Los Angeles

Poetry for Incarcerated Youth With Matthew Cuban

This week, I’m joined by Matthew ‘Cuban’ Hernandez, a poet, speaker, and performance coach from Jacksonville, Florida. He has toured as far as Abu Dhabi and nearly every major city in the United States and Europe, performing, teaching and coaching poetry. 

 Matthew is the author of 3032, and is currently fundraising to provide 3,032 copies of his book to incarcerated youth in the Greater Los Angeles area and beyond. A teaching artist for nearly ten years, Matthew has spent the last four years working in youth detention centers across LA County. He believes allowing young people to see themselves reflected in art will empower them with the knowledge that they also have a story to tell. 

 A powerful performer as well, he has opened for artists such as Wu-Tang and has performed for platforms like BuzzFeed and NPR. Matthew is also a three time Southern Fried poetry slam champion and an award-winning poetry coach. Cuban’s favorite activity is making people feel great, including through poetry. 

 On this episode, Matthew shares how he started writing poetry and what inspires his work, as well as what it’s like teaching poetry with young people and campaigning to get their art funded. We talk about the relationship between creativity and vulnerability, how to practice self-love from secondary trauma, and what it’s like to live as an empath. Enjoy our hugging, laughing, and “singing”, in addition to three of Matthew’s incredible poems. 

 You can support Matthews Kickstarter here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3032bookgiveaway/matthew-cuban-3032-books-of-poetry-to-incarcerated-youth

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A memoir on my relationship with transportation

This week, I’m joined by Farzana, a friend and colleague of mine who, at the time of the interview, was conducting a research project about driving in Los Angeles. This is a unique episode, because Farzana mainly interviews me about the topic at hand. We talk about liminality (or the in-between places), the stresses of and issues with transportation and infrastructure in L.A., and my own journey from not only Wisconsin to Los Angeles, but from relying on my car to giving it up entirely.

Farzana is a community-based researcher who is interested in social harmony and rupture, reactions to heterogeneity, discourses of mass panic, and conflict resolution. Her most recent project is an ethnography of Los Angeles drivers, and through this she is learning about the quirks that characterize the lives of Los Angeles residents, the ways in which their relationships with driving define how they interact with the world, and their responses to anomalies that they encounter on and off the road.

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DIY Judaism, Passover, and Love With Andrea Hodos

This week, my guest is the awesome facilitator Andrea Hodos. In Andrea’s own words, we talk about “Jewish things” – what Judaism means to her and how it came to inform her life. We talked about her specialty, which is creating meaning and building empathy by putting things (and people!) in relation to one another, and also about Passover (specifically, what it means to her and her family)!

Andrea Hodos is the director of Moving Torah, a method for using movement, writing, and theater to explore Jewish text and Jewish story. Through her work in Moving Torah, Andrea developed a Jewish/Muslim women's performance project called "Sinai & Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering and Recovering." She is also the Program Co-Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Andrea and her husband, Aryeh Cohen, are among founding members of the Shtibl minyan, a DIY Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles.

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The Real Talk Project and Gender Justice With Amreen Karmali

Today, I talk to educator Amreen Karmali about the power of education and founding The Real Talk Project. Amreen and I mostly discuss gender justice, allyship, intersectionality, and approaching difficulty with creativity and love. We also ponder ideas of shame and guilt and how they play into both approaching patriarchy and patriarchy itself.

Amreen Karmali has been an educator and organizer for over 15 years. She spent 10 years as a middle school science teacher and holds a Masters in Science Education from CSULA. She has also facilitated a Young Empowered Women's class and a Student Organizing class, which melded her passions for all things justice-oriented with her love for teaching.  

This past year, Amreen left the traditional classroom to start The Real Talk Project, where she combines her understanding of contemporary schooling with critical lens to provide educators and community members with spaces where they can tackle ways in which patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of injustice manifest themselves in schools and relationships while working towards creating new ways of teaching and being together. She is also a founding member of The People’s Education Movement - Los Angeles, and is passionate about spreading health, healing, and joy to both her students and the community around her.

Learn more about the Real Talk Project by visiting its webpage.

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Awareness, Advocacy, and Action with Umar Hakim

This week, we are joined by Los Angeles community leader Umar A. Hakim. We draw on Umar’s expertise and experience to discuss self-awareness, leadership, and transforming a charitable cause into advocacy and action – especially in non-profit and activist circles.

A native of the city of Compton, Umar is the Executive Director of the ILM (Intellect, Love, Mercy) Foundation and holds degrees in both business management and ethical leadership. Umar draws on the key principle of Facilitative Leadership to coordinate ILM’s programming, which includes Humanitarian Day, Go Beyond the G.A.M.E, and Community Accountability Labs. With a focus on using design thinking for developing new social systems and encouraging next steps for leaders in need of clarity in an age of being relevant, Umar founded INKERIJ in 2012.

Umar is an active alum with American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, contributes to civic-social organizations including NewGround: Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change and California/LA Voice PICO network, and is an active community organizer in the City of Los Angeles.

Connect with Umar on Facebook or follow him @inkerij_official.

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Purposeful Movement, Purposeful Life with Arielle Miller Cohen

On this week’s episode, I interview Los Angeles based Arielle Miller Cohen -  registered Yoga Teacher, Lifestyle Coach, blogger and writer.

Arielle and I talk about the importance of personal accountability, internal motivation, and cultivating a growth mindset. We also discussed how to break free from limiting beliefs and live your truth. As a health and wellness enthusiast, she believes strongly that people’s lives can be changed positively through intentional movement.

Popularly known as “The Girl with the Purple Hair’’, her no holds barred approach to living life and accepting challenges has inspired many to intentional conscious living Through her yoga classes and writing, Arielle seeks to bring people and community together,  and help them experience holistic fitness from the inside out.

Arielle also works as a public school teacher and has a Master’s Degree in Leadership.

Listen to this week’s episode with purpose, and we’re sure it will have you moving into further greatness.

You can follow Arielle on Instagram @arielle_miller and on her site.

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