City Limits

As the nation has grappled with a pandemic, the cries for racial and social justice have also grown in solidarity.  On this episode of City Limits: Winds of Change, how are places of higher education responding to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion?  How are they dealing with bias, racial issues and ethnic attacks?  

Katie Zilcosky/ WAER

The Interstate 81 project is inching closer to action with the anticipation of a public comment period and final environmental impact statement expected this year. Federal and local leaders say they want the project to uplift the Black community members who had their livelihoods ripped from them when the viaduct was first built. 

This is a welcome intention for many in and advocating for the community closest to the viaduct. But before the project breaks ground, community organizers want decision makers to not just acknowledge the harms of the past, but implement targeted policy that will help the community it destroyed. For City Limits, Katie Zilcosky hears from those working to center and amplify the voices of the former 15th Ward.

The calls for racial, social, and economic justice that rang out across the nation and in Central New York are echoing through the halls, offices, and boardrooms of corporate America. Those who work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI field have taken notice, and have a renewed sense of purpose to make race part of everyday conversation in the office. In this episode of City Limits: Winds of Change, Scott Willis introduces us to two women who work with company leaders and employees to tackle DEI issues …and who bring personal perspectives to their roles."

One of the reforms Syracuse's People’s Agenda for Policing coalition called for is the removal of police from city schools. They say that security resource officers, commonly referred to as SROs, cause more harm than protection to black and brown students. This call for removal is not a new one, but this time it was propelled by racial justice demonstrations in Syracuse and across the country after multiple killings of Black people by police in 2020. For City Limits, Katie Zilcosky takes a look at what the school board is doing in response and potential alternatives.

In this edition of City Limits: Winds of Change, we begin with how Georgia State University has dramatically narrowed the achievement gap by increasing the graduation rate by 74-percent within 15 years.  Author Andrew Gumbel discusses how the college dramatically turned things around for Black, low-income students.  We’ll then have a look into Syracuse area programs that guide students through school and lead them on a pathway to college or job readiness skills.

With $1 million earmarked for capacity building among black led non-profits in Syracuse, a local foundation now waits to assess the impact of its grant-making.  In this episode of City Limits Winds of Change, we examine how first round grant recipients of the Central New York Community Foundation’s Black Equity and Excellence fund are using their awards to strengthen their operations adapt to the challenges caused by the global pandemic.

The echoes of protests, marches and rallies have gone quiet in Syracuse.  But one issue a the center of the uproar, police conduct against people of color, has not.  The killing of George Floyd sparked public outcry but numerous issues of police reform have been in the works for years.  What was gained from the movement against policing seen as racist?  On this episode of City Limits Winds of Change Chris Bolt looks at the progress being made and whether it's enough for those feeling racial injustice.

The previous episode of City Limits examined efforts in the Syracuse community to use art to heal the emotional wounds created by instances of racial injustice, police brutality, and social unrest.  In that episode, you heard voices of members of the Black Artist Collective, an organized group of black artists dedicated to enhancing the growth and endurance of all Black arts. 

Representatives of the group sat with Joe Lee to explore the intersection of art and activism and their fight to create a permanent seat at the table.

Historically, black artists have long played an integral role in social justice movements by using their art and their voice to amplify anger and frustrations.  This City Limits episode examines how artists and arts organizations in Syracuse are working to support and sustain the racial justice movement.  This story features the voices of the Black Artist Collective, 100 Black Men of Syracuse, the Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse Stage and listeners like you.

Hemp growers are deciding right now how much hemp crops to plant with the unknowns of when they will be able to farm and when processors will be able to start, again.  As part of City Limits Food For Thought podcast series, John Smith reports the industry appeared to be gaining state support before the COVID-19 virus hit but, was also dealing with unknowns at the federal level.