This episode, as you may have guessed already, is a little out of the ordinary. It is the first installment of a series on the escalating violence between police and minority communities, particularly African Americans in recent days. Our guest is Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County Unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Mr. Powell pulls no punches in his estimation of the causes of, and contributors to, of the crisis. I think you’ll find this a very refreshing conversation. In addition to the Berkshire NAACP homepage, be sure to visit their Facebook page for updates on events and issues.
I want to explain that this series wasn’t even conceived of a week ago. But I grew quickly and desperately frustrated this week by the predictable soundbites in the mainstream media concerning the violence in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas. I had NO INTENTION of covering this issue—As a staff writer, I used to hate it when some catastrophe would occur somewhere in the world, and my editor would command me to go out and “find a local angle.”
But people here in the Berkshires have already decided that there is a local angle: a conversation about race in the Berks is overdue. In fact, there’s a protest/demonstration, entitled “Don’t Leave Us Black and Blue,” going on over in Park Square in Pittsfield today. So, we’re launching a “special report” series within the “Top Left Corner” podcast to feature the voices of local activists, scholars, residents, officials, and others on the subject of race.
These episodes will be candid and unflinching. They will be honest and discomforting. They will not be infested with soundbites. And I make no pretense at neutrality. Make sure you catch our first episode, featuring Dennis Powell, president of the NAACP, Berkshire Unit, in the series later this morning. If you haven’t subscribed to the TLC yet, do so now through iTunes or Google Play. Subscribing helps you make sure not to miss an episode. It helps me demonstrate to potential sponsors that, yes, people are listening!
Part II of the series will feature Dr. Tracey Benson—former principal of Pittsfield High School, and a highly respected scholar of the dynamics of race and public power.