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Disruptions are all around us. Some spark joy and possibility. Others move us to take action and re-evaluate our world. Every week on Disrupted, host and political scientist Khalilah Brown-Dean unpacks how big and small disruptions are shaping our lives.

  • In its early stages, Miss America was mostly about physical beauty. Today, pageants have placed more emphasis on interviewing skills, social platform and inclusiveness. Shavana Clarke is the first openly queer and lesbian woman to win Miss Connecticut USA. She shares her pageant journey and her mental health experience through her personal blog. We also hear from Sally-Ann Fawcett, one of the judges in the first ever Miss AI Beauty Pageant. It’s a competition where teams from around the world digitally create the contestants. GUESTS: Shavana Clarke: 2024 Miss Connecticut USA. Sally-Ann Fawcett: Miss AI Pageant judge. Head judge, Miss Great Britain. See for privacy information.
  • This hour, we prepare for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. We'll hear from competitors, including a Connecticut native who lost part of her leg in a shark attack one year ago. She will now swim for Team USA in the Paralympics. We'll also check in on the geopolitical implications of this year's Olympics and talk to Logan "Logistx" Edra, who is competing in breaking— a style of dance rooted in hip-hop culture. It is the first time that breaking will be an Olympic sport. GUESTS: Ali Truwit: swimmer from Connecticut who will be competing in the Paris 2024 Summer Paralympic Games Les Carpenter: Olympics writer for The Washington Post Logan Edra aka "Logistx": one of the four breakers competing for Team USA in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games See for privacy information.
  • It's time for our second annual summer movie panel! This time we are talking about the possible end of the summer blockbuster (as we know it) and the end of the world in film. The panelists discuss the lack of hype around any specific movie(s) this year as compared to what we saw with last year's Barbie/Oppenheimer pairing and the trend in post-apocalyptic imagery in films like Dune: Part Two and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. We also hear about movies for kids like Inside Out 2 and talk about what made Challengers so successful. GUESTS: Alissa Wilkinson: Movie Critic at the New York Times. She is also an author who co-wrote the book 'How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World.' Nadira Goffe: Associate Culture Writer at Slate James Hanley: one of the founders of Cinestudio in Hartford A few of the films discussed in this episode: 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' (2024) 'Inside Out 2' (2024) 'Dune: Part Two' (2024) 'Challengers' (2024) 'Anyone but You' (2023) 'Poor Things' (2023) 'This is Cinerama' (1952) 'Evil Does Not Exist' (2023) 'The Idea of You' (2024) 'Exhuma' (2024) You can listen to last year's Disrupted summer movie panel on our website.See for privacy information.
  • This hour, we’ll hear some of our favorite segments from our archive that teach us about the past and present of LGBTQ+ rights. Historian Marc Stein describes LGBTQ+ history beyond the Stonewall Uprising, including protests that occurred in Bridgeport. In a segment from Where We Live, Orion Rummler of The 19th News updates us on anti-trans bills that are being passed at the state level. And Dawn Ennis talks about finding joy during a time of discrimination. GUESTS: Marc Stein: Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University; director of the OutHistory; coeditor of Queer Pasts, a digital history project. Orion Rummler: LGBTQ+ reporter for The 19th News Dawn Ennis: journalist, professor at the University of Hartford, author of "What Makes Trans Joy Such a Powerful Antidote to Transphobia" and "Finding Trans Joy: It's Out There" You can find the original episodes that the segments and clips used in this episode were featured in on our website: 'Disrupted' covering the history of LGBTQ+ Pride 'Seasoned' covering commuity dinners at the New Haven Pride Center 'Where We Live' covering Pride Centers 'Disrupted' covering transgender discrimination and joy, which includes an interview with Orion Rummler The first interview in this episode originally aired on June 28, 2023. The second interview in this episode originally aired on Where We Live on June 13, 2024. The third interview in this episode originally aired on May 10, 2023. Special thanks to Katie Pellico.See for privacy information.
  • While many Black Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth since 1865, the holiday has often been overlooked by non-Black Americans. This hour, we look at the tradition of the holiday and recognize its importance as a time to learn more about Black history in the U.S. Alliah L. Agostini is a mom and children’s book author. Her books The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States and The Juneteenth Cookbook teach the history and joy of Juneteenth. Distinguished Professor Dr. William Darity explains the history of reparations and today's racial wealth gap. GUESTS: Alliah L. Agostini: children’s book author - The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States and The Juneteenth Cookbook Dr. William Darity: Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. Co-author, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century See for privacy information.
  • For parents, thinking about mental health is also about the lessons they impart on their children. This hour, we talk to two parents who advocate for mental health. First, Medina Jett, author of 'Peace Be Still: Navigating My Son’s Bipolar Disorder,' opens up about being a mother to a young adult with a mental illness. Then, Michell Clark discusses his book 'Eyes on the Road' and offers advice on how he's prioritized his mental health as a parent and beyond. GUESTS: Medina Jett: attorney, real estate developer and President of Jett Speaks. She’s also a mental health advocate whose newest book is 'Peace Be Still: Navigating My Son’s Bipolar Disorder' Michell Clark: mental health advocate and author of Eyes on the Road If you or someone you know is struggling, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline is 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357).See for privacy information.
  • This hour, we are taking a look at friendship. While friends seem ubiquitous in our culture, they aren't often prioritized in the same way that romantic partners are. Rhaina Cohen discusses that topic in her new book 'The Other Significant Others: Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center.' Then, we turn to the idea of having friends from different generations. We'll hear from two Quinnipiac University students who spent their first year of grad school living with the residents of Pond Ridge at Ashlar Village, a retirement community in Wallingford, CT. And Eunice Lin Nichols, Co-CEO of CoGenerate, will explain the value of intergenerational connections, including how they can help in a polarized society. GUESTS: Rhaina Cohen: Producer and editor for NPR. Author of 'The Other Significant Others: Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center' Elise Maiorano: grad student at Quinnipiac University studying occupational therapy. Elise spent her first year of grad school living at Pond Ridge at Ashlar Village, a retirement community Annemarie Allen: grad student at Quinnipiac University studying occupational therapy. Annemarie spent her first year of grad school living at Pond Ridge at Ashlar Village, a retirement community Ben Paige: Resident of Pond Ridge at Ashlar Village Eunice Lin Nichols: Co-CEO of CoGenerate, an organization that brings people from different generations together to solve problems This episode originally aired on February 14, 2024. See for privacy information.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans are hoping immigration policy will win them votes in 2024. This hour, we take a look at immigration laws from the past and present. Atlantic Staff Writer and 2023 Pulitzer Prize-winner Caitlin Dickerson talks about Biden and Trump's records on immigration and tells us who is immigrating to the U.S. today. We also hear from a group that supports immigrants through community organizing in Bridgeport and Hartford, and we learn about a restrictive immigration act that was signed 100 years ago. GUESTS: Caitlin Dickerson: Staff Writer for The Atlantic. In 2023 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the U.S. policy of separating migrant children from their families. Barbara López: Director of Make the Road Connecticut Mae Ngai: Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History at Columbia University. Her most recent book is The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics. For more on the history of U.S. immigration policy, you can listen to our episode on Chinese American exclusion and resistance.See for privacy information.
  • As election day steadily approaches, we hear two conversations about voting. Back in March, Khalilah hosted a live event with MSNBC Legal Analyst Charles Coleman Jr. We take a listen to that event and learn how Black voters can make a difference in their communities. The discussion was part of The Legacy Foundation of Hartford's Black Excellence Speaker Series. Then, Jacqueline De León, Senior Attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, talks about a 2020 report on barriers to voting access that Native Americans face and how those could impact the 2024 elections. GUESTS: Charles Coleman Jr.: MSNBC Legal Analyst, Civil Rights Attorney and Co-Host of 'Black Men in America: Road to 2024,' which aired on MSNBC in February Jacqueline De León: Senior Attorney with the Native American Rights Fund and co-author of the report Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters. She is an enrolled member of the Isleta Pueblo. See for privacy information.
  • Seventy years ago, Brown v. Board of Education outlawed racial segregation in public schools. This hour, we look at the historic Supreme Court decision — and some of the inequities that still exist in education today. We speak with the Executive Director of a youth development organization in Hartford working to close education opportunity gaps. And later, we talk about the legacy of Ellen Peters, the first woman appointed Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. She wrote the opinion in Sheff v. O’Neill, a landmark school desegregation case here in Connecticut. GUESTS: Kathy Trusty: Independent historian and children’s author. Andrea Williams: Executive Director, ConnectiKids. Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson: Chief Justice, Connecticut Supreme Court. Richard Palmer: Former Connecticut Supreme Court Justice, Chairman of the state Public Defender Services Commission.See for privacy information.
  • Many people think of libraries as quiet places to study, work or read a book. But the quiet rooms of libraries have also been centers of social change. This hour, we look at how libraries help people build community and explore their identities. First, we talk about a recent drag story hour in Enfield, CT that was successfully rescheduled after it had initially been canceled due to safety concerns. Then, we discuss a pioneering librarian who helped start New York's well-known Morgan Library & Museum while keeping her racial identity a secret. GUESTS: Lil Miss Hot Mess: Board member with Drag Story Hour, a nonprofit that organizes events where drag performers read to kids. She is also a University Professor and children’s author whose books include 'The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish' The Reverend Dr. Greg Gray: President of Enfield Pride and Pastor of Enfield United Church of Christ Erica Ciallela: Exhibition Project Curator at the Morgan Library See for privacy information.
  • This hour on Disrupted, we’re looking at the First Amendment and its impact on colleges and universities. Students are demanding their schools divest from Israel over its war in Gaza. Some colleges have allowed protests with police presence, while others have forcibly removed demonstrators. There have been allegations of antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian speech at some protests — and that’s left many wondering how to address harmful speech without curbing free expression. First Amendment Specialist Kevin Goldberg explains the five protections covered in the amendment. Wesleyan University President Michael Roth talks about his role as a university administrator and how to provide safe spaces for students. GUESTS: Kevin Goldberg: First Amendment Specialist, Freedom Forum. Michael Roth: President, Wesleyan University and author of Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness. This episode originally aired on February 7, 2024.See for privacy information.