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Hello My Name is America
42 minutes | Dec 19, 2019
Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat (Pt. 4) – Dr. Keanu Sai
What is the longest running war in U.S. history? The answer might surprise you. For over 125 years, the U.S. has been in a state of war with the Hawaiian Kingdom. We continue our conversation with Dr. Keanu Sai discussing how Hawaii became America’s so-called 50th state. The U.S. backed overthrow of Hawaii’s government on January 12, 1893 triggered a state of war between the United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom, a state that continues to this day as a peace treaty has never been ratified. Two attempts to officially annex Hawaii by treaty were defeated in the U.S. Senate in large part because of overwhelming opposition to annexation by the Hawaiian people. However, support for annexation shifted in Congress in 1898 when the U.S. went to war with Spain. The Hawaiian Islands, specifically Pearl Harbor, became a highly valuable naval outpost in the Pacific campaign of the war. Congress passed a joint resolution supposedly annexing the Hawaiian Islands. The problem with this act, which paved the way to full statehood, is that congressional resolutions are domestic in authority and have no standing outside of U.S. borders. Join us for part four of our series, Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat, as we continue our journey discovering the people and events that led us to where we are today.
50 minutes | Nov 15, 2019
Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat (Pt. 3) – Dr. Keanu Sai
There is a phrase with a double meaning in Hawaiian, “ka wa ma hope,” which means to look to the future is to look at the past. When you invite a Hawaiian to look to the future, they will instinctively turn to the past. This episode is a deep dive into Hawaii’s past to answer this age-old question that has reverberated since the late 1800’s on the eight small islands in the middle of the Pacific. What is our future? We continue our journey of how Hawaii became America’s so-called 50th state this week with Dr. Keanu Sai, political scientist and professor at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Sai takes us on his personal journey into the past, sitting with his grandmother on her deathbed as she encouraged him to examine his genealogy. What this former U.S. Army veteran discovers changes him forever as he uncovers his family’s part in Hawaii’s story and the unique role he now gets to play in keeping that story and that heritage alive. Dr. Kai also takes us way behind the curtain of the story of Hawaii’s annexation, which he explains cannot be told without the story of sugar. In the later part of the 19th Century, wealthy sugar plantation owners conspired with the U.S. minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii, who shared the goal of the United State’s annexation of Hawaii. The sugar magnates wanted profits and the U.S. wanted a military base on the island called Pearl Harbor, which gave them a common enemy; the Kingdom itself, and the government upon which the Kingdom rested. Join us for part three of our series, Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat, as we learn about the people and events that led us to where we are today. Characters like Lorrin Thurston, John Stevens, King Kalakaua, Queen Lili`uokalani, the Bayonet Constitution, the Honolulu Rifles, and the landing of 160 U.S. Marines which supported the overthrow of a sovereign government to begin the march towards a falsified statehood.
46 minutes | Sep 26, 2019
Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat (Pt. 2) – Dr. Lynette Cruz
Is Hawaii our 50th state? Join us for part 2 of our series, “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat,” as we discuss how our understanding of this question underwent a total transformation while spending time in Hawaii with our guest, Lynette Cruz. We arrived assuming the Aloha state was our 50th, only to spend an evening with Lynette to learn that what we’ve believed all our lives about the state of Hawaii could not be further from the truth. We took part that evening in a reenactment of an 1897 meeting of Hawaiian residents who were part of a massive movement to oppose the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States. The dramatization is inspired by a journalist who witnessed the meeting and wrote an article in the San Francisco Call newspaper titled, “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat.” In this episode, we discuss the impact of that evening, the question of sovereignty, the unique power of the aloha spirit and the profound gift Hawaii has to offer the world. As protests at Mauna Kea continue to mount, Lynette shares with us the underlying reason for their efforts. If America is to be a beacon of freedom and liberty, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed, we believe it is time to take a serious look at the situation in Hawaii.
9 minutes | Aug 29, 2019
Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat (Pt. 1) – Introduction
A new multi-part series from Undivided Nation titled, “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat,” takes a look into how Hawaii became America’s 50th state. The title for our series comes from an 1897 newspaper article that told the vivid, firsthand account of the Hawaiian people’s opposition to annexation by the United States of America. The story of the 1893 coup d’état of the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii and Queen Liliʻuokalani by a group of local businessmen backed by the U.S. Foreign Minister and a force of 120 US Marines will leave you on the edge of your seat. Join us on this series as we uncover a largely hidden past in search of truth and justice. This series will help many non-Hawaiians understand the situation in Hawaii today, especially as it relates to the opposition to the protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
52 minutes | Jul 30, 2019
Never Call a Person Illegal
Meet Mimi Martinez, a beautiful young Tulsan by way of Honduras, who was gracious enough to join us for dinner during our time in our first stop of Oklahoma on a 50-state road trip. Mimi’s story, which she shares with us in vivid detail on this episode, will shake you to your core, as we relive her perilous journey at the tender age of ten from the small town in Honduras where she grew up, through Guatemala and the streets of Chiapas, Mexico on to arrive in her mother’s arms in Oklahoma. This episode will have your heart racing as you get a real life glimpse into immigration through the eyes of an immigrant who has changed our lives and perspective forever.
48 minutes | Jul 16, 2019
The Fight to Dream
At what point did America lose its sense of humanity and interconnectedness as human beings, regardless of what country we belong to? As our nation wrestles with the complex issue of immigration, we wanted to introduce you to Jordan, a bright and talented individual who was brought to America when he was just two years old. As he shares his immigration story and what life was like growing up as an undocumented immigrant in America, he experienced a great shift when President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Jordan is one of almost 800,000 “dreamers” who entered the U.S. as children and were given the right to work and go to school in America. Our encounter with Jordan challenged us to see immigration and more importantly, immigrants, from a human perspective.
58 minutes | Jul 8, 2019
Hierarchy of Human Value
What was the underlying belief in America that led to the theft of land from its indigenous people, the enslavement of Africans, the Trail of Tears, Jim Crow, redlining, urban renewal, and gentrification? The foundational belief throughout much of our history is this misguided idea that some people are either superior or inferior because of their external physical characteristics. As our guest Dr. Gail Christopher calls it, the fallacy of a hierarchy of human value. Although there have been amazing strides towards equality in America such as the Civil War, the 13th and 19th Amendments, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Civil Rights Act, these actions were dealing with the symptoms and consequences of our underlying problem. Dr. Christopher challenges us to abandon the belief in this hierarchy and replace it with a felt sense of our sacred interconnectedness as a human family.
59 minutes | Jun 30, 2019
Closet Conversations Vol. 2
Erin and David welcome you into their closet in this first installment of Closet Conversations, for an intimate discussion on the highly sensitive information covered in the first nine episodes of HELLO MY NAME IS AMERICA. Sharing from the most vulnerable, painful and beautiful moments of their own journey, Erin and David walk listeners through their 50-state learning process, highlighting how the stories on this podcast have marked their lives. They also discuss the outright infuriating moments that challenged their paradigms and rearranged their understanding of everything from our American heroes to our holidays. Don’t miss this “first” of the Leaverton’s Closet Conversations, an opportunity to authentically process and an invitation to take a peak at the world through someone else’s lens.
26 minutes | Jun 23, 2019
Rediscovering America – Part 2
“Do we really want to be a nation where ‘We the People,’ for the very first time, actually means all the people?” This is the challenging question Mark Charles, Navajo speaker, writer, and historian, poses to us as we continue our conversation with him in this thought-provoking two-part series, Rediscovering America. In light of our upcoming celebration of our American independence, we wrestle with this idea of American greatness. Is America great? Has America always been great? Has American ever been great? Mark dives in with us on this question as he shares his perspective on immigration from his profound perspective as a Native American.
56 minutes | Jun 17, 2019
Rediscovering America – Part 1
“There is a history beyond what my history books tell me,” says Mark Charles, Navajo speaker, writer and historian. This narrative missing from the “told” American story is one that Mark embodies. It is a fresh perspective that we desperately need in America, but it is a hard reality to face. Can we challenge ourselves to hear this perspective and find a shared American truth? Join us as we discuss the foundations upon which America was built, including the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, and the genocide of America’s native people. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked for a true peace, which as he put it, requires tension. Today’s conversation is an opportunity to embrace that tension in hopes of gaining a more complete understanding of who we are and who we could become. Follow Undivided Nation: Twitter @UndivNation Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UndividedNation.US/ Follow Mark Charles on Twitter @wirelesshogan
73 minutes | Jun 3, 2019
A View Through the Native Lens
Get ready for a mind shift this week as we chat with our friend J.D. Colbert, a member of the Muskogee Creek Nation, as he brings some vital and necessary truths to address the root causes of our deep divisions. On this episode, we cover the dark and disturbing history between our federal government and the native peoples of this land, touching on topics like the guardianship program, boarding schools, the grand theft scheme of federal land allotments, and even the ways in which our founding documents refer to our native brothers and sisters. J.D. invites us to consider the impending racial and cultural shift taking place in America, and explore what that means for the future of “whiteness” in this country.
48 minutes | May 27, 2019
A Fork in the Road
Ever wondered how our democracy will survive if we continue on this path of self-destruction? If so, you won’t want to miss this discussion with Mark Gerzon, author and President of Mediators Foundation, as he shares with us why the engine of democracy is breaking down, and what he believes we could do to fix it. In a powerful conversation, Mark sheds light on the splendor of our complexity, highlighting that no American can be summed up as simply red or blue. He explains our desperate need to get outside our comfort zone and learn from people who are different than we are. We also discuss the incredible gift millennials are to democracy, because their appetite for innovation could be a key to our successful reinventing of democracy.
31 minutes | May 19, 2019
Closet Conversations Vol. 1: A Fire in My Heart
David takes us into his own personal discovery of what unity is NOT in America as he dives deeper into the real reasons we are so deeply divided as a nation. In this solo episode, David shares his heart for why we need to catch a vision for a pathway forward, but to do so, we must be willing to go back and find out how the trust was broken, walking through America’s foundations to understand how we got here. He recounts his own difficult journey of disappointment as he discovered that America was built and continues to thrive on a false hierarchy of human value, and challenges our white brothers and sisters to join him as he and Erin explore how to dismantle that hierarchy in each of our hearts so we can discover who we really are as individuals and as a nation.
49 minutes | May 14, 2019
A Threat to the White Power Structure
How well do you know the story of the Little Rock Nine? Take a journey with us back to 1957 as we speak to Randy Dotson, a Park Ranger at Little Rock Central High School, the place where nine African-American children stood against the separate but equal doctrine. This week marks the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education case, which found that school segregation was unconstitutional. “Our being there was a direct affront to white supremacy,” said Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine students. What can we learn from this situation as the number of highly segregated schools, defined by zero to 10 percent white enrollment, has more than tripled in the past 30 years? Erin also shares about coming to terms with her own racism and implicit bias against black people and a discussion ensues about how we can connect with the racism hiding in our hearts through empathy.
57 minutes | Apr 24, 2019
The Great Exchange
It is with great excitement that we introduce our friend, Mechelle Brown, Program Coordinator at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, OK. We entered into Mechelle’s office on the first week of our 50-state journey, believing that race in America was, for the most part, a problem of the past. During our time with Mechelle, we experienced a deep heart transformation that we are excited to talk about on this episode, as we walk back through that conversation with Mechelle, and allow her to share the story that changed our lives. During our chat, Mechelle also fills our listeners in on the efforts underway to preserve the story of Tulsa’s Greenwood district, once known as Black Wall Street, the wealthiest black-owned business district in the country until it was burned to the ground by Tulsa’s white community in the summer of 1921. We discuss the details of what happened that fateful day, as well as what Mechelle sees as the pathway to racial healing and transformation for the city. This encounter is a deep well of heart-felt exchange, as she gives us her story and we give her our genuine longing to understand. Please let us know how this episode impacts you. We are excited to hear if this episode encourages you on your own journey of asking “why”. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to subscribe to our podcast, and thank you for listening!
52 minutes | Apr 24, 2019
Tough Love in Tulsa
Chatting with our mentor and friend, Michelle Place. As Director or the Tulsa Historical Society, Michelle Place serves as a convergence point for the city. She works to illuminate the fullness of Tulsa’s vibrant history, including its darker, racist past, which many Tulsans, both black and white, have sought to forget. Michelle was the first person we met on our 50-state journey. Her unique role as a preservationist of stories, including that of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, has allowed her to bring these stories to light for many, including us. Michelle shares how her unconventional southern upbringing shaped her to do the work she is doing today, and fills in our listeners on some of the lesser-known impacts of policies like integration. We discuss Michelle’s “tough love” as we recap with her our introduction to phrases like “the winners write the history” and “white privilege”. Please take a moment to share your feedback, comments and questions. And if you like what you hear, please take a moment to subscribe to our podcast, and thank you for listening!
47 minutes | Apr 24, 2019
Introducing: Hello My Name is America
The right question posed at the right time has the power to totally rearrange one’s life. At least this was the case for us. Join us on episode number one, as we retell the story of the day a single question did just that, and served as the catalyst for what would become a journey for our family to live in all 50 states over the course of one year, learning about the root causes of division and searching for the keys that could help us heal America’s deep divides. David shares about his background in politics, working as a republican political operative until he came to the realization that his work was driving a wedge between communities and families by stirring up fear and hate through his campaigning efforts. Erin and David share about the day they met their oldest daughter, Grace, and how their experience as parents to a child with special needs incited their hunger to look for a new lens through which to view the world. They share how it was Grace who awakened them, and inspired them to embark on this learning journey. Erin recounts the day she posed a question to David that changed the course of their lives, and then proceeds to walk listeners through the painful process of walking away from the American dream she and David had built, in exchange for a radically new one, living on an RV and investing in a dream to understand the root causes of division in America with the desire to then uncover the solutions we need to heal our divisions. The couple closes with a summary of what listeners can expect in the coming episodes, highlighting many of the themes and topics that will be discussed as they introduce guests on the show from all over the country, representing a vast array of backgrounds, religions, races, political leanings and lived experiences. Through this podcast, they couple shares their dream to provide a space to cultivate a common memory between those they are hosting on the show each week, and their listeners.
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