RE-AIR: Transforming Systems of Harm with Sean Goode & Rebecca Thornton of Choose 180
Release Date: 09/06/2022
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Sean Goode and Rebecca Thornton from Choose 180 stop by to share how to transform systems of harm and injustice - by supporting young people impacted by them as well as their own staff in doing this work. They discuss a better world where neighborhoods are resourced, generative programs are co-created, and the humanity of those accused of causing harm is centered alongside the healing of those who are harmed. Such a world is not as far off as one may think, but does require the transfer of power to those closest to the pain and a long-enough runway to have lasting effects.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Choose 180: https://choose180.org/
“A King County nonprofit raised all staff salaries to $70,000 minimum. Will more organizations follow?” by Naomi Ishisaka from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/labor-shortage-or-living-wage-shortage-one-king-county-nonprofit-is-taking-a-different-approach/
"Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity in the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances" by Neil Bhutta, Andrew C. Chang, Lisa J. Dettling, and Joanne W. Hsu for FEDS Notes: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/disparities-in-wealth-by-race-and-ethnicity-in-the-2019-survey-of-consumer-finances-20200928.htm
“Closing the racial wealth gap requires heavy, progressive taxation of wealth” by Vanessa Williamson from The Brookings Institution: https://www.brookings.edu/research/closing-the-racial-wealth-gap-requires-heavy-progressive-taxation-of-wealth/
“The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap” by Nick Noel, Duwain Pinder, Shelley Stewart, and Jason Wright from McKinsey & Company: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/the-economic-impact-of-closing-the-racial-wealth-gap
“An Unjust Burden: The Disparate Treatment of Black Americans in the Criminal Justice System” by Elizabeth Hinton, LeShae Henderson, and Cindy Reed for Vera Institute of Justice: https://www.vera.org/downloads/publications/for-the-record-unjust-burden-racial-disparities.pdf
“Prosecutor-funded program helps kids do a 180, avoid charges” by Sami Edge from The Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/law-justice/prosecutor-funded-community-effort-helps-kids-do-a-180-on-jail-bound-route/
King County Prosecuting Attorney - Choose 180 Youth Program: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/prosecutor/youth-programs/choose-180.aspx
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes.
Today, I'm very excited to have joining us Sean Goode, the Executive Director of Choose 180, and Rebecca Thornton, who's the Office Manager and bookkeeper for Choose 180. Thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:00:50] Sean Goode: It's an honor to be here, Crystal. Thanks for the invitation.
[00:00:52] Rebecca Thornton: Thank you for having us.
[00:00:55] Crystal Fincher: Excellent. So as we get started here, I just want to open up with you talking about what Choose 180 does and what brought you both into this work. And we can start with you, Sean.
[00:01:09] Sean Goode: Yeah. Our organization exists to transform systems that cause harm, systems of injustice, and support the young people who've been impacted by those systems. And what that looks like is we partner intentionally with folks like prosecutors to co-create programming that exists outside of the traditional criminal legal system and alleviates the need for them to continue to prosecute young people.
So in practicality, it's a young person lives in a neighborhood that's overly policed, their behavior's criminalized, the police send that referral to the prosecutor - but because of our relationship with them, they get community instead of a criminal conviction. And for the young people who engage in our traditional programming, over 90% of the time, they don't return to the criminal legal system within 12 months of participating in our programming. And so that's an example of one of our many models of service, but all of them have a genesis point of partnering with systems to transform the way they administer justice and supporting young people as an outcome to help alleviate the harm that those systems cause.
My brother was incarcerated as a 13-year-old boy until he was a 21-year-old man and how he was stigmatized as a problem. And yet how, when he was released, saw me beginning to engage in some of those same problematic behaviors, but saw the possibility that lived within me and was able to call that out from a dark place and show me, by the way of his light, that there was something else that I could become.
[00:02:30] Crystal Fincher: And what brought you to this work, Rebecca?
[00:02:33] Rebecca Thornton: About six years ago, I was looking for just some way to donate my time, because I just felt I had survived so much and that was just a way I wanted to give back. And I stumbled upon what was the 180 Program at the time. And they were like, "Hey, do you want to come and share your story at one of our workshops?" And I agreed, and I just jumped right in, and I just kept coming back. And about maybe eight months in, Sean ended up coming on and I got to watch that whole process. And then the team started to grow. And then about two years ago now next month, I came on full time as the Office Manager and bookkeeper.
And I stayed with Choose 180 because of my lived experience with drugs specifically. I hold this core belief that especially young people should not be criminalized for their behavior because so much of it comes from the things that have happened to them in their lives and the circumstances in which they lived, because that's what happened to me. And I just want to give back in that way so that people don't have to take as long to turn their life around like I did.
[00:03:46] Crystal Fincher: You actually made news last year for something that we don't see often, and that was for deciding to make sure everyone at Choose 180 is making at least $70,000, who's there full-time, which is a huge part of a discussion that we're having just around paying people a living wage in the first place and making sure people who are around us that we work with can also afford to live within our communities. But also particularly in the nonprofit space, where, so often, we are used to hearing about thin budgets and even thinner salaries, and there's just not that much money to go around. And this is a pursuit that people get into, not for the money, but for serving the community. How did this conversation start within Choose 180? And how did you arrive at the place where you decided to say, "You know what, everyone deserves to have a fair wage and to have the ability to live where they're working."?
[00:04:47] Sean Goode: Yeah. Thanks for that question, Crystal. I think I want to start by saying we're fortunate to serve in a community where there's organizations like Collective Justice, Creative Justice, and Freedom Project, who have all done work around wage equity. And some of them have started the organization out flat, or paying already close to or living wage. And so we're fortunate to be able to have examples like that ahead of us that make the journey that we're traveling easier.
And fortunately, we had a couple of our team members speak up who were asking questions about, well, how does it work around here? How do we determine what people make? And how does one get a raise? And do we do things by merit? Do we do things by a degree? And what we didn't want to do is provide any one-off answer and fix one person's situation. We wanted to go about it in a way that addressed it holistically. We convened a committee from our board to assess our compensation philosophy, and they spent time interviewing our team members and listening to their voices. And then they brought their recommendations to me. And their recommendations were many. There were things like, how do we value lived experience? How do we value college degrees? How do we value time served at the organization?
But a throughline that was consistent was living wage. And I heard the report, I looked at the report, and I said, "Yeah, that sounds good, but we're at a nonprofit and we're already paying above market rate in many of these positions. So I don't know what more people want from me." And I thought the conversation was done there. I thought, at that point, I was finished and we could move on, but then we had to build a budget out for the next year. And as the story goes, one of our team members was working on their budget and I told them to dream big. And if we need to add to staff, consider what that might look like, which is where I always start budgeting - to think big. And she came back to me and said, "Well, if we're thinking about adding staff, I can't do that and not have our teammates who are currently here making less than a living wage." And then it became a back-and-forth conversation where I still didn't really get what it was I was being asked to do. And at the end of that conversation, she said, "Look, we work to support young people and their families in escaping the material conditions they're living in that are contributing to the harm that they've experienced. Could it be that we're resourcing our team to live in those same material conditions?" And that cut deep. And so -
[00:07:18] Crystal Fincher: That cut deep, didn't it?
[00:07:20] Sean Goode: Yeah. Yeah. And then I went to Rebecca, because she was in the office that day, and I tugged on her and I said, "Rebecca, do you ever think about buying a home for Maddie?" And Rebecca, you can go ahead and talk about what that was like for you.
[00:07:33] Rebecca Thornton: Well, I laughed at him. Maddie is my daughter - she's kind of the office kid, honestly. Everyone is just in love with her - she's eight. But Sean pulled me aside and he asked me if I was able to save money or if I had plans to ever buy a house, and I laughed at him. That was my first instinct because that's never been in my plans
[00:07:54] Crystal Fincher: From your end, as you're following this process, Rebecca, a lot of times we hear about this as employers and people who hire people and determine how much people get paid - we frequently hear this conversation from their perspective. But for someone who's working in that condition and you are not dictating what your salary is, but you're living there, and as you said, it was laughable to you that thinking about saving for a house, or anything like that, was a possibility. What was this conversation like as someone working for the organization?
[00:08:28] Rebecca Thornton: Well, I know a lot of my coworkers were of the stance of, "Yes, we deserve this. We're going to fight for this." And I was more of Sean's thinking. I'm just so used to making below a living wage that that's kind of all I knew and kind of a core belief of all I thought I deserved. So for this to be on the table, I didn't believe it. I was like, when it's in my bank account, then I might believe it. And it was also odd because here I am, a white person in a Black-led organization. Do I deserve to make that kind of money at the same time? I don't know. There's a lot of - it gets down to all the core beliefs I have in making sure that I know that I deserve that. And it comes - I didn't have a lot of education, and I'm working on my degree and things like that. It's just, it brought up a lot of emotions in me, honestly, more than I thought it would. And I'm glad I had stronger coworkers that could keep the faith in it for me because I don't know - I was a little more pessimistic about it, I feel.
[00:09:52] Crystal Fincher: But I think you get to the root of something that a lot of people face - if they're just used to something and you think this is just how it is and there's not really a possibility for it to get any better, you just kind of accept the conditions and go along with the flow. To me, it seems like there's such a synergy between conversations and beliefs that you are bringing into the community, and this conversation that you had within your organization, which is something I feel a lot of organizations need to do. And there is a tension between what they're saying their values are, what they're saying they're working for in the community, and what they're perpetuating through their practices and their budgets. We talk publicly - budgets are moral documents. They're also moral documents within nonprofit organizations and businesses.
So what got you to the point, Sean, where you were like, okay, this is something that we can make happen? And how did you work through that?
[00:10:50] Sean Goode: Hearing from Rebecca and another one of our co-laborers here - just, it hurt because I care deeply for our team. And then I had this moment of realization, Crystal, where I recognized the only thing getting in the way of this happening is me. And there's also holding attention of this opportunity to build wealth and I know very well, as a multiracial Black man, that the wealth gap between Black Americans and white Americans is 95 cents to the dollar. So for every nickel that Black Americans hold, white Americans hold 95 cents. One of the principal ways to close the wealth gap in our nation is through home ownership. If I am an employer that's largely employing Black and Brown people and not paying them a rate that allows them to build wealth, then I'm perpetuating a historical harm on the very people who I believe are entitled to benefit from the same system that they've suffered from for 400 plus years.
[00:11:58] Crystal Fincher: I think that is so important - appreciate you being transparent about the tensions. I think that a critical part of this conversation is acknowledging that those tensions exist, talking through how you work with it. And to your credit and to your team's credit, Rebecca, the willingness to say this is possible and, hey, we believe in better and we're going to stand in this belief while you catch up. And for you, Sean, we talk about empathy and compassion. Those things, to me, are only useful as verbs. And I believe to my core that that enables people to work more effectively, to carry the message more effectively, to intervene effectively, and those in the community to see, okay, you actually mean what you're saying. It's like a bridge to build trust. And so I do want to talk about this work.
And so in that context, how do you start conversations with people who start out with that belief - "Hey, someone does the crime, they do the time. And looks like that fixes the problem to me."
[00:13:01] Sean Goode: What I'd love to do is this - I'd love to start back and say, hey, let's talk about slave patrols. And then let's talk about abolition, which then led to vagrancy laws, which meant that Black folks could be criminalized for standing on street corners - being unemployed because they weren't employable because the white farmers, who were no longer enslaving them, wouldn't hire them unless they could be servants again - would then be arrested. And then when they are arrested, they would be leased out as convicts, which then put them back on the very same plantations that they were supposedly liberated from. I would love to be able to dive into the prison industrial complex and talk about how for-profit prisons have driven an industry and a practice towards incarcerating people. I would love to highlight the fact that there's more Black people incarcerated today than were ever enslaved at any point of time in our country.
I would love to talk about the disproportionate policing and how policing is focused in impoverished areas that are highly under-resourced and undersupported and frequently neglected, where there's not access to quality education, quality healthcare, quality schools. I would love to talk about the many depravities that are present in the places where young people aren't allowed to have behavior listened to before it's criminalized.
I would love to bring all those things to the forefront, but what I know to be true is most people who don't understand this reality, are too distant from that place that - for them, that seems like history and not present. And it's difficult for them to draw a throughline. Where I do believe we can start at is a simple conversation around cause and effect. If historically, policing behavior would lead to a decrease in behavior that causes harm, then we should be seeing, year over year, a decrease of the number of people who are incarcerated. We should be seeing a decrease in violent crime. We should be seeing a decrease in property crime. If these systems were preventative measures that were persuading people away from making these types of decisions, then after all these years, it should have had an impact that demonstrates that things are getting better in that regard.
Everything we look at would tell us otherwise. Either it doesn't work, or humanity is so inherently evil that no matter how much we police behavior, it'll never change. I don't believe that humanity is so inherently evil. In the work we do, the majority of the folks that we're supporting are people who are committing - whose behavior's being criminalized because they're living in poverty. If someone steals from the Goodwill, it's not because they're some sort of malicious criminal. If somebody's stealing from Target, it's not because they're looking to make some sort of substantial come-up off of what it is that they've taken. So as a result, it's upon us to begin to think outside of our traditional pathways and lean in with the lens of empathy and grace, and understand that we can't police our way out of poverty.
[00:16:13] Crystal Fincher: I couldn't agree more with every single thing that you just said. So with that conversation and people going, well, okay, yeah, we see that there were problems with what we've been doing, but I still don't see what the solution is. You're talking about all this compassion stuff, and you're talking about let's treat people better and not put them in prison. What is the answer that you have and the programs that you are working on that are okay, so what is that different thing?
[00:16:41] Sean Goode: The work that we do and the work that we do in community with others creates an off-ramp from the criminal legal system and an on-ramp into community where both the young person who is accused of causing harm is invited to be on a healing journey of accountability, and the person who was harmed is also made whole and invited to be on a journey where they're healing. And we've had terrific impact because we center the humanity of those that we're serving - and not a humanity that's absent of being accountable to what you've done, but a humanity that doesn't limit the person to what it is they've done and creates a pathway to what it is they can do, and then provides them with the resources they need to fully lean into that possibility.
[00:17:21] Crystal Fincher: Focusing on the stopgaps, what types of programs are there and how do they compare? Because a lot of people are still, I think, having challenges contextualizing - well, yeah, recidivism rates are high, but we see what happens when, okay, someone's arrested, they're sentenced, they go to prison, and then they come out. They see something happening and they're like, "Okay, that is something." It's not as visible to people yet - what the interventions are outside of the criminal legal system that are like, okay, this is the process of healing, this is the process of justice, this is how we work to prevent further harm from happening and also work on healing people who have been harmed - which, to your point, is usually everybody involved in the scenario. What do those look like? And what are those programs? What are those processes?
[00:18:21] Sean Goode: Yeah. They look like eviction moratoriums, which keep people housed and not living on the street. They look like the County buying up hotels in places that are inconvenient for some homeowners, but necessary for those who can't afford to live in a home. They look like investing in mental health services at a statewide level, which is something that we failed to do for a very long time in Washington. They look like re-examining our tax code and considering more ways to be able to raise the resources necessary to meet the needs for the collective us, instead of prioritizing the needs for those of us that have already established the foundation of wealth. They look like initiatives like Best Starts for Kids in our region that allow organizations adjacent to ours and like ours to be able to stand up innovative programs that can serve as a stopgap to alleviate some of the hurt and harm that's been caused.
They look like many things similar to what it is that I'm sharing. They look like - how do we make sure we get more farmers' markets and healthy foods into neighborhoods that haven't had access to them historically? How do we make sure that people who have access to those healthy foods have the time and space to prepare them because they're not on public transit hours a day going to and from work for a less-than-a-living-wage job and picking up their kids from childcare, and then finally getting home at an odd hour where it's cheaper to buy a Happy Meal than it is to make a meal? Right? These are all contributing factors to the spread of this disease of violence.
So it's so multifaceted, but also, if you're wondering and you're listening to this - well, that sounds ambitious. That sounds huge. That sounds like a wonderful utopian society, but how do we deal with what it is we're dealing with today? I'd say, just imagine for a moment, close your eyes and - picture the suburbs - picture places where you can walk to the grocery store, like a gentrified Columbia City, picture places where you have access to green spaces and parks and healthy foods. I know it seems like it's abstract when we put it in the context of underserved neighborhoods, but in neighborhoods where people are paying $1.5 and $1.8 million for houses that were initially purchased for a couple hundred thousand dollars because they were dilapidated in squalor because the areas were underinvested for decades - if we just take a minute and imagine, how do we make sure people have equal access to those type of services, then we wouldn't be having a conversation about violence at all. We'd have a conversation around how do we make sure that there's equitable distribution of services, equitable access to quality healthcare and quality foods and quality education.
This is not a profound innovation that we're talking about. It is a profound effort only in the context of the fact that we've historically neglected those that have suffered, hidden them away, and hope that they disappear, and as we all should eventually benefit from a system of capitalism. We are still here. We still persevere, but we could thrive if people saw our humanity and began to make sure we had living wages. I mean, this goes right back into the wage conversation that we began with. If organizations - I was reading a book about the economics in Black community and one of the things that it stood up was that the middle class of Black folks across the country is largely comprised of people who work in social services. So we are the ones who are serving those of us who are impacted, and simultaneously impacted because the majority of our jobs don't provide a living wage that allows us to build wealth to benefit from capitalism, to build up communities that aren't living in the conditions that are causing the harm that's leading to the crime that people are complaining about because they don't want that to be present in their neighborhood. And then where are we supposed to go?
[00:22:22] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. And absolutely valid and another - so many of those conversations about - as people explain the difference between Columbia City and an area that has been underinvested and under-resourced for so long - we can talk about Skyway, we can talk about a lot of different areas - it really comes down to the value that people place in those communities. To your point, about most Black people in the middle class being in the - basically serving and helping others, and that our value or people's value being tied up into their labor for others. And if you are laboring, then you have some value - not too much, but some, we'll recognize some. And if you don't, then we don't just value you. These are ultimately investment decisions based on value judgements of who deserves what and who deserves how much. And we repeatedly see and have a lot of empirical evidence about the judgements that our society has made about who is deemed worthy and who is deemed unworthy just for existing. And who has to do all of these shows of worthiness and value and labor to be considered worthy. And who just kind of gets that - because they exist.
Now, kind of circling back around to Choose 180 - within Choose 180, you talked about earlier partnering with prosecutors, partnering within the system. Certainly, these are stopgaps and not the entire solution, but what do those partnerships, programs, interventions look like?
[00:24:12] Sean Goode: Yeah. It begins with a genuine effort to connect with the people who are generally at the forefront of perpetuating harm, right? So the work with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in King County goes back to 2011 when Dan Satterberg, now outgoing King County Prosecutor, was engaged with Doug Wheeler, community leader, and said, "Look, we're failing our Black and Brown children. Can you help me?" Right? And because Dan reached out to Doug - together, they created what at that time was called the 180 Program with other community leaders, and stood up an alternative that's continually alleviated the need for juvenile prosecution in our region. It begins with a willingness of those who are holding power to understand that their ability to hold power isn't going to transform the harm. It's their ability to release that power and give it back to those that put them in power, and allow them to co-create solutions that then serve the needs of those who have been impacted the most.
And our existence is a manifestation of what is possible there, but it takes a lot of deconstructing of narratives. It takes a lot of trust building. It takes a lot of empathy and understanding, and it takes a lot of grace. Grace selectively applied is favoritism. And so what that means is we have to extend the same grace to prosecutors and law enforcement and court folks that we do to young people and families that we serve, because otherwise, we're just doing the same thing that law enforcement and court system and criminal legal system has done historically, which is prioritize people that they're preferential to while neglecting those that they don't care for.
[00:26:00] Crystal Fincher: As the community is looking at programs that are happening through Choose 180 and the diversions that you're doing, as you're working with people to help connect them to resources, to coach them in better ways, provide better examples, and make sure they have the tools and support to sustain a different direction permanently, you talked about your success with recidivism rates. In terms of people sitting back - okay, things are broken, okay, totally not ideal. All right. Great. You have these programs. All right. How are they working in comparison to the traditional system? How do we know what you are talking about is working any better?
[00:26:49] Sean Goode: Yeah. Well, Crystal, what I'm asking the community to do is give us the same runway that we've given the systems that have historically caused harm. Give us the same runway that we give the systems that historically cause harm. If we're only - we've been in practice for 10 years and have had great impact. Our systems of oppression have been in place for hundreds of years and have caused a ton of negative impact. How much of a runway do we get to prove that we can be successful? Do we get a year? Do we get two years? Do we get three years? Do we get four years maybe to stand something up for it to be proven wrong? How many iterations do we get to come up with, right? Are we allowed to have as many moments of reform - calls for reform - as law enforcement has in our nation. Historically year over year, do we get that same grace? That's what I'm asking for.
If you want to stand up an alternative that's going to help deconstruct years upon years of perpetuated harm, then it's going to take more than 24 to 36 months to do that. It's going to take more than 10 years. It's going to take a generation of commitments to innovative ideas that we don't run away with the first time that they don't have the impact that we're looking for, because candidly, Crystal, if we ran away from the criminal legal system every time someone was released to the community and caused harm again, then we wouldn't be using it today at all. We wouldn't be resourcing it today at all, but we do because we believe that that can be fixed and it can be made better. Well, I'm asking folks to carry that same conviction in the community-based alternatives that are being stood up by the people who are closest to the pain points. Just like when it came to our wage conversation as an organization, the folks who are closest to the pain point understood what they needed to be healthy and whole. In community, the people who are closest to the pain point know what they need to experience safety in their community. Why don't we begin to just stand up what it is that folks are asking for and see what happens, and give it a runway like we've given to these other antiquated systems?
[00:28:48] Crystal Fincher: I feel like that is a big thing that we're running into today - that we are sure we haven't had the best results, but we can change, we can fix it. While at the same time, demanding that community-based alternatives - one, present all the data that we need to see that this will fix all of the problems in order for us to consider investing in you at one-tenth of a percent that we invest in the rest of our criminal legal injustice system.
Within there - certainly, goodness, you give it a 50- or 60-year runway, the change that you could see, it's hard for me to envision that change. Because if you just look on the short term, better results when it comes to reoffense and recidivism at the 12-month mark and other month marks - immediate results that are, sure, not perfect, but certainly better than the existing traditional systems. What would you say makes you most optimistic about the work that you're doing? And with this, I would just say also, Rebecca, in this question, what makes you most optimistic about the work that you're doing and the changes that you're seeing throughout the programs that you have, and the people who you're working with in the community?
[00:30:16] Rebecca Thornton: Well, for me, I'm so excited that it's being talked about because it's something that I've always believed in, and I just never believed it was possible. Coming to Choose 180 and starting working full-time and being totally enmeshed into the programs and the people, I've started to look at things differently and looking at ideas differently. Things are possible if you can come together as a group and work for it and have that belief in it. You can make things happen. I've never seen that before. But I come from corporate America - there's no room for that there as well. It's been so cool to see - and that can be applied out in the community as well. If people can come together and they have the will - and like Sean said, the stamina - they can make stuff happen. But they need the tools to be able to do that as well, because I was out in the community on drugs years ago. I had no idea that change could happen for anyone. And I just think of how differently my life would've been had I had access to the things that could be possible in the 50 years that Sean is talking about.
Or the things that my daughter's going to be able to have access to is just so important. My daughter - we have what's like "a broken home." There's statistics and stigma in that, right? So I've worked very hard to make sure that she sees me work hard and surround her with good people and all of that. But at the same time, there's still things in the way there. There's still stigma, right? And I just want to make sure that she knows that anything is possible. And I feel like what we're doing at Choose 180 just shows that, and it's pretty powerful.
[00:32:15] Crystal Fincher: And what makes you most optimistic when you look at the work you're doing and the impact that you're having, Sean?
[00:32:23] Sean Goode: I think about - brief history lesson here for some folks who might be listening. In the 1700s in Boston, there was a smallpox outbreak and there's an enslaved African American man who had established - there was a tribal cure for smallpox, a practice. And he introduced it to his enslaver, but for five years, the people of Boston refused to listen to this cure for smallpox because it was coming from an enslaved African American, from a tribal custom, because they felt like it couldn't possibly be an answer that would come from an enslaved person. It couldn't possibly be an answer. We need the richness of our white dominant medical science to be able to solve for this. And hundreds of Bostonians died because of their failure to listen to this enslaved African American man. I find hope that as a country, over the past 300 years, that we may have evolved past the point of ignoring those who are bringing solutions from nontraditional spaces, and that we may now be at a position, 300 years later, to lean in and say, "Well, if you think you have the cure, let's go ahead and give it a shot, because quite possibly your way could save lives."
[00:33:59] Crystal Fincher: Amen. So I just thank you both for coming on this show, for sharing your experience and your journey and your wisdom, and just encourage people to continue to pay attention to Choose 180, get involved, support. And certainly at a neighborhood and community level, you can do these things where you're at, and that's actually the most powerful place you can activate and get involved. So please make sure that we don't just talk about Choose 180 and other organizations in the abstract, and this is what someone is doing over there, and this is what's possible over there. It is possible everywhere and exactly where you are. And help to be part of what makes that happen. Turn what's possible into what's happening. So with that, I just thank you once again for being here, and hope the listeners have a wonderful day.
I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcast - just type "Hacks & Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
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