough.

Pages