Episode 9: Kids with Bullhorns

Over the past month there have been dozens of protests, marches, vigils, town halls, mural-paintings and other racial-justice demonstrations all over Cincinnati. A lot of this activism has been fueled by young people—we heard from a few of them in D&Z Episode 8. In this episode, we wanted to amplify more of those student activist voices, to help listeners understand the whys behind all the protests. We also wanted to bring those powerful messages to peers who might not be able to participate. (If you are out there marching, we hope you’re staying masked and safe.)

The first voice you’ll hear is someone who’s a few years out of school: longtime Black community activist Iris Roley, who helped reform the Cincinnati Police Department after an officer killed Timothy Thomas, an unarmed 19-year-old black man, in 2001. She’s spoken at several recent demonstrations, including this one at Fountain Square on June 12, always calling on the next generation to carry the movement forward.

Other featured speakers, in order of appearance:

  • Siueo Sims and other student protesters chanting outside Walnut Hills H.S. on June 12
  • Rap artist Khari Burton, speaking at Inwood Park on May 31
  • De’ariss Hope and Klarke Griffith, Walnut Hills H.S. 2020 graduates, speaking at the Hamilton County Courthouse on June 1
  • Nadyaa Betts, Kylie Bridgeman, Melanie Mitchell, and Bella Gordo, speaking at Walnut Hills H.S. on June 12
  • Marche Gendrew, Woodward Career Technical H.S. teacher Andrea Spenny, and Woodward students Tomesha Gordon, Imani Scott and Ronald White, speaking at Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition rally outside the Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center, June 19
  • Mariah Norman of William Mason H.S., speaking at a Black Lives Matter march she and her schoolmates organized in Mason, June 13
  • Monica Onyedika singing “I Went Down to the Jailhouse” at a Neighborhoods United rally in Washington Park, June 6

Introduction narration and field recordings by Seth Coppens, School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Thanks to all the speakers for powering this podcast.

You’ll find more on the current wave of student activism and a link to an article about protesting safely in the COVID era, on the Student Spotlight page of our Democracy & Me website. Episode 8 of the D&Z podcast features local youth organizers; some were also interviewed by Michael Monks on Cincinnati Edition, June 15.  

Here’s a link to view the 2015 documentary Cincinnati Goddamn, by April Martin and Paul Hill, along with supporting materials from The Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts, which is featuring the film on its website through July 9.