Welcome to Crazy and the King!!
Jan. 13, 2022

#MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy

#MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy

CDC Director says WHAT?!?


CDC Director says WHAT?!? This week Julie and Torin catch up on vaccine mandates, ADHD at the car the dealership, and why the CDC Director is under fire for her "encouraging words""

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Cred:

Production and Music: DJ Cellz

Image by VisionPics

Thank you to our sponsors and to the team at Evergreen!

Interested in sponsoring Crazy and the King? Contact us today! Email us at CATK@CrazyandtheKing.com

JobVite: Learn more at www.jobvite.com/catk

TalVista: Learn more at TalVista CATK

Prepare yourself for Crazy and the King!

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrazyAndTheKing

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crazyandtheking/

More on Torin and Julie:

Julie: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliesowashdisabilitysolutions

Torin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/torinellis

Cred:

Production and Music: DJ Cellz

Transcript

[music]

0:00:01.0 Announcer: We've been about this work: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging. Shared through the voices of a white woman and a black man we bring lived experiences. We have pursued D&I progress for most of our professional lives. We use Crazy and the King to cover news, tips from colleagues and hosts, incredible guests. Listeners, count on Julie and I to transparently drive the conversation. We thank you for rocking with us. Check it. Julie, kick off the show.

0:00:36.3 Julie: Welcome, welcome, welcome to Crazy and the King 2022 and season number four.

0:00:48.0 Torin: Four, season number four. Let me tell you can you hear... Can you hear that right there?

0:00:51.9 Julie: I can.

0:00:53.5 Torin: I don't know if our listeners can hear that, but for those of you who are not watching or able to watch because we haven't decided yet if we're gonna do video. I mean we got a little bit of housekeeping that we need to take care of on our side, don't judge us. I don't need any judgement. Julie and I will tell you, we got some dirty laundry that we need to take care of. That's one of them. That's one of them things that's been a carry-over from 2021, but I am so absolutely glad to see my pod partner's face and to be in season number four, but that rubbing of hands is not necessarily money, J. I'm just excited about what's in store. I'm curious, did you set any holiday... And to that point, how were your holidays and did you set any New Year resolution, specifically for Crazy and the King?

0:01:48.4 Julie: So my holidays were amazing, I got to see my kiddo in Budapest so I got to spend a lot of time with my family, and it was wonderful. So thank you for asking. New year's resolution for Crazy and the King is really just to continue to grow in the way that we did last year, which was fantastic. I was so happy with sort of how the show sort of matured even next year or last year, and I think the thing that I need to work on in my resolution is to just spend as much time promoting Crazy and the King and the stories that we're talking about, so that our audience continues to grow and that we continue to get our voices out there because everything I hear, every listener that I get a review from, or conversation from is we need more, and so I'm just riding on that high and really looking forward to investing some more time with you.

0:02:40.1 Torin: I feel like for me, holidays were incredible, spent the last two weeks of the year off the grid for the most part. The very last week of the year, I think I took less than 10 phone calls. One of them I spent with you. But less than 10 phone calls, I think I did one Zoom meeting, maybe two. It was really the easiest last week of a year, in the last, I would say five, maybe even seven years, because for years before that just grinding because this whole diversity and inclusion space, it had no letup period. And for me, if I could be honest, the years were just alright, so there was never a moment where I just felt like, yo, we knocked it out of the park, I can kick back and put my feet up, and so for every single year for the last six, seven years, I just felt like I had to grind the entire time, but what does that do? That throws off the equilibrium of mental health, it throws off the equilibrium of physical health, it throws off your cadence with the family. It just does so much to you and I'm certainly not trying to have a swan song, if you will, or a violin play, but the truth of the matter is, it was just good this year to get off the grid totally, the last week of the year.

0:04:09.6 Torin: That doesn't suggest that I haven't taken vacations and other things like that, but this last year, I'm sorry, this last week, first time that I've ever totally unplugged last week of the year. My resolution, I absolutely want to take the handcuffs off. I felt like over the last three years, more specific in the first two years, a little less last year, but I felt like we had to only talk about D&I, so I was racking my head to try to find stories. You were focused in concentrating on D&I-related stories, and what I began to realize last year, midway through the year, but we need to bring some of the other dimensions of who we are into the conversation. We need to bring some of the other layers, the intersections of who we are into the conversation, and that means that we have some different interests. For instance, we're gonna work on our logo, and I will tell you one of the logo designers that I reached out to was in Portugal, but unfortunately, I couldn't rock with him because I just didn't feel like in the end, they would give us what we wanted, but I wanted to surprise you.

0:05:25.5 Torin: Now, if we were rocking with them, I wouldn't have told the story, but that's a dimension that I know is important to you. Something else is fun, a little fun side note, and I'm gonna still do it, I just gotta figure out how to do it. I belong to this thing called nakedwines.com.

0:05:43.0 Julie: Oh, yeah, I know them, yeah.

0:05:44.9 Torin: They had a holiday bottle, a 1.5-litre bottle of wine from Portugal that I wanted to surprise you with, and then when I went to order it, it was out of stock.

0:05:57.7 Julie: Oh, Portugal has some mean wine, I mean, some good wine, good, good wine. And I think I was proud of us too, in terms of, we really needed to take those few weeks off and we got our act together, I think you and I are both so busy that kind of getting everything prioritized ahead of time is always hard, but we took off that last six weeks and it just gave us some time to rest, to reflect. We had some amazing interviews that I am so proud of and will continue to push listeners to this year because they were phenomenal. Kim Rice still sits with me as a great conversation we had last year at the end of the year.

0:06:41.6 Torin: Yeah, and again, that just speaks to the dimension. She's in art. But she's in art impacting and speaking on subject matter that is critical, it's central to conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. But again, two years ago, would have never reached out to Kim to be a guest on the show. Not that she wasn't worthy, I didn't feel like I have permission. I didn't feel like the audience wanted that. And what you have shared with me from feedback and from algorithm and numbers, they want more of that, and so, we absolutely endeavor to do our best to bring you awesome guests this year, more guests this year, more interviews, more conversation. So, sit tight, put your seatbelt on, it is show number one of season number four, and we are excited and happy to be back. What we got to kick it off this week?

0:07:36.0 Julie: So I think just a quick note of historical importance. This recording is actually coming live on the one year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. I don't think you and I are gonna spend much time talking about it, but I think it's a good level set for the year to know that this has been one year and a lot of things have changed and a lot of things haven't changed, and we need to continue to focus on being better humans and the way that we treat each other.

0:08:04.7 Torin: Absolutely, and I wanna see the Attorney General and everyone else do their job, like step up and prosecute these individuals. I'm tired of seeing folks like this get away with crimes, crimes that they've committed. And so, if we know who those individuals are, I wanna see them fully prosecuted. I don't know what fully prosecuted looks like, whether it be six days, six hours of community service, six days in jail, six months in jail, something longer, but I wanna see people prosecuted. I don't wanna see them tap dancing around, playing Hula Hoop and jump skip rope and all that other that stuff. You know, hide go seek, and all. You remember them games we used to play when we were kids. [chuckle] None of that.

0:08:46.0 Julie: Yeah.

0:08:46.1 Torin: Did you play that when you were growing up, hide and seek?

0:08:46.8 Julie: Oh, God, yeah, I was...

0:08:48.5 Torin: That was one of my favorite ones.

0:08:48.9 Julie: I was a master of hide and seek. And actually, that reminds me, one thing I meant to mention to you over the break is, I listen to a podcast called American Radical.

0:09:00.3 Torin: Okay.

0:09:00.5 Julie: And it's put on by MSNBC, it's only five episodes, and you and I talked a lot about QAnon and radicalization over the last, what? 18 months probably. And this tells the story very quickly of a young woman who was radicalized and subsequently died at the January 6th insurrection, and it is absolutely worth a listen. American Radical, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast, check it out. It's worth listening.

0:09:28.1 Torin: Actually, you know what, I'm so glad you brought that up, because I thought... I was telling someone about that, American Radical. I thought that that was going to be like on Hulu or Netflix. So you're saying it's a podcast?

0:09:39.7 Julie: Yeah, that one is a podcast, there's also one that's on NPR or at PBS or something like that, that's called American Insurrection.

0:09:49.5 Torin: Okay.

0:09:49.6 Julie: That one is coming out this week as well, so I haven't watched that, but I will. This one, Ayman Mohyeldin is the host. It's a really compelling story and brings us back to sort of that humanity and understanding how people are radicalized.

0:10:08.4 Torin: Got it. Alright, so listen, let's get to the getting.

0:10:10.9 Julie: Yeah.

0:10:11.5 Torin: How many Black friends do you have?

0:10:14.3 Julie: Do I get to count you?

[chuckle]

0:10:15.9 Torin: Absolutely. Listen, you better count me. I mean, damn.

[laughter]

0:10:21.9 Julie: I know, it was supposed to be a joke, you took it so seriously.

0:10:24.0 Torin: I know, you better, you better. [laughter] And you know why I took this seriously? And it's funny, you recognized that, but you're right, I did kinda switch to like the serious mode, because it is supposed to be a joke, like leading us into our story, but it just... It annoys me when I hear people count their friends, whoever that is. You know, whether they're saying, well, I have three gay friends, or I have four lesbian friends, or I know two people with the disability. And trust me, I'm not uber critical, but in the context of how it's said, more often than not, it annoys me. But let's go back to it.

0:11:09.0 Julie: Yes.

0:11:10.1 Torin: How many Black friends do you have?

0:11:12.9 Julie: I would say I have, I don't know, at least a dozen off the top of my head, probably more.

0:11:16.2 Torin: Okay. Okay.

0:11:18.2 Julie: Yeah, so, you know, I don't know. That's not how many.

0:11:20.2 Torin: Alright, at least a dozen. Patricia Morgan, she has one.

[laughter]

0:11:29.9 Julie: One, oh good, I can't wait to hear from her.

0:11:32.8 Torin: Well, I mean, you know, according to her, she had one.

0:11:38.8 Julie: Oh, now she has zero.

[chuckle]

0:11:42.0 Torin: Well, she's a minority leader in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. She's a white woman, and she put up a tweet during that last week while we both had our feet up, and her tweet reads, "I had a Black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me too. But now she is hostile and unpleasant." I know for some of you, you're like, "Torin, why are you going back to 2021?" 'Cause this was a highlight for me, like, how do you end the year and ignore this foolishness right here? She says, "But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn't do anything to her except be white." Is that what teachers and our political leaders really want for our society, divide us because of our skin color? And then she #CRT for those that are new to Crazy and the King, #CRT is short for critical race theory. That was her tweet J.

[chuckle]

0:12:49.0 Julie: You always know if a white person starts a statement with, I know Black people, or I have a black friend, what's coming is not gonna work out in their favor.

0:13:00.1 Torin: I know.

0:13:00.6 Julie: And Patricia Morgan is also the sponsor of some legislation in the Rhode Island House to ban Critical Race Theory, and I'm using my air quotes because you can't see me, but what they don't mean is critical race theory, what they mean is accurate American history. When they're talking about critical race theory, and so she gets a response, tell us about her response.

0:13:24.5 Torin: Yeah, so she got a response from Tiara Mack, and Tiara Mack is also in district six, she's in the House of Representatives. She's a Senator in the House of Representatives, and so she actually tweeted and she retweeted Patricia Morgan and she says, "LOL it me." I think she probably meant to say it's me, I'm the Black friend, and then she's got like the squiggly face. I guess you call it an emoji. Is that an emoji? A squiggly face emoji.

0:13:55.9 Julie: Yeah, yeah.

0:13:58.3 Torin: So she says, basically Tiara Mack, she says, "It's me, I'm the one black friend that she had," and here's what's really interesting. All of this resulted in, or I think this resulted in according to Tiara Mack, it resulted... It came about because Tiara Mack actually put out a tweet in reference to student loan repayments, and they're right now on a hiatus in terms of not having to pay or repay their student loans, but when she put her tweet out, president Biden had announced that they're going to push it out to like May 1st. I think the day she put her tweet out, the next day, people were supposed to restart their student loan payments, and she sent out a tweet saying something to the effect of, I'm not going to re-pay my student loan, and that sent... Well, that sent Patrician Morgan like over the moon, she actually tweeted Tiara Mack. Go ahead, I'm sorry.

0:15:04.3 Julie: Yeah, and when she says, the tweet just simply says, I won't be restarting payments, doesn't say she's gonna seek forbearance. Doesn't seek forgiveness. It simply says that, right? And Patricia Morgan said, "The arrogance is stunning and disgusting," and thus we set across then on this little Twitter battle that we have here.

0:15:27.4 Torin: Yeah, arrogant and disgusting.

0:15:31.5 Julie: So strong words.

0:15:31.6 Torin: I just wonder how many... Yeah, they're very strong words because I just want our listeners to think about how many times have you been in a situation, pandemic or otherwise, how many times have you been in a situation where money was tight for you, where you know you have an obligation, but you can't meet that obligation for whatever the reason is, and in this particular case, let's say, a responsible reason, because given what we see on Twitter we'll only go by what we see. I don't know how Tiara Mack is with her finances, I don't know her on a personal level, so I can't say that she is good or bad with money, I'm just going by she's in the House of Representatives, so we've got to trust that she has some degree of responsibility acumen, and all of that. She's not paying for whatever reason, whether she can afford it, money is tight right now, taking care of a parent, whatever the reason. And for her to be categorized as being arrogant, and what was the other word she said?

0:16:37.3 Julie: Disgusting.

0:16:41.4 Torin: Disgusting. So you run through Patricia Morgan's Twitter file. Did she use those words to characterize any one or anything else?

0:16:53.7 Julie: No, not that I saw.

0:16:55.7 Torin: No. No. And I went back, I didn't go all the way back a year, but I scrolled through her Twitter feed for close to six months. A lot has happened in the last six months of the year. Not once did she use the words arrogant and disgusting, and for that reason, I'm so glad that Tiara Mack put her on blast, I'm so glad that her tweet went viral. It reminds me of a tweet that came out just a couple of days ago, some guy here in Washington DC, I don't know if you saw that after the snow, folks got stuck on freeways, highways for several hours.

0:17:33.7 Julie: Oh, yeah.

0:17:37.0 Torin: For several hours. This bright guy, he says, "Apparently DC," and I'm paraphrasing, "Apparently DC government approves or supports BLM, but doesn't support people trying to get to work or drive in on highways." How do you put those two in the same sentence?

0:17:56.3 Julie: You shouldn't. You shouldn't.

0:18:00.6 Torin: You shouldn't. You shouldn't. And that's why Patricia Morgan's tweet went viral, she's been blasted. And I hope that she's one of those individuals that eventually says, I gotta do a far better job of being responsible of how I am leveraging these social media platforms, or else she may end up like some other folks we know who have been banned. You understand what I'm saying?

0:18:22.0 Julie: Oh, I understand what you're saying, and I'm here for it. So we also, this week have... Well, just late last week, Riot Games settled a $100 million lawsuit for under-promoting and under-hiring women throughout their organization.

0:18:40.3 Torin: And how do you feel about that? Would you see a number? $100 million. What's the first thing that comes to Julie's mind? Like what do you... Is there an emotion attached to that, like how do you feel?

0:18:54.6 Julie: So I always wanna know that it's real because sometimes, depending on how a suit works, like an EEOC claim, the maximum that a company actually has to pay out is much, much smaller than what the settlement is, what the jury awards to a company. So that's always my first thing, is, is this really $100 million or is it really just a headline? The second piece is, does that $100 million make an impact? Is it enough to create change within those organizations or is it like me pulling a dollar out of my couch cushion?

0:19:26.9 Torin: Got you. Yeah, you know what? That piece around how the settlement or the suit is structured, something I never knew. I'd always asked myself when organizations are fined incredible amounts of money and that money has to go back to a governmental agency, I always used to ask myself and still do, well, what good is that to us?

0:19:48.3 Julie: Right.

0:19:49.8 Torin: The SEC is getting the money, what good of that trickles down to us? So you raised a very, very good point. I wonder if I can... Maybe I'll do a little research to see if we can find that out, but speaking of women and Riot Games and suits and trouble, Elizabeth Holmes.

0:20:11.3 Julie: So I wanna pause here and ask if you recall that you and I have a $50-bet on Elizabeth Holmes.

0:20:16.3 Torin: Oh lord, have mercy.

0:20:22.4 Julie: I've been watching this stinking trial for like 15 weeks and...

0:20:26.8 Torin: Please tell me, I forgot all about our bet, oh my goodness. So wait a minute, wait a minute. I know you're gonna break the news in front of everyone, I totally forgot about the bet, so I am going to shut up and give the microphone to you. I am dying to see where this goes.

0:20:44.8 Julie: Okay, so we bet and I bet it was at least three months ago, at least, that I would pay you $50 if Elizabeth Holmes actually goes to jail, and you will pay me if she does not go to jail. And so the likelihood is I'm going to lose this bet, I'll stand there. We'll know in the next few weeks, but she has now been convicted of at least four counts of which carry sentences of up to 20 years apiece. Now, she's a white woman in Silicon Valley, we know she's not going to jail for 20 years each. But we are...

0:21:27.1 Torin: With no record, no record. She's got a clean record, okay.

0:21:30.6 Julie: No record. And we are going towards that hurdling of our worlds in this $50-bet.

0:21:36.5 Torin: So you know what's really funny? I totally forgot about our bet, and the reason I added the story, one, is because it allowed me to kind of escape from Riot Games right to her from a gender standpoint. And again, I was going to say, initially, that she shouldn't go to jail, that was my initial position. I didn't feel like she needed to go to jail because she defrauded people out of money, the bottom line is, and when I say defrauded, listen, VCs bet on companies every day, all day, every day. So I was kind of responding, J, under that framework, under that supposition. They made the investment, they should have vetted her better. They continued to pour money in, she shouldn't go to jail. Here's where I changed my thought. My thought was changed as I went back and did a little research, I forgot one of her employees committed suicide. And so the...

0:22:47.2 Julie: Yeah, I didn't know this until you told me.

0:22:49.7 Torin: And so the question becomes, now, do you take that into consideration? Do you take into consideration that somebody actually felt that strong about what the company was not doing, their culpability in those acts or endeavor, whatever, and they took their life, should she be responsible for that?

0:23:19.6 Julie: And I think there's a lot of key points here, right? So Theranos, in case you don't know, was basically a, I'll say, lab company, but they did diagnostic tests, and what they pitched was like sort of the most amazing profound kind of advancement of being able to do an at-home blood prick and get tested for cancer, fetal development issues, any kind of sort of life-threatening condition that can be detected via blood work could be done here. Now, it was definitely one of those fake it till you make it startups. It got a bunch of money, it got a bunch of support from legislators and state governments, and it failed, right? And what she, I think, is more being held accountable for, is that investment, right? I think unlike men who have lost a lot of money in Silicon Valley, who have faked it till they made it and lost that VC, as a woman, I feel like there is some misogyny in it that she's being punished versus a man in the same situation.

0:24:33.2 Julie: However, what you're talking about is a British biochemist who committed suicide and then she sent threatening letters to his wife about not talking about what she knew, all of those things. Those to me, are the criminal actions. When somebody commits suicide, when someone threatens another person to not be a whistleblower, those are the things that I think she should be held accountable for rather than losing some VC.

0:25:04.3 Torin: Yeah, and to my knowledge, those were not considerations.

0:25:09.2 Julie: Right.

0:25:09.6 Torin: In the 11 charges that she had, the charges that I saw were all around money mismanagement, defrauding investors, financial mismanagement, those things, defrauding the public, if I'm not mistaken, something like that. Again, don't quote me on the language, but I don't recall anything around that. And that to me is the most serious part, and you are so absolutely right. Misogyny, while it's not in the docket, it most certainly is in the atmosphere.

0:25:45.3 Julie: Yeah, yeah, and one other thing that kind of just sort of blew me away, and again, I have a very high level knowledge, so someone can yell at me for this if I get it wrong, but she was also in a 10-year relationship with her COO, and during the trial, she said that that was an abusive, an emotionally, physically abusive relationship, and that really should go into the consideration of her behavior or her culpability. So you kind of have it both ways, you have that misogyny that's happening because we're holding a woman responsible where we wouldn't normally hold a woman responsible, and then on the other side, you have a woman using a long-term relationship potentially as a sympathy or an empathy play, when I don't know that it really drove her decision-making when she was a CEO and he was a subordinate. I could be wrong, that's all I'll say on it.

0:26:38.1 Torin: Yeah, no, I agree with you 1000%, trying to have it both ways. And we've seen that play out in a number of cases over the last couple of months. We won't call them into question, but I'm thinking of two very specific ones, and we've seen it over and over and over again, so you're absolutely right, and that's fair observation on your side. So $50 bet, $100 bet, whatever it is.

0:27:00.0 Julie: $50.

0:27:02.4 Torin: Yep, whatever it is, we'll be watching. She'll be sentenced over the next seven days or so, so by the time we drop the next pod, maybe we'll have an update on where it stands. But we also got an update on BlackBerry.

0:27:13.8 Julie: Yes. So just again, historical note, it's an end of an era. This week, your BlackBerry, CrackBerry, whatever you called it, the very first cool smartphone, at least I ever had, is dead. It is no longer being supported and is now non-functional according to Blackberry, starting November 4th.

0:27:34.5 Torin: And there you have it.

0:27:35.5 Julie: Or January 4th. [chuckle]

0:27:36.5 Torin: January 4th, there you go, and there you have it. Our stories, as we kick off, Episode One of season number four, quick commercial break and we'll be right back.

0:7:49.8 Julie: Alright. So welcome back, welcome back. Just got one story this week on the main point, and I think it's a fantastic story, well worth a lot of conversation in 2022 as we think about the broader impact of racism in our world. Fill us in.

0:28:10.9 Torin: Yeah, so I found the story over on HuffPost, and the story hit me in that final week of 2021, and I gotta tell you, J, it really was a hard read. And for those of you wondering why it was a hard read, first and foremost, the story is titled, When a prison sentence of 10 years and six months turns into forever. That's the story, we'll make sure we put the link in the story notes. But the question that I have, and this is the reason why it hit, it hit me because we've all fallen victim to fate or to timing. I won't go into the story, but I remember vividly being pulled over because the police thought that I killed a police officer. This story hit me heavy because I know what it's like to be in the scenario of wrong person, wrong place, wrong time. And this guy originally got a 10-year prison sentence, 10 years and six months, and ended up spending more than 50 years in... He's now 73 years old, he spent 70% of his life in prison. His name is Leroy Grippen. And let me just summarize it real quick, it's real simple.

0:29:39.8 Torin: Leroy is in New Orleans. I'm sorry, Louisiana. Let me just say Louisiana. Leroy is a black man dating a white girl, because he was a young man at the time, young lady. And the family said there's absolutely no way that our daughter is going to be dating or having sexual relations with a black man. And the mother contacted the police department, knew some folks who knew some folks, and went out, and in short, charged the dude with rape.

0:30:22.1 Julie: Yes. And so 1970, he has a lawyer that says, "Hey, if you go to trial... "

0:30:31.4 Torin: Public defender.

0:30:32.7 Julie: "You're gonna get an all-white jury, and by the way, we have electrocution here in the State of Louisiana, accept a life sentence." And I think this is the really piece of the story that caught me. Accept a life sentence, because in Louisiana, a life sentence in 1970 is basically 10 and a half years, and that was enshrined into law, it was practiced and put into place in Angola where he actually spent his incarceration period rather than face electrocution. So at the age of 23, he did what his lawyer told him to, he took a plea deal, went to Angola, which if you don't know about Angola, there's lots of documentaries you should find out there. With the assumption that he was going to get his life back sometime in the summer of 1981. And life... Go ahead.

0:31:26.5 Torin: Go ahead, I'm sorry... No, go ahead, I'm sorry.

0:31:27.9 Julie: So the law changed, 10 and a half years gave way to tough on crimes, tough on drugs, what the hell ever in the 1980s, and those became life sentences. In fact, the article goes on to say they don't know how many of the 10 sixers, which is what they call them, actually died in jail waiting to have their sentences commuted because they were sentenced under a different law, and never were.

0:31:56.9 Torin: Yeah, so pause, just putting a little context around it. So Julie's got it absolutely right. This really was enshrined back in the 1920s, and so most people, once again, if you were sitting in a court room, if you were facing some long sentence, if you will, and they said life, life is what it's going to be. You have that as an option over death. Now, I want you to think about this for a moment, as a listener, you are faced with, "Do I cop a plea and go with life, or do I go to trial, all-white jury accusing me of rape," I want you to think Emmett Till, and I can go down a list of others, but I want you to think all-white jury, public defender. I'm more than likely going to be convicted, and my conviction for rape is the electric chair. Not murder, my conviction for rape is the electric chair.

0:33:01.4 Julie: And I think it's easy for people to not have empathy for people who go to jail, and that's why I think it's important for us to point out to our listeners, one, that the color of law benefits white people, not indiscriminately, it disparately impacts black men. And that we know of exonerations, one of the highest categories for wrongful conviction is inadequate legal defense, false confession and false or misleading witness identification. So if we know that someone is sentenced under a law, it would be our expectation that that law would apply to them and that would be honored. Well, that's not the case in this specific project. And when we see that people are getting exonerated and the vast majority of those individuals that are being exonerated are black men, even though they're not the majority of the crime committers in this country, that, I hope spurs some additional thought about how the system functions, versus that, "Yeah, but he did something wrong," or, "Yeah, but we'll never know the whole situation." And instead, think that a man has spent his entire life in jail because a system and the guidance he received and the fairness of his due process was not there, and that it could be entirely different.

0:34:43.3 Torin: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Let me tell you, halfway down in the story, it says by the time Grippen got to Angola, observers were describing conditions that, "Shocked the conscious of any right-thinking person and flagrantly violate basic constitutional requirements." That was written by a judge, not a news reporter, not some activist, some community activist, not a pastor or a politician, it was a judge who said that any right-thinking person, it would shock your conscious. These are the conditions in Angola. We're talking about an individual who was in a consensual relationship, just because it was an interracial relationship, and the mother didn't approve, the white woman did not approve of her daughter dating a black man, this cat, young dude, is now experiencing and facing something that results in him being forgotten about.

0:35:45.9 Torin: Because what the story talks about is in 1972, when the Supreme Court changed the ruling, because they were trying to get tough on crime and they were putting pause on the death sentence, well, legislators in Louisiana were like, "Look, well, if we can't kill you... " I mean, I'm just giving it to you straight. "If we can't kill you, then we're gonna do everything that we can to keep you behind bars for as long as we possibly can." And basically, he was totally forgotten about. He along with others. And why did he get out? Why did he get out? Because a white man went to prison for rape or something of the sort, they became friends, the white man was under the same rule, that 10-6 rule, and the white man got out before Leroy did. And the white man said, "You know what? I'm gonna start a non-profit and I'm going to fight to get people like Leroy and others who are now languishing in prison, I'm gonna fight and work to get them out." And he even says in the story, "I went to prison after him, and I got out before him." And I read another article, and he says, "It's hard to even think that race didn't have something to do with that."

0:37:04.4 Julie: And the highcourt.com actually has 33 facts about exoneration and wrongful conviction, and also states that black men spend on average three more years in jail awaiting exoneration, than white men in the same situation.

0:37:24.6 Torin: So I just think that it's extremely important as we start the year that we recalibrate our empathy meter, that we change the frequency we have with articles, with happenings, with news events, with situations that are in our communities, in our regions, in our states, our territories. I want us to really, really work hard at having a different relationship when we encounter these... Don't just quickly jump to a conclusion, don't just quickly brush it off and sweep it up under the rug or make it a non-issue because it doesn't directly impact you. I think what COVID and the pandemic in the last 18 to 24 months, certainly longer, but definitely the last 18 or so months, what it has shown us is that, A, we need to find a reason to pause a bit more, and B, we need to make some of the things matter more. This is one of those things that keeps me grounded, this is one of those stories that reminds me of why I do the work that I do.

0:38:45.5 Torin: Yeah, it's great to optimize corporate D&I strategy or to do the pod with J, it's great to know that a couple more people got hired at high six-figure jobs, all of that is wonderful, but it's stories like this, like I think about Leroy and I wonder, this cat, no family, no friends, how does he put a life in place now, having spent more than 50 years behind bars. And in the story, he's standing next to a bicycle, because I'm sure he knows... He went to prison in his teens. So how do you start a new life? The story doesn't say anything about giving him any money, helping him to get started. How do you rebuild? Not rebuild, how do you build at 73?

0:39:42.3 Julie: And the answer is, you likely don't, which is why so many men end up back in prison, because they don't have the infrastructure, support, or knowledge to start a life at that age or after a long-term incarceration.

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0:40:00.3 Julie: What an amazing story to kick off our first episode of the year. I thank you for finding it, and wanna spend just a little bit of time on Her Voice: Amplifying women making moves. Who's our first woman of the year?

0:40:14.3 Torin: Well, it would be Attorney Genie Harrison, and Genie Harrison, Genie with a G, G-E-N-I-E, she's on Twitter @GHLawFirm. She is the attorney, the lead attorney in the Riot Games lawsuit, and what I appreciated is how she talks about just making sure that you amplify your voice. One of the individuals from the lawsuit says, "In the battle for equality, announcing one's truth is the singularity that changes everything." This was said by Gabriella Downey, she was one of the class representatives in the lawsuit, she says, "It takes bravery to come forward with a loud message about oppression and pain, but the right people hear it and will help." And I am so glad that Genie and her firm, the Genie Harrison Law Firm, her co-counsel Joseph M. Lovretovich, and Nicholas Sarris. I'm so glad that the three of them and perhaps others took on the case of those women at Riot Games, so she is our feature and highlight in the Her Voice segment. And again, this is a segment that you as a listener, and there's somebody out there that's listening, you as a listener, you work for an organization, this is one of the things that Julie and I, we wanna build up this year, so we'd love for your organization to sponsor our Her Voice segment, so we can spend some time, we'll take a little bit of time away from other aspects of the pod, but we wanna spend some time really amplifying women. What's our quote this week?

0:41:55.6 Julie: "So there was a vision about transparency that I believed in, and my team had come to believe in, that it was clear, we wouldn't be able to pursue inside Facebook as much as we had in the past." This is from Brandon Silverman, co-founder of CrowdTangle, a company acquired by Facebook in 2017. He is now working with Congress to craft legislation about real-time transparency on social media sites. A huge story for 2022.

0:42:26.0 Torin: Awesome, and a quick mention this week, is Joe Madison. He's on SiriusXM Urban View. Joe Madison is just over 60 days into his hunger strike. Now, I don't know how many of you who have ever been on a hunger strike, but he's in his 70s. Joe Madison, I believe is 73. He might be 69, but I wanna say that he's 72 or 73, and he's two months into a hunger strike because he wants to bring attention to the voter suppression laws that are happening here in the United States. And the fact that our Senate is yet to pass two laws that will address and mitigate these voter suppression laws. So real quick, for anybody that's out there listening, I want you to call Senators Joe Manchin, 202-224-3954. Again, Senator Joe Manchin, 202-224-3954. And I want you to also call Senator Kyrsten Sinema at 202-224-4521. Again, 202-224-4521. Make your voice heard. Make them pass these laws around voter suppression.

0:43:44.8 Julie: And a quick name drop and quick mention to my brother, AJ, who gave a gift of a donation and a bracelet to me to support NAMI over Christmas, which is the North American Alliance on Mental Illness. Such a meaningful and personal gift for me, and hope you guys will check them out and also support them.

0:44:03.1 Torin: I close reminding each and everyone of you to share the pod with your digital tribe and to find your voice. Make sure that you are doing everything you possibly can to be a better human, let's create better culture, better teams, and better workplaces. For now, J and I are ghost.

0:44:18.8 Julie: See you.

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