Uptown Chats Podcast

Welcome to Uptown Chats, New York City’s first community-based environmental justice podcast! Join Jaron Burke and Lonnie Portis every month as they explore issues in their community through the eyes of everyday people, and discuss how environmental justice is showing up in the news. It’s not just for experts, it’s for everyone!

You can find Uptown Chats on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or stream directly from Castos. New episodes will be posted on the second and last Mondays of every month. Check out our most recent episode below!

 

Episode 23: Introducing the US Energy Policy Wrong Direction Mini-Series
While the Biden administration has taken steps to advance an equitable transition to renewable energy, there are elements of the U.S. energy policy that are clearly headed in the Wrong Direction. Join Jaron and Lonnie for the first episode of the Wrong Direction mini-series to learn from WE ACT’s Federal Policy Director Anastasia Gordon about the energy options being embraced by the administration that are creating environmental justice challenges. Over the next three months, with the help of a few special guests, the Wrong Direction mini-series will explore the impacts of these misguided energy options on individuals in environmental justice communities.

Episode 22: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Lonnie and Jaron are joined by Albert ‘AJ’ Yuan, WE ACT’s Federal Policy Legislative Coordinator, to highlight the role of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in building the environmental justice movement.

Episode 21: New York’s 2024 Federal, State, and City Primary Election
As New Yorkers prepare for the second of its three elections this year, Lonnie and Jaron are joined by Pamela Stewart-Martinez, WE ACT’s Director of Civic Engagement & Organizing, to discuss New York’s 2024 Federal, State, and City Primary Election on June 25. Early voting for the primary runs from June 15-23, with Election Day on June 25. Get more voter information at weact.org/vote.

Episode 20: Celebrating Parks on Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day, Lonnie and Jaron are joined by Stephanie Caban from Riverside Park Conservancy to talk about why parks are so important for environmental justice.

Episode 19: Celebrating Cecil Corbin-Mark
In honor of the late Cecil Corbin-Mark, WE ACT’s first full-time employee (and former Deputy Director & Director of Policy Initiatives), Lonnie and Jaron are joined by WE ACT’s Co-Founder & Executive Director Peggy Shepard who talks about the formation of WE ACT and the legacy of Cecil’s work.

Episode 18: New York’s 2024 Presidential Primary
As New Yorkers prepare for the first of its three elections this year, Lonnie and Jaron are joined by Tyisha Smalls, WE ACT’s Community Organizing Coordinator, to chat about what to expect in New York’s 2024 Presidential Primary Election and highlight the role that women have played in protecting the right to vote. Early voting for the primary runs from March 23-30, with Election Day on April 2. Get more voter information, including 2024’s other two elections, at weact.org/vote.

Episode 17: Our Homes Under Our Control
The rent is too damn high – and so are our energy bills! Jaron and Lonnie talk to WE ACT’s Climate Justice Campaign Manager Annie Carforo about our new campaign, Our Homes Under Our Control, and the intersection of environmental justice and housing justice.

Episode 16: New York City’s Environmental Justice Report
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie talk with WE ACT’s Co-Founder & Executive Director Peggy Shepard about the EJNYC Report, New York City’s first-ever Environmental Justice Report, which was released by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice.

Episode 15: City & State Budgeting in New York
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie explore how the budget gets decided at the city and state level in New York with the help from WE ACT’s State Legislative Manager Briana Carbajal and Uptown Chats very own Lonnie Portis, who is WE ACT’s New York City Policy and Advocacy Manager.

Episode 14: The War on Rats!
In the follow-up to our previous episode, Rats! Jaron and Lonnie talk about rat contraceptives and other rat prevention strategies with the help of New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu.

Episode 13: Rats!
Switching to a bimonthly format, Jaron and Lonnie kick off the new year with their first listener-requested topic – Rats! We all know those furry creatures are a nuisance, but are they also an environmental justice issue? Listen to find out!

Episode 12: The WE ACT Story Holiday Special
In this special holiday episode, Jaron and Lonnie sit down with two people who were instrumental in helping create and shape WE ACT for Environmental Justice: Eric Goldstein, NRDC’s Senior Attorney and Director, New York City Environment, People & Communities Program and Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President at the Metropolitan Group and Co-Founder of WE ACT. Listen to these two long-serving WE ACT Board Members tell their stories of our formation and early years.

Episode 11: The Legacy of Lead (Pb)
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with WE ACT’s Director of Policy Sonal Jessel, MPH and Matthew Chachere, Former Staff Attorney at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), about the long, ongoing struggle against childhood lead poisoning in New York and why it’s such a critical environmental justice issue.

Episode 9: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
In this episode, which celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, Jaron and Lonnie speak with New York City Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa as well as WE ACT’s Environmental Justice Research Analyst Manny Salgado and Bilingual Community Organizer Marileidy Pimentel about their experience working in the environmental justice movement.

Episode 8: Air Pollution & Asthma
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with WE ACT’s Community Organizer Coordinator Tyisha Smalls and South Bronx Unite’s Clean Air Project Organizer Leslie Vasquez about how air quality impacts communities in New York City.

Episode 7: Trains, Buses, and Environmental Justice
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with WE ACT member Flora Huang and WE ACT’s Manager of Membership and Organizing Louis Bailey about how transportation and public transit impact environmental justice communities in New York City.

Episode 6: Extreme Heat – Too Hot to Handle
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with WE ACT members Nan Faessler, Louis Kleinman, Liz McMillan, and Stuart Aaronson as well as WE ACT’s Resiliency Coordinator Caleb Smith about extreme heat, the deadliest impact of climate change.

Episode 5: Workforce Development – May the Workforce Be With You
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with Charles Callaway, WE ACT’s Director of Workforce Development & Green Institute on the importance of jobs and job training in the environmental justice movement.

Episode 4: Energy Democracy – Power to the People
In this episode, Jaron and Lonnie speak with Stephan Roundtree Jr., Deputy Program Director, Northeast at Vote Solar, and Briana Carbajal, WE ACT’s State Legislative Manager about energy justice and energy democracy.

Episode 3: Women of Color in Environmental Justice
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Jaron and Lonnie speak with three generations of women working for environmental justice: WE ACT Co-Founder and Metropolitan Group Executive Vice President Vernice Miller-Travis, WE ACT’s Senior Director of Strategy and Federal Policy Dana Johnson, and Browngirl Green Founder Kristy Drutman.

Episode 2: Don’t Be Toxic, Be Beautiful
In this episode, hosts Jaron and Lonnie speak with TK Saccoh, Founder & Content Creator at the Darkest Hue, and Yuwa Vosper, WE ACT’s Policy & Regulatory Manager, about colorism, toxics in beauty products, and our Beauty Inside Out campaign (weact.org/beauty).

Episode 1: Get the Most Out of Compost
In our first full episode of WE ACT’s Uptown Chats podcast, hosts Jaron Burke and Lonnie Portis speak with Nando Rodriguez, Environmental Program Coordinator at the Brotherhood Sister Sol, and Annie Carforo, WE ACT’s Climate Justice Campaigns Coordinator, about urban composting.

Trailer 2: What is Environmental Justice
WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Uptown Chats podcast hosts Jaron Burke and Lonnie Portis define environmental justice and explain how we are working to achieve it. You can find Uptown Chats on here on our YouTube channel, on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or stream directly from Castos. New episodes will be posted on the last Monday of every month.

Trailer 1: Welcome to the Uptown Chats Podcast
Listen to WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s new Uptown Chats podcast! Join hosts Jaron Burke and Lonnie Portis every month as they explore issues in their community through the eyes of everyday people, and discuss how environmental justice is showing up in the news. It’s not just for experts, it’s for everyone! You can find Uptown Chats on here on our YouTube channel, on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or stream directly from Castos. New episodes will be posted on the last Monday of every month.

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