The Fierce Urgency of Now

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Crowdcast 36
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Eitan Hersh
Politics Is for Power

Eitan Hersh is an associate professor of political science at Tufts University. The focus of his writing and teaching is American politics, including US elections, civic participation, and voting rights. Hersh’s peer-reviewed articles have been published in major political science journals. His latest work, Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change, is a “richly detailed account effectively highlighting an issue affecting contemporary political discourse,” according to Publishers Weekly.

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DeRay Mckesson
On the Other Side of Freedom

DeRay Mckesson is an activist, podcaster, educator, and writer. He was an early supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and was active in protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. McKesson was a part of a group of activists who started Pod Save the People and Campaign Zero, a reformist set of actions to combat police brutality. His book, On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, relates a framework for a new liberation movement. He unpacks the complex history of racial injustice in the United States, how technology has impacted social change, and how oppression persists. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. says, “On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction.”

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Catherine A. Sanderson is the Manwell Family Professor in Life Sciences at Amherst College. She is the author of The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity, and has written five college textbooks and numerous middle- and high-school health textbooks. She was chosen by Princeton Review as one of the best college professors in America. Sanderson lectures across the country, and her work has been featured in the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, and on CBS and NBC. Why We Act: Turning Bystanders into Moral Rebels is her newest book.

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Tonya Mosley is an award-winning radio and television journalist and podcaster. She is a co-host of NPR’s Here & Now, the podcast Truth Be Told, and NPR’s Friday Film Club. She has worked as a reporter and anchor for media outlets including  KING 5 in Seattle, Washington and Al Jazeera America. She also formerly worked as the Silicon Valley bureau chief for KQED, where she worked as a senior editor. Mosley’s work focuses on bringing context to the world around us. She was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University where she co-created a workshop for journalists on implicit bias.


A 2018 survey found that Americans reported shockingly low levels of civic engagement over the previous year. Almost half surveyed said they did nothing: no petitions signed, no volunteering for a cause, no political donations. Is 2020 the year when all that changes? Find out from three authors who have studied and practiced activism. Eitan Hersh, in Politics Is for Power, calls out folks, especially liberals, for feeling like they are being political when often they are merely political hobbyists, consuming news and virtue signaling on social media. More is needed, he cautions, if we want change. In Why We Act, Catherine A. Sanderson uses neuroscience to explain why some people are capable of exhibiting moral courage and standing up for what’s right, while others go along with the group. Sanderson believes it is possible to learn to be brave in the face of wrongdoing. In 2014, DeRay Mckesson quit his job, moved to Ferguson, and spent four hundred days on the streets demanding justice. In On the Other Side of Freedom, this civil rights activist, co-founder of Campaign Zero, and host of Pod Save the People explores the nature of resistance and gives an insider’s look at the Black Lives Matter movement. Tonya Mosley, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR, will lead this not-to-be missed session on a topic critical to our current moment. 90.9 WBUR is the media sponsor for this session.