The case series includes 12 podcast interviews, offering compelling conversations and reflections with people who are bridging and are experiencing how it feels to find belonging. In the first episode we interview OBI Director john powell to develop a shared vocabulary, to define the concepts of othering, breaking, bridging and belonging and the impact of story-telling. We later speak with community leaders who have created interpersonal and inter-group bridging opportunities through storytelling, intentional dialogues, and being in ceremony together. We also hear from those who create structural bridging by designing school or city environments that foster opportunities for belonging. We hear from people who are bridging between racial, ethnic, social, and immigrant identities. And people who are trying to change the systems that systemically ‘other’ certain groups of people. Most importantly, we connect with people who are experiencing the bridging work themselves, and what it has meant for them to belong. 

This project was led by the Othering & Belonging Institutes Blueprint for Belonging team, with financial support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Episodes:

Developing a shared vocabulary: Introduction to Othering, Bridging & Belonging

In this episode we interview UC Berkeley Professor and OBI Director john a. powell. john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, democracy, and othering, bridging and belonging frameworks-- which he has been critical in developing and translating between academia and fields of practice. In this interview, Professor powell breaks down the definitions of othering, bridging and belonging. Through storytelling he elucidates how both interpersonal and structural othering occurs, and how people and organizations have been successful in addressing it. He gives advice to listeners so that we can all play a role in co-creating a society where everyone belongs. 

This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Different Histories, Parallel Stories: Bridging African American and Immigrant Communities

In this episode we hear from Gerald Lenoir and Nunu Kidane about their work on bridging African American and African immigrant communities through dialogues. Gerald is OBI’s identity and politics strategy analyst and was the founding executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). Nunu was a founding member of BAJI and is currently the director of Priority Africa Network.
 
Gerald and Nunu share their experience facilitating Diaspora Dialogues, which are intentional conversations used to bridge African American and immigrant communities. Listeners will learn how the dialogues are organized and get tips on how to replicate this work.
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Looking to Belong: A Conversation with a Diaspora Dialogue Participant 

In this episode we interview Byb Bibene. Byb is a professional performer, choreographer, dance artist, director and dance educator originally from the Republic of Congo. Currently he lives in the Bay Area in California. Byb has participated in the African Diaspora Dialogues hosted by Nunu Kidane and Gerald Lenoir. In our last episode, we got to hear from Nunu and Gerald about what it means to organize dialogues. In this conversation, Byb shares his experience as a dialogue participant and how he’s incorporated bridging into his own professional work. To learn more about Byb Bibene’s work please go to mbonguifest.org and kiandandadt.com

This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Black and Native Folks in the Climate Justice Movement

In this episode we interview two of the founding members of The Wind & The Warrior, Ife Afriye Kilimanjaro and Nana Korantema.  In 2020, The Wind & The Warrior led a Sacred Waters Pilgrimage to connect Black and Native culture-bearers and advocacy leaders working to address the climate crisis for ritual and conversation. Throughout the pilgrimage, they made 7 stops along the Mississippi River. In each stop The Wind & The Warrior coordinated with local Native womxn to connect through ritual and conversation. Ife Afriye Kilimanjaro and Nana Korantema share with us how their journey allowed them to create bridges between Black and Native womxn and between humans and Mother Earth. 
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Belonging in Schools: The Story of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice

In this episode we speak with Frances Lucerna. Frances is the founding principal of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice is a public school located in the Southside community of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York City. El Puente is Spanish for ‘the bridge’ - which is exactly what the school is doing: creating bridges between the school and students, parents and the community. Frances shares how she and other community leaders created and designed a school environment that fosters a true sense of belonging among all students and their families. 

This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

On being seen and heard: Two students reflect on their high school experience

In this episode we speak with Tamia Dantzler & Dashley Concepcion. Tamia is an alum and Dashley is a current student at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. In a previous episode we spoke with Frances Lucerna, founding principal of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. We heard from Frances about the school design and intentions, in this conversation Tamia & Dashley share with us their personal experience. They tell us what it has meant to be students at a school that makes them feel seen and heard.  
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Belonging in Oakland

In this episode we speak with Roberto Bedoya. Roberto is the Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Oakland in California. He developed the City’s Cultural Plan titled Belonging in Oakland. Throughout his career Roberto has consistently advocated for inclusion and belonging in the cultural sector. In our conversation, Roberto shares how he’s utilized belonging in his city planning work through intentional grant giving, and encouraging city departments to re-think how Oakland residents interact with each other and with physical spaces around the city. 
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

The Belong Movement

In this episode we speak with Ashlin Malouf-Gashaw. Ashlin is the Chief Formation Officer at PICO California, the largest multi-racial faith-based community-organizing network in the state. PICO is leading The Belong Movement, which aims to address the polarization and racial anxiety across California by bridging across race, faith and status through facilitated Belong Circles. Ashlin shares the intention and design behind the Belong Circles, and how anyone, including our listeners can implement them in their own community. To learn more about Belong Circles go to picocalifornia.org.
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Belong Circles

In this episode we speak with Angel Mortel and Aleena Gonzalez. Angel is a lead organizer with LA Voice, which is a multi-racial and multi-faith community organization that awakens people to their own power and trains them to organize together. LA Voice has been implementing the Belong Circles with their partner network, including at Dolores Mission Church. Aleena Gonzalez is a high school student that is part of the Dolores Mission community who has participated in Belong Circles and is now leading circles with other young people.
 
In the last episode we spoke with Ashlin Maluuf-Gashaw from PICO California about the design and intention of the Belong Circles. Angel and Aleena will both share with us what the Belong circles have meant to them as organizers and participants.

This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Co-Creating Public Spaces of Belonging 

In this episode we interview Debbie Lacy. Debbie is the founder of Eastside for All, which serves communities outside of Seattle, WA including Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah and Sammamish. Eastside for All has a mission to transform East King County into a place where racial, economic and social justice are realized, and belonging is made possible for communities of color. Debbie shares about her Build for Belonging Initiative and specifically her use of the co-creation framework as she advocates to build a cross-cultural center with belonging in mind.
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

 

Co-creating a future where everyone belongs

In this episode we speak with Reverend Ben McBride. Ben McBride is a spiritual leader and longtime activist for peace and justice in the Bay Area. McBride serves as a national leader around reconstructing public safety systems and gun violence prevention work. In 2014, McBride launched the Empower Initiative to support bridging and belonging work across the country. McBride shares how he conceptualizes the building, bridging, belonging, and becoming frameworks. He outlines how cultural and structural belonging can occur, and the role that we each can play in creating a world where everyone belongs. 
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and this episode is co-hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez and EJ Toppin. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.

Returning Citizens

In this episode we speak with two of the founding members of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the President Desmond Meade and the Political Director Neil Volz. Together, Desmond and Neil have been working on restoring the rights of people who have a prior felony conviction, referred to as returning citizens. In 2018, they were successful in passing amendment 4 that restored the right of over 1.4 million Floridians to vote. How were they successful getting 65% of Floridians to support this amendment? Bridging. In this episode Desmond and Neil discuss their personal path into this work and how they successfully led a campaign through bridging that returned citizens and accordingly restored their right to vote. 
 
This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and this episode is hosted by strategy analyst Gerald Lenoir. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.