Over It So Now What with Liz Loeb (BZP025)

Welcome back to a new episode of Interact/Interconnect: The Beth Zemsky Podcast!!! Over the past few months, I’ve taken a break from the podcast to share with you the Facing Change Building Board Diversity (link) videos. These videos are still available on my website in case you haven’t yet had a chance to check them out.

In this episode, I am joined by my friend and colleague Liz Loeb. Liz is an amazing activist who has experience as a civil rights attorney and a community organizer working in grassroots and faith-based movements for justice, including her current role as Associate Director for Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (https://www.mnipl.org/)

Two years into the Covid pandemic, and in the context of ever escalating systemic stress on our communities, we have a wide ranging conversation about community trauma and resiliency that we decided to title “We are F…king Over It, Now What?

We discuss some of the issues currently impacting us, our families, and our community. Along the way we share some models to unpack our collective experience of trauma and some strategies to access personal and culturally based resources to build individual and community-based resiliency to face the challenges ahead with all the joy we can muster.

Tune in for this episode or subscribe to the entire series. Please continue to let me know what you think.

Wishing us all good health, healing, and justice.

Links from this episode:

Geerte Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions: https://hi.hofstede-insights.com/national-culture

Sandy Bloom Domains of Safety: www.sanctuaryweb.com

Abolitionism with LaDonna Sanders Redmond (BZP023)

Many people understand abolitionism as something connected to the effort to end chattel slavery in the US that ended with the Civil War and Emancipation. In this episode of the podcast, Beth is joined by LaDonna Sanders Redmond to discuss modern day abolitionism as a paradigm for healing our institutional systems and ourselves from oppression.


LaDonna’s TedX Talk: Food + Justice = Democracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydZfSuz-Hu8

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies Resmaa Menaken https://bookshop.org/books/my-grandmother-s-hands-racialized-trauma-and-the-pathway-to-mending-our-hearts-and-bodies-9781942094470/9781942094470

LaDonna’s reading/discussion group: Abolitionist Virtual Community. https://columinate.coop/events/abolitionists

The People’s Inauguration (BZP022)

I am honored that this episode of the podcast is launched in partnership with Valarie Kaur’s People’s Inauguration https://thepeoplesinauguration.org/ Valarie organized this People’s Inauguration out of the recognition that while a renewed functional government is necessary, it will not alone transform our communities into places were all of us are valued and free. Rather all of us have a vital role to play to heal and build a country that is committed to racial and economic justice, physical and emotional well-being, environmental sustainability, and peace. As President Biden and Vice President Harris take office, it is necessary for each of us also to take an oath to do our part to work towards this reimagined future.

To discuss how to do this, in this episode I am joined by my friends and colleagues Kerrian Suarez, Executive Director of Equity in the Center, and Andrew Plumley, Director of Inclusion at the American Alliance of Museums and Board member of Equity in the Center. Our conversation was recorded just a week after the insurrection at the U.S. Capital. We discuss the background and the implications of the rise of more visible and radicalized white nationalist violence, and how to support people, organizations, and social systems at this critical time to move from awake, to woke, to work to put racial equity at the center of transformational progressive change.

Link to “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture” publication: https://equityinthecenter.org/aww/
Upcoming partner trainings (White Allyship, Building Pro-Black Institutions, et al.): https://equityinthecenter.org/services/#partner-trainings
Sign up for our newsletter/training announcements. Scroll to the bottom and complete “Subscribe” fields: https://equityinthecenter.org/

Public Allies Twin Cities 10th Anniversary (BZP020)

For this episode, Beth catches up with her longtime friends Antonio Cardona, LaCora Bradford Kesti, and Ernest Comer – three of the people who have been instrumental in the impact Public Allies Twin Cities has been making in the lives of young people and the broader community for the last ten years.

We dig into the history of the organization, the work they’ve done over the years, and about Beth’s involvement with the organization during key movement moments over the past decade.

We talk about the importance of leadership development, the pressure often felt by leaders to lead and rise to any given moment, how this pressure can sometimes by rooted in internalized oppression, and how penguins provide a great example for us in helping us shift our mindset around these concepts.

We also spend a few minutes chatting with the team about their plans and ambitions for the future, their current individual projects, and the way Public Allies has influenced the work they’re doing now and the work they plan to lead going forward.

Click the links to learn more about Ernest’s book, LaCora and Ernest’s work on Black Centered Design, more about the African American Leadership Forum and Antonio’s work at Pillsbury United Communities.


Revolutionary Love with Valarie Kaur (BZP019)


For this episode, via Zoom from California, Beth welcomes her old friend and colleague, civil rights attorney, writer, filmmaker, activist, and current world-changer, Valarie Kaur.

With her new book, See No Stranger (www.SeeNoStranger.com), hot off the press, and the Revolutionary Love Project (www.RevolutionaryLoveProject.com) she founded going viral online, we catch up with Valarie for a unique, intimate chat between friends about her work, her new book, and how it all came to be. Valerie shares with us, in a candid and effortlessly authentic way, about what first called her to activism, how her Sikh faith has shaped and influenced her work, and how the concept of Revolutionary Love has seen her through some of the darkest and most transitional moments of her life.

This episode will challenge you in ways that are perfectly timed for the movement moment we are currently working though. With Beth providing us the context as someone who has seen many movement cycles like the one we’re in now, whether you’re new to movement work, a lifelong activist, or transitioning from one form of movement work to another, Valarie offers us up her deepest wisdom, in a way that will speak directly to yours, no matter where you are in your journey.

Valarie’s book is available online now at www.SeeNoStranger.com. Get a copy for yourself and buy a copy for that special highly-experienced or aspiring activist in your life.  Or… as a special gift from Beth, share your thoughts about this episode or Valerie’s work on Facebook (be sure to use the hashtags #BethZemskyPodcast and #SeeNoStranger), and email a copy of your post and your contact information to blzemsky@gmail.com. If you’re one of the first ten folks to do so, you’ll get a FREE copy of the book signed by Valarie, courtesy of the Beth Zemsky Podcast!

Intentionality in Crisis (BZP018)

In our first ever Zoom episode of the Beth Zemsky Podcast (and our second one featuring Beth’s dog, Bert), we focus in on how opportunities for introspection and systemic change are often brought about by crisis. We talk about how crisis can often reveal things about ourselves and our organizations that we’d maybe rather not see, and about the temptation to leverage whatever privilege we might have to simply look the other way. We talk about how crisis can disrupt entrenched power structures and about how taking inventory of our ideas about diversity and inclusion can be even more important during crisis than when we think things are going smoothly. We also talk briefly about Beth’s experience working in the early days of HIV, and about the impact it had on the work she does today. We talk about the importance of being intentional in identifying the opportunities presented to us by this or any other crisis, and how the movement work we’re called to in times of crisis can be some of the most important work there is.

For more on this topic from Beth, check out this recent blog she wrote for the Dodge Foundation at: https://blog.grdodge.org/2020/05/08/dodge-ta-implementing-diversity-inclusion-and-equity-during-a-pandemic

Miguel Ramos of the Minnesota Twins (TCP143)

On location with Miguel Ramos, Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the Minnesota Twins. We talk with Miguel about the Twins’ 365 commitment to diversity and inclusion, the ways they’ve given back over the past year, and the work they’ll be doing this year to ensure everyone feels welcome in Twins Territory.

Restorative Justice with Cynthia Zwicky (BZP017)

In this episode of the podcast, we talk with Beth’s longtime friend and colleague Cynthia Zwicky about the ancient tradition and emerging movement work field of Restorative Justice. While we talk about Cynthia’s experience primarily within the context of the education system, we also reflect on how the practice of restorative justice can provide a vital foundation for much of the social justice work we do. We also discussed how institutionalized power and privilege in the pursuit of justice often results in prioritizing the peace and comfort of those in power rather then well being of the community as a whole. Finally, Cynthia shares her experience first bringing restorative methodologies to her North Minneapolis school, the challenges she faced in doing so, and the ultimate successes her school achieved as a result.

Beth also catches us up on what she’s been up to so far this decade, what she’s got coming up, how to get in on her upcoming “Facilitating Cultural Change” workshop, and gives us a sneak preview of our next few episodes.

For more on the topic of Restorative Justice, check out the links Cynthia provided us with below:

Minnesota Department of Education: Restorative Practices

Living Justice Press

Cynthia wrote a chapter in this book (Chapter 4) that talks about the journey of implementing restorative practices in two school districts.

This book has great stories of implementing the circle process in schools.

And here’s a link to register for Beth’s workshop, Facilitating Cultural Change:

Leadership with David Nicholson (BZP016)

On today’s episode, we tackle the huge topic of leadership with Beth’s longtime friend and colleague, former Executive Director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, David Nicholson. We take a bit of a “thinking-out-loud” approach to the topic and frame it within the scope of the many kinds of leadership currently on display in this country in different arenas, and about the impact they’re having on the movement moment we’re in.

We talk about how various parts of our identities can impact our individual styles of leadership, how leadership doesn’t always look like or need to look like we might be accustomed to seeing it, and about the role of followers in effective community leadership. We talk about accountability, responsibility, leadership as a relationship with the people we’re leading, accepting feedback and criticism with grace and gratitude, how basing leadership on listening, empathy, and identifying and creating shared values is usually not a terrible place for any leader to start… and we only just scratched the surface!

We also talk briefly about Beth’s just announced Facilitating Cultural Change workshop this coming April. Be sure to check out Beth’s website for more information!

Giving and Financial Wellness with Thrivent Financial (TCP142)

With the season of giving upon us, we sit down with Patti and Madison from Thrivent Financial New Hope Group on Give to the Max Day 2019 to talk about Financial Wellness and setting ourselves up for a lifetime of healthy giving.

The Emerging Narratives of the 2020 Presidential Election with Dave Mann (BZP015)

In this episode, Beth sits down with her longtime friend and colleague, Dave Mann for a chat about the emerging and evolving individual and collective narratives of the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. We talk about what messaging is gaining traction, what isn’t, and what’s maybe just starting to. We talk about how this election already echos elections past in some ways and about the opportunities that some candidates might have to potentially pull away from the fray by framing their messaging in the values behind their positions on the issues. We talk about why leading with an anti-Trump narrative is a problem, we touch briefly on a few of the candidates who are doing a few things right, and talk about why and how all of this matters in the larger scope of movement building beyond just the upcoming election.

Resources referenced in this episode:

Grassroots Policy Project: https://grassrootspolicy.org/

Building Organizations in a Movement Moment (the article Dave & Beth wrote): https://bethzemsky.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Building-organizations-in-a-movement-moment.pdf

Social Movement Organizational Strategic Planning: https://bethzemsky.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Social-Movement-Organization-Strategic-Planning.pdf

Stewardship, Justice, & Democracy – An example of values based framing from the Land Stewardship Project: https://landstewardshipproject.org/posts/1220

New Social Contract – Organizing by values: https://bethzemsky.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/New-Social-Contract-Organizing-by-values-.pdf

LSP Narrative case study – https://grassrootspolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ANarrativeOfRuralAbundance.pdf

The Cycle of Abuse with Marissa Melby (DAP021)

We welcome DAP Men’s Program Therapist Marissa Melby as our special guest as we roll up our sleeves and lay the groundwork for our rebooted curriculum series with our first topic, The Cycle of Abuse.

195 Years of Activism Celebration and LGBTQ Task Force Fundraiser (BZP014)

A special bonus on location edition of The Beth Zemsky Podcast featuring Barbara Satin and Rebecca Voelkel. Together, they and Beth celebrate 195 years of collective activism along with a room full of their closest friends while raising funds to support the important work of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

2019 Twin Cities Pride Festival Performer Katie Beth (TCP138)

On location at the Quorum Village at the 2019 Twin Cities Pride Festival with Loring Stage performer and Sunday Headliner, Country Rock artist, Katie Beth. We talk about the challenges she’s faced as a female LGBTQ+ artist in a corner of the music industry that’s striving, yet still just beginning, to embrace equality and diversity among their ranks. We also talk about the power of perseverance when doors are slammed in your face, and about how we can all make a difference in the world by living out loud as our authentic selves.

Success and Reflections on Anti-Pride with Jeffry Lusiak (TCP137)

In this episode we sit down with longtime Minneapolis artist and educator, Jeffry Lusiak. We talk about his experience as a young Queer artist in the Twin Cities at a time when the visibility of the Queer arts scene wasn’t anywhere near what it is today, as well as delve in to his more recent endeavors, his new Success Coaching business and his awesome new podcast, From Here.

An update on Domestic Abuse Project with Amirthini Keefe (DAP020)

Welcome back to the new and improved Domestic Abuse Project Podcast! It’s been a while, but we’re back and better than ever with a new co-host, DAP’s own Director of Client Services, Amirthini Keefe. We’re on location at DAP’s new headquarters in NE Minneapolis to talk about all the new and exciting things that have happened at DAP since our last episode, and to talk about some of the exciting new innovations happening now and coming soon to DAP.

2019 Twins Pride Night Preview with Miguel Ramos (TCP136)

On location at Target Field with a special 2019 Twins Pride Night preview with the Minnesota Twins’ Director of Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Mr. Miguel Ramos. Miguel shares reflections on last year’s Pride Night and lets us in on how the 2019 Pride Night will be even bigger and better!

2019 Festival Preview with Darcie Baumann, Board Chair of Twin Cities Pride (TCP134)

We sat down last year with Twin Cities Pride Board Chair, Darcie Baumann, to talk directly to the community about issues that had arisen around police involvement with the festival and parade. In this episode, we talk about the work that’s been done and the progress that’s been made towards resolving these issues since that time, and talk about a few specific ways the parade and the park will be different this year.

2019 Festival Preview with Dot Belstler, Executive Director of Twin Cities Pride (TCP133)

An exclusive chat with Twin Cities Pride’s Executive Director about all things festival related, as well as a look back at this year’s 2019 Grand Marshal Reception featuring Mikko Blaze Bordeaux. We also talk to local broadcaster and journalist, Quinn Villagomez, about her work in the new Twin Cities Pride Magazine.

2019 Festival Grounds Preview with Ramona Richardson (TCP132)

On location at Twin Cities Pride HQ for a sit down with Pride’s Festival Operations and Events Coordinator, Ramona Richardson. We talk about everything festival grounds related – from how to become a vendor to where to park your car (or bike), to finding family friendly activities or your favorite sports team, to finding free water stations and port-a-potties, to where to find the beer garden and where to get your poodle massaged. And we only scratched the surface. Be sure to get your copy of this year’s Twin Cities Pride Magazine Pride Guide for a map and even more info about this year’s event.

2019 Pride Guide Preview with John Garland from Gray Duck Media (TCP131)

On location at The Growler/Gray Duck Media HQ for an exclusive sneak preview of the 2019 Twin Cities Pride Magazine Pride Guide with Gray Duck’s Creative Director, John Garland.

2019 Festival Comedy Preview with Sarah McPeck (TCP130)

On location at LUSH for a special 2019 Festival Comedy Preview with the one and only Sarah McPeck! Back by popular demand, get the low down on this year’s edition of the Big Fat Comedy Hour at the Twin Cities Pride Festival and meet a few random cast and crew members from the show, as they pop in to say hi. We check in on the monthly show at LUSH, learn about Sarah’s new weekly show at The Black Hart of Saint Paul, talk Sarah’s surprise hit Rascal Facebook Live series, and find out what’s new with Sarah’s Champagne Jamboree musical comedy duo partner, Amanda Costner.

Barry Karlenzig of Pride Winnipeg (TCP129)

On location at LUSH for a chat with Barry Karlenzig, Vice President of Programming for Pride Winnipeg. We talk about Barry’s involvement with the organization, his involvement with The Imperial Court, some of the ways Canada is leading in the movement for equality, and the emerging acronym “GSRD”, now widely in use in Canada in place of the variations of the LGBTQ acronyms that we use in the States.

Activism and Legacy with Barbara Satin and Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel (BZP013)

Buckle up for an all-star edition of the Beth Zemsky Podcast as Beth welcomes back Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel and welcomes for the first time to the podcast, community icon Barbara Satin. Together, we reflect on their collective 195 years of service and activism as we approach their triple birthday bash and fundraiser for the National LGBTQ Task Force on May 30th, 2019. We talk about what brought each of them to activism so many years ago, some of their earliest activist experiences, how those early experiences shaped who they are now, and their thoughts on the future of the Progressive movement. We talk about the importance of recognizing the shoulders upon which each of us stand in our work, carrying the mantle and memory of those we meet along the way, and the process of realizing and learning to accept our eventual roles as role models to the next generation of activists. We also talk about our tendency to sometimes “silo” ourselves into issues, ideologies, and generations, and about the power in breaking through these barriers. We wrap with thoughts on the legacies that Beth, Barbara and Rebecca each want to leave, along with an assurance that neither one of them is anywhere near finished yet. We also include details about the birthday fundraiser at the end of May and how you can join us to both celebrate and help support the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Carley Knox of the Minnesota Lynx (TCP127)

On location at Minnesota Lynx Headquarters in Downtown Minneapolis with Carley Knox, Lynx VP of Business Operations, for a chat about the Lynx’s President’s Circle initiative, their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion and all things Lynx!

Jennifer Dieter, Executive Director of The Aliveness Project (TCP125)

On location in St. Paul with Jennifer Dieter of The Aliveness Project. We talk about the history of the organization, the services they provide to the community and how you can get involved in their biggest event of the year, Dining Out For Life, with Super Ambassadors Rebecca Waggoner-Johnson and Eric Zucker.

Our Gay History in 50 States with Zaylore Stout (TCP124)

On location with Zaylore Stout to talk about his background, fighting for justice as his day job and his nighttime hobby, the Anoka-Hennepin School District situation, and his upcoming book, Our Gay History in 50 States.

The Power of Community Spaces in Movement Building with Rox Anderson (BZP012)

In this episode, we sit down with Beth’s longtime friend and comrade Rox Anderson, Director of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition and Rare Productions. We touch briefly on a few of the complexities surrounding the recent events involving Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar and talk about how moments like these can be leveraged by outside forces to create polarization and division between and within various marginalized communities. We talk about Rox’s recently awarded Bush Fellowship, their vision for an LGBTQ Center in Minneapolis, their work addressing inequities within LGBTQ POC communities, a brand new comic book in the works featuring real-life Transgender-identified superheroes and much more. Beth also talks about her next workshop with Phyllis Braxton and reveals some big news about her upcoming birthday bash/fundraiser with a couple of her longtime friends.