As mentioned perhaps too often in past newsletters, I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time. And by this stuff, I mean being a journalist. I can’t pick the precise moment when I decided I wanted to be a journalist. But when I look back on my life, I realize now that even as a kid I tended to run towards trouble instead of away from it. The sound of a siren? I’d hop on my bike to try to find out if something was on fire or if there had been a traffic accident. Upon arrival at the local catastrophe, I’d inevitably ask a cop or a fireman what had happened. Once I got an actual job – as a 20-year-old summer intern at The Canadian Press – I thought I’d won the lottery. But then reality sank in very quickly. There was just so much I didn’t know. The best teachers were the people I worked with in various newsrooms over the years. Those lessons still continue. The newsroom at The Conversation Canada (virtual these days, but an actual physical place in the past and, we hope, soon again in the future) is different than any place I’ve worked before. Many of our editors have substantial academic credentials as well as journalism experience. Others have subject-matter expertise I could never hope to develop. I’ve learned from all of them, especially Sister Killjoy. That’s what Vinita Srivastava calls herself.

I first met Vinita in the spring of 2017, about a month before The Conversation Canada started publishing. All I knew about her was that she had an interesting background: she had taught journalism at Ryerson University and had worked at the New York Times Magazine and the Village Voice. We were talking about whether she wanted to join our nascent team. I told her one of the things I thought we should focus on were “special issues in Canada.” I meant race, reconciliation, LGBQT rights and other social issues that mainstream media doesn’t cover enough. But I couldn’t even articulate what those “special issues” were. And that’s when Vinita started asking a lot of questions. Suddenly, I was that 20-year-old kid again: I realized there was just so much I didn’t know.

Luckily, Vinita agreed to join our staff and since then, she has worked with hundreds of academics to build our unique Culture + Society section. This week, Vinita’s passion, expertise and activism moves to a different medium – our new podcast, Don’t Call Me Resilient. As our host and lead producer, Vinita has conducted a series of interviews about race and racism with people who study these serious issues – and those who are dealing with the consequences of racism in their daily lives. The series offers solutions that all of us can learn from. I would encourage everyone to give the podcast a try.

Learning sometimes means taking a walk in another person’s shoes. It means keeping your mind open to new information, even if doing so can initially be painful or uncomfortable. It means acknowledging there is a problem and making a personal commitment to being part of the solution.

We’re all very proud of this new project. And we’re especially happy that it’s in the very capable hands of Sister Killjoy (and you’ll need to listen to the trailer for the series to get an explanation for that name). Please listen to our first episode when it drops on Wednesday. We hope you’ll become a regular listener after that.

Our global network is also launching another podcast this week – The Conversation Weekly. Hosted by Gemma Ware in London and Dan Merino in San Francisco every Thursday, this podcast will offer analyses of widely reported, and perhaps misreported, news. But it will also look at some of the research and development that often isn’t given prominence by other media.

So get ready for two fantastic audio programs from The Conversation. Have a great weekend and we’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Our New Podcasts

Fists raised in solidarity for George Floyd in Charlotte, N.C. (Unsplash/Clay Banks)

‘Don’t Call Me Resilient’: A new podcast from The Conversation

Vinita Srivastava, The Conversation

Don’t Call Me Resilient is a provocative podcast about race that goes in search of solutions for those things no one should have to be resilient for.

The Conversation Weekly: a new podcast from our global network

Gemma Ware, The Conversation; Daniel Merino, The Conversation

🎧 Listen to the trailer for The Conversation Weekly, a new podcast.

Addressing issues of race

Remembering the Québec City mosque attack: Islamophobia and Canada’s national amnesia

Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University

Four years after the violent attack on worshippers at Québec City's central mosque, the federal government has said it will honour the victims with a national day of remembrance.

Bell, let’s talk about #colonialism, #racism and #ableism

Anna Sui, Western University; Erika Katzman, Western University

The annual Bell Let's Talk campaign is shaping national conversations on mental health. But the campaign materials focus on individuals rather than the role of systemic oppression.

How the Ebenezer Baptist Church has been a seat of Black power for generations in Atlanta

Jason Oliver Evans, University of Virginia

The church has played a vital role in America's civil rights struggle. It was the spiritual home to MLK, to the generations that shaped the vision of the late civil rights leader, and now to Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Harriet Tubman: Biden revives plan to put a Black woman of faith on the $20 bill

Robert Gudmestad, Colorado State University

Although millions voted to put her face on the bill in an online poll, many still don't know the story of her life and the role faith played in it.

Post-inauguration, restoring the soul of Biden’s America must be truly inclusive

Daniel McNeil, Carleton University

Joe Biden has said he wants to create a cabinet that "looks like America." But getting racialized people into powerful positions should be a means to tackle structural inequalities, not a goal in and of itself.

COVID-19 has hurt some more than others: South Africa needs policies that reflect this

Jessika Bohlmann, University of Pretoria; Helene Maisonnave, Université Le Havre Normandie; Margaret Chitiga-Mabugu, University of Pretoria; Martin Henseler, Université Le Havre Normandie; Ramos Emmanuel Mabugu, Sol Plaatje University

South Africa's economic recovery plan must focus on at least three areas: protecting vulnerable populations, supporting the vulnerable sectors and external trade diversification.