Social Justice Radio Hour promotes courageous conversations

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The “social justice and equity guys” at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton take to the airways every week to discuss social justice issues and political topics.

InLakesh, Radio Cosmico, a Discussion on Social Justice is recorded monthly and the pre-recorded episodes are broadcast every Tuesday from 3pm to 4pm on 93.5 KWDC and RadioFX. Topics include trying to define social justice, voting and social justice issues, social justice for victims of sexual assault, and issues relating to Thanksgiving, the Migrant Caravan, Martin Luther King, white privilege and Cesar Chavez.

The hosts, all CCA members, discuss issues based on their discipline.  Ricardo Aguilar teaches Spanish and addresses issues from a cultural perspective, how language impacts an issue, for example.  Mario Moreno teaches art and shares the visual arts perspective, Evan Wade teachers African American and U.S. History, thus providing the historical perspective, and Steve McCarty teaches business law and provides the legal perspective.

And they have a good time.  And listeners enjoy and appreciate hearing the perspectives. The gentlemen say this project can, and should be duplicated at community colleges across California.  “There is power in community college radio,” said Wade.  “It is good to have courageous conversations about issues we don’t always deal with every day.”

“This country was founded on ideas based on equality. One reason we not prepared to talk about race, class and gender issues today is because we have such a narrow historical perspective.  This show provides us opportunities to dialogue about issues of oppression, social justice issues and how they impact us today,” he added.

McCarty agreed. “Conversations like this put the community in community college – it gives us opportunities to talk about state and national issues that have local implications.”

Aguilar who came back from a CTA Equity and Human Rights Conference and asked his colleagues, who make up the San Joaquin Delta College Teachers Association Social Justice Committee, how they could truly share ideas about social justice issues. 

Moreno said admitted the “radio show was an overdue idea – we had been talking about for some time.” He contacted the Radio and TV Broadcasting department “and to my delight, Adriana Brogger was excited by the proposal.  You see, the InLakesh, Radio Cosmico, Discussion on Social Justice and Equity, is really made possible because of faculty working together at Delta College,” Moreno added.

Indeed, the logo was created by graphic design faculty member Michael Oliva, who is also designing t-shirts.  Students producing the radio show are enrolled in Adriana Brogger’s audio production classes.  Brogger is the first woman and person of color to be Radio Television/Multimedia associate professor & KWDC General Manager. She says “podcasts and audio in today’s media resonates with students. And, college radio is still live, and is one of the best places to exchange ideas and messages with the community.”

“Sometimes at community college there’s a disconnect between faculty, students and community. There aren’t many platforms to bring faculty, students and the community together to have ‘courageous’ conversations,” said Wade. “We’re all impacted by different questions relating to social justice. Stockton is in the heart of San Joaquin County, and it gets distorted, negative publicity because of barriers our community members face.  This is an ‘out of classroom’ space that benefits faculty, students and the community.”

The #MeToo Movement from a Man’s perspective

The gentlemen brainstorm topics, each taking turns at facilitating the conversation. Some topics are personal, others academic. “What is Social Justice?” was the topic of the first radio program. The discussion centered on social justice issues arising when migrants cross the border and are separated from their families.

Wade picked the second topic: the #MeToo movement. Why? Brett Kavanaugh had been confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice and “I wanted to have a dialogue around accusations and history of sexual terror and violence. It was interesting to have this all male conversation about male conduct with and against women.”

They discussed how historically in this and other countries, violence against women is given a pass. “We used the Kavanaugh situation as a case study of social justice. Is there due diligence by elected officials, how do politics get in the way of social justice and maintain oppression against individuals and voices.” They also attempt to provide solutions, he added.  “If there is someone on the local, state national or level who has a history of racism, sexism or other types of discrimination, how can we successfully deal with that?”

Future topics under consideration include prisons and incarceration issues, the legal justice system and how flaws in the law don’t lead to social or moral justice.  Education is also on the list, as they plan to examine institutional reasons the education system fails students, and how education can be a solution to social justice issues.