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What Can I Do

News & Politics Podcasts

You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do? We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, and what they’d do differently if they had to do it all again. In the process, we’ll offer concrete advice on how to take the leap from freaking out on Twitter to making a difference, building community, and finding joy in getting involved.

You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do? We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, and what they’d do differently if they had to do it all again. In the process, we’ll offer concrete advice on how to take the leap from freaking out on Twitter to making a difference, building community, and finding joy in getting involved.

Location:

United States

Description:

You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do? We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, and what they’d do differently if they had to do it all again. In the process, we’ll offer concrete advice on how to take the leap from freaking out on Twitter to making a difference, building community, and finding joy in getting involved.

Language:

English


Episodes

“There’s one statistic I came across that suggested that 90% of people think they're more objective than average. And I wouldn't you know, I put myself in that category.” (With Jessica Nordell, author of The End of Bias)

11/30/2022
So you’re thinking about your place in larger political systems and wondering how your own biases are showing up in your work. What do you do? For Jessica Nordell, a journalist who has extensively covered the fallout of our political and social biases, the answer was the dig into how they’re formed, how they impact our lives, and how we can change our minds and the minds of others. Her book, The End of Bias, forced her to confront not only our larger cultural biases, but her personal biases...

Duration:00:29:33

“If we’re going to win, organizing is going to be key to getting us there” (With Elyssa Feder of Rising Organizers)

11/23/2022
So, the election is over, political changes are afoot, and you’re looking to help people take action into their own hands. What do you do? For Elyssa Feder and her team at Rising Organizers, the answer was to teach emerging activists the tools they need to change their communities, policies, and the world. By focusing on issues instead of elections, Rising Organizers helps people take steps towards making this change whether or not an election is on the horizon. Episode Links: Rising...

Duration:00:32:55

ICYMI - Recap 2 (aka, What Can I Do After the Midterms)

11/16/2022
In this special post-election edition of TL;DL, we’re looking back at the action items we discussed on the most recent seven episodes of “What Can I Do” featuring: Candice Kerestan of Democrats Abroad, Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodard of Dirt Road Revival, Rev. Angela Williams of SACReD, Amanda Litman of Run for Something, Don Hebbard of Compressor-Free Franklin, Rosie Torres and Susan Zeier of Burn Pits 360, and New York City Councilman Chi Ossé. In this episode we’ll be focusing on actions...

Duration:00:34:10

“We talked to everybody, because in Kansas you cannot win with only Democrats” (With Ashley All of Kansans for Constitutional Freedom)

11/2/2022
So, you’re campaigning for a timely but hot-button ballot initiative and need to reach voters without eliciting knee-jerk reactions. What do you do? For Ashley All and the many coalition partners working with Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the answer was to empower local activists to reach out in their communities and work together to message that protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion is one way to protect something Kansans of all political stripes value: Freedom. Kansas was...

Duration:00:36:00

“A Justified Impatience” (With New York City Councilmember Chi Ossé)

10/26/2022
So you’ve gotten involved in a major political protest movement but you want to do more. What else can you do? For Chi Ossé, an active organizer with the BLM movement working in nightlife, the drive to make change led into a successful city council bid, making Ossé the youngest member of the New York City Council and the youngest person ever to pass a bill in New York City. Ossé believes that local politics are the best place to begin the work of improving communities, cities, and the nation...

Duration:00:23:31

“How do you just sit back and tell your loved one that there's no help coming?” (With Rosie Torres and Susan Zeier of Burn Pits 360)

10/19/2022
So your community of veterans is getting sick because of toxic exposures on the job, but nobody, including the federal government, wants to take responsibility for your care. What do you do? For Rosie Torres and Susan Zeier, the answer was the organize a major lobbying effort to ensure that burn pit victims like their family members were taken care of. For Rosie, the founder of Burn Pits 360, this involved organizing a community and marshaling the efforts of people like Susan, who were...

Duration:00:38:24

“I look at political activism as an outgrowth of volunteerism.” (w/ Donald Hebbard of Compressor-Free Franklin)

10/12/2022
So you’re concerned about a local issue in a small rural community and you need to start an advocacy effort from scratch. What do you do? Donald Hebbard was a retired farmer and longtime resident of a rural area in upstate New York when he learned of a plan to put a natural gas compressor station in his town. Concerned about the impact this would have on the environment and community, he and a group of concerned citizens put together a local advocacy effort and won. Episode Links: Compressor...

Duration:00:29:58

“The joy of focusing on local work is that we win a lot”

10/5/2022
So you’re thinking about how to connect young people interested in running for office with the resources and community they need to win. What’s your first step? For Amanda Litman, a veteran of the Obama campaign, the first step was to put up a website looking for people interested in running for local office. What the response was greater than she could have ever imagined, she and a friend recruited volunteers and got to work helping thousands of young candidates navigate how to file, how to...

“Starting with the three feet around you”

9/28/2022
So you’re looking to be a part of a faith community, but one that shares your values about things like reproductive rights LGBTQIA+ issues, and more? How do you find one? How do you create one? For Rev. Angela Willams, the co-director of Movement Building at SACRED, faith and political action are intertwined. She talks about being called to become a Pastor while finding her political voice, working to change the narrative that religious communities are inherently conservative, and how...

Duration:00:27:24

“It always circles back to politics”

9/21/2022
So you live in a rural community that’s been ignored by the Democratic establishment, but you want to get involved in the political system. So, what do you do? For Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward, taking the lessons they’d learned while working in the climate movement and applying them to what they knew about Chloe’s rural home community taught them a lot about how to win campaigns in rural spaces. After working together to get Chloe elected to the Maine statehouse - the youngest woman ever...

Duration:00:27:29

“Where can we be the margin of victory?”

9/14/2022
You’re an American living abroad, but you want to have a voice in choosing who represents you, so what do you do? For Candice Kerestan, an American living in Germany, the question of how to work towards a more equitable and just American system was made more urgent by her experience living in the German system, where issues like education, healthcare, and combating climate change were being prioritized. So, she got involved at the ground level with her local chapter of Democrats Abroad, and...

Duration:00:29:58

ICYMI - Recap 1

9/12/2022
A recap of the actions and strategies we’ve discussed in our recent interviews. Find out more on our blog! Episode Links: “The trouble with viewing 9/11 and the pandemic through a wartime lens,” by Lila Nordstrom and Sarah Senk, The Washington Post, September 9, 2022. The Op-Ed Project Writing Effective Op-Eds, Duke University “15 Actionable Media Training Tips From Former Journalists,” LiaisonPR, August 23, 2021 Follow Lila on Twitter Follow Kelly on Twitter Follow the podcast on Twitter at...

Duration:00:16:54

“Instead of thinking, ‘we should,’ I just said, ‘I will.’”

9/7/2022
You’re skilled in the arts and you want to use those skills to make change, so what do you do? For Shannon Downey, a.k.a. Badass Cross Stitch, the answer was simple: Build a community of craft lovers and doers, and connect them with activists, issue-based craft challenges, fundraising opportunities, bystander training and advocacy workshops, and, of course, each other. Shannon tells us how she took her love of embroidery and lifelong passion for political action and combined the two. Episode...

Duration:00:40:28

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

8/31/2022
If you can see how big, seemingly-intractable national and international issues impact your local community, what do you do? For Rachel Dawn Davis, community activist and public policy and justice organizer with Waterspirit, the answer has been to search for intersections and connections between myriad local and national causes and do…whatever needs to be done. Between her work with veterans, her environmental activism, and her work in her community and New Jersey more broadly, she’s built...

Duration:00:28:38

“I became enamored with this thing called politics”

8/24/2022
If you don’t see any people in power who look like you or come from your background, what do you do? For A’shanti Gholar, President of Emerge America, the answer was to jump into the ring herself. From her high school showdown with a candidate for U.S. Senate to her work training women to run for office all over the nation, A’Shanti shares the story of how she took an early interest in politics and turned it into a career helping others. Episode Links: Emerge America: Website | Facebook |...

Duration:00:32:15

“I'm always looking for people's superpower”

8/17/2022
A new crisis explodes and you’re the frontlines. What do you do? Marked by COVID co-founder Kristin Urquiza’s father died from COVID after trusting Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s claims that “it was safe to resume normal activities.” While reeling from the loss, she and co-founder Christine Keeves made the decision to act, hoping to save others from facing similar losses. Find out how they went about forming Marked by COVID and began helping lead the fight for accountability, recognition, and...

Duration:00:36:38

"You don’t need a 12 point plan to get started"

8/10/2022
Feeling down about the state of the world? Looking for substantive ideas about how to take action? We’re here to help! In this first episode, Lila and Kelly discuss their own activist journeys, what it takes to move beyond voting and donating, what first steps can look like, and how to figure out where your skills can be of use. Episode Links: Order Lila’s book: Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor's Fight for Health Care in the Wake of 9/11. Follow Lila on Twitter Follow Kelly on Twitter...

Duration:00:23:30

What Can I Do: The Trailer

7/28/2022
You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do? We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, and what they’d do differently if they had to do it all...

Duration:00:01:11