social justice

Topeka K. Sam on decriminalizing women and girls of color

Topeka K. Sam, has been fighting for the dignity, decriminalization and decarceration of women and girls of color since her release from federal prison in 2015. In this episode, we were blessed to have this great lady share eye opening information on incarceration as it pertains to young women. Take a listen to learn more about Topekas tireless advocacy and why it is so vital.

You can support Topeka’s work by visiting The LOHM. 

WGRL/Nessa Scholarship Interns

This interview is part of the Girls Club Nessa radio journalism internship program, where high school girls learn the basics of journalism, discuss important social justice issues, and book and record an interview with a guest of their choice.
In 2020 instead of cancelling our in person classes, Nessa and her crew graciously transitioned our sessions online. Every week our little team met virtually in the midst of the fear of COVID-19, isolation, and amplified racial terrorism of 2020.  In addition to a space of learning from seasoned professionals, our virtual classroom became a safe haven to connect, listen deeply and support each other during this traumatic time.
This episode of “The QuaranTeen Sessions” was conducted by Kaitlyn Ruiz, as always under the guidance and mentorship of our number one big Sister and advocate, Emmy award nominated Nessa!


Talking Education Reform with Maria Bautista

As the final interview of the Nessa scholarship in radio journalism for the class of 2019, our young reporter Nylia Chiquito, an aspiring educator herself,  reached out to Maria Bautista, Campaigns Director for The Alliance for Quality Education. 

One of the most important steps we can take in creating change is the education of our youth. We spoke to Maria about her vision and some of the challenges in implementing policies that could impact our world in a positive way.

“The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and ultimately create a powerful public demand for a high quality education.
Founded in 2000, AQE quickly became New York state’s lead community-based organization in the fight for high quality public education.”

Nick Cannon at Know Your Rights Camp — On Community Building

A huge shout-out to our friends and supporters at the Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) and of course our big sisters in journalism Nessa and Katrina B who made it possible for us to spend a few minutes with Nick Cannon this spring.

Nick was supporting the KYRC movement in Baltimore when our WGRL reporter Shandra Rogers had an insightful exchange with him on positive change for the community.

Thank you Nick Cannon for a thoughtful and inspiring conversation and thank you to Know Your Rights Camp Baltimore for an incredible day with youth — the heartbeat of the city of Baltimore.

Photo courtesy Tony Ng, @djtonedef


Patricia Robinson — Superheroes Don’t Always Wear Capes

In this second of our series done by our HOT97 Nessa show interns, we interview the unstoppable Ms. Patricia Robinson of Emmis Communications and The Know Your Rights Camp.

Ms Pat, as she is affectionately known, is proof positive that superheroes don’t always wear capes — sometimes they sport 6-inch stiletto heels and leopard print!

Patricia Robinson is a trailblazing leader who is highly recognized for her contributions in the media industry, community and social activism engagement.

We are so proud of LESGC member Zipporah Najar for taking the lead on an informative interview on career, community and making those difficult life decisions.

Patricia Robinson (C) and Patricia Robinson Girls Club members attend The Lower East Side Girls Club Spring Fling at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York, NY on April 10, 2019. (Photo by Stephen Smith/Guest of a Guest)

Wunmi! The Nigerian Fashion, Singing and Dance Sensation

It was an incredible treat to welcome Nigerian born artist Wunmi into the studio with us to elaborate on all the cool stuff she does – music, dance and incredible style and fashion.
Thank you Wunmi for sharing your culture, artistry and energy with us!

Ms. Leona Tate of the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum

One of the highlights of our Civil Rights trip to New Orleans and Montgomery, Alabama last year was meeting Mrs. Leona Tate, one of The McDonogh Three.
Ms. Tate was one of three African-American girls, who, at the age of six, were the first black students to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans!
We met Mrs. Tate at the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum, where she is a board member continuing the activism and work for her community that she started as a small child.

Music Box Village – a Tiny Town of Musical Wonder!

Music Box Village in our sister city of New Orleans is truly an experience where art comes alive and vibrates with song!
We have had the honor of performing there in the past in a female musical history of New Orleans and are lucky to count Airlift, who run Music Box, as our NOLA family!
Enjoy this magical audio journey and the below video with performance highlights!



Lauren Duca – Teen Vogue’s Thigh High Political Columnist

Journalist Lauren Duca is someone we have long admired for speaking truth to power. We appreciate her using her platform to advocate for young women who may not have yet the opportunity to vote but stand to lose so much in this current political landscape.
We were thrilled to have a chance to sit down with this courageous individual to get first hand knowledge of how she navigates the tough and misogynistic world of political journalism.

Carmen Perez – Activism as a Way of Life

It was beyond inspiring to speak with Carmen Perez, Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice and someone we have admired for a deep and lifelong commitment to social justice.
The interview took place at HOT 97 as part of our radio internship with our mentor Nessa.
We hope you enjoy these words of wisdom from someone who is truly doing the work to make the world a more just and equitable place!
And an extra congrats to Carmen and her family – she showed up to the interview with a surprise guest – the baby bump named Justice! We can’t wait to meet him!

Gun Control — The LES Speaks Out

Just as we were finishing the edit on this piece, the news came in on the school shooting in Texas. This is the 22nd school shooting this year to date.

These are peoples thoughts prior to this latest tragedy.

We took to the streets of our local community in New York’s Lower Eastside and gathered our neighbors opinions on guns and the issue of gun control.

We are hoping that this podcast may inspire you to take an action. It could save someones life.


Dread Scott — Revolutionary Artist Speaking Truth to Power

On our recent trip to New Orleans, we had the extreme pleasure of running into activist and artist Dread Scott at Paper Machine, an art gallery-print shop-artist studio in the Lower 9th Ward.

Dread was gracious enough to grant us an interview and spoke eloquently about his mission to make revolutionary art to propel history forward and how that manifests in his work.

Dread also told us about his latest project taking place in November of this year. The Slave Rebellion Reenactment is a community-engaged performance that will bring to life a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms, and seize Orleans Territory. In this area of land stretching across most of present day Louisiana, the rebels of the 1811 uprising were determined to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery.  It is a project that will animate a revolutionary vision of freedom that creates a space for viewers and participants to dream: What if …?

We learned a lot in our conversation and are quite motivated by the way Dread Scott uses his voice and his art as a tool against oppression.

National School Walkout

On March 14th, WGRL attended the first of the national school walkouts protesting gun violence. Our youth demand a solution.

Check out this piece on location at Gramercy Square Park where we interviewed both High School and Middle School youth about gun control in the United States.

WGRL will stay on the front line covering this issue so stay tuned to hear the voice of young people from young people.