Ashley: Welcome to season two of Pod for the Cause – the official podcast of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, at civilrights.org, where we expand the conversation on the critical civil and human rights challenges of our day. I’m your host, Ashley Allison, coming to you from Washington, D.C. Like we start off every show, we got the Pod Squad – season two, y’all – where we discuss pop culture and social justice topics while bringing our issue areas into the conversation. Today I have my amazing colleagues from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights with me. I have Leigh Chapman, the Program Director for Voting Rights, and Hannah Fried, the Campaign Director for All Voting is Local. By their titles, guess what we’re talking about on today’s show? Voting! Welcome to the show, ladies!
Leigh: Thanks so much for having us.
Hannah: Thank you, thank you.
Ashley: Alright, let’s just jump right in. This one is a celebration of life. It is sad because we lost an iconic civil rights leader, but we also wanna celebrate Congressman Elijah Cummings and all the things that he has done to advocate for civil and human rights, and people in this country and internationally. I would be interested if you all would just share – if you have any memory of Congressman Cummings as it relates to voting or civil rights. Leigh, why don’t we start with you?
Leigh: Congressman Cummings was a true champion for Democracy. He said that he would work until he died to make sure that every citizen in this country could vote, and you know that’s what he really did. He worked until the very end. He was inspired by his upbringing, his parents being sharecroppers, moving from South Carolina to Maryland, and just seeing how hard it is for people to vote in this country, in particular people of color. He really worked until the end. He launched investigations –
Ashley: I know.
Leigh: – against organizations like True the Vote that were challenging voters – voters of color – during the 2012 election, and I know he continued that work in more recent elections.
Ashley: Yeah. Hannah, what about you?
Hannah: Congressman Cummings was a warrior for our democracy, and I think in his final years there was so much focus from him on the White House, and oversight, and investigations, but it grew out of this long tradition of his commitment to our country and its ideals, and its values. Leigh talked about his own, personal history, and that story, and he lived that out until the very end. He was looking into what was happening in Georgia in 2018 with now-governor, then-Secretary of State Kemp, overseeing his own election, purges, problems at the polls, right? That was something that he was not afraid to call out for what it was, and what that was, was voter suppression.
Ashley: You can do a lot of great work that Congressman Cummings did, but it’s also how you treat people. I had very few interactions with the Congressman – sometimes elected officials can be dismissive, or only want to talk to another elected official, but I felt like when he looked at me, he saw me, and he respected me, and he didn’t care where I worked or what title I had.
Ashley: He just saw me, and appreciated my existence, so today we salute the life and memory of Congressman Cummings, and we thank you for everything that you did to fight for civil and human rights, including leading some of the impeachment work around this current president. In most recent days, the president got a real taste of Washington, D.C. We’re here in Washington, D.C., and our home team is the Nationals, and we just finished a World Series. If you weren’t watching, at one of the games President Trump got booed, and chants of “lock him up, lock him up” just were resounding in the stadium, with people with red hats that didn’t say “Make America Great Again” anymore.
Hannah: No they did not.
Ashley: What did you think when you saw that clip?
Hannah: I mean, look, I’m a native Washingtonian, so I was really happy to see that. If you’re not gonna give DC the right to vote, then people have to find another way to express themselves, and that means calling people out at a baseball game.
Hannah: I’m fine with that. I’m here for that!
Leigh: And the voters in DC are not here for Trump. Only four percent of voters in DC voted for him in 2016, so it’s just not a city that is a big supporter of him.
Ashley: I will say I have this weird relationship with Washington, D.C. I have lived here for now seven years, but I still don’t necessarily call it home.
Leigh: But now…
Ashley: When I saw this, I was like, “I’m home, y’all!”
Leigh: Right, I know.
Ashley: Okay, it’s my city. My city, my city! If you haven’t seen the clip, you should look at it. It’s this moment where they announce the President of the United States, and he’s waving, and Melania’s waving, and then he hears this wave of boos, and it’s just this frown starts to slowly move down his face, and he’s just like, “Oh, gosh, make it stop.” And I wanna be like, “No, you stop, Trump.” Stop all your terrible policies.
Ashley: Another topic that was really, really popular in the early fall and summer were the Popeye chicken sandwiches. They’re back!
Ashley: Okay, wait, first – has anyone ever had one?
Leigh: No, unfortunately.
Ashley: I know. Can I tell you – the week they came out, I almost got Chick-fil-a because I was so hungry, and I was stranded and it was the only food in sight, but I was like, I can’t – I feel like my black card would be turned in if I got Chick-fil-a the week Popeye’s came out. But apparently they’ve been selling out. You can’t get ‘em anywhere, but this November they’re coming back. Will you get one in this round?
Leigh: I’m gonna try. I tried to order it on Uber Eats.
Hannah: Wait, really?
Ashley: It actually comes up! It comes up on the app.
Ashley: It does. It’s a Popeye’s chicken sandwich.
Hannah: But will it be as good when it gets to your house?
Leigh: It probably might be a little cold, but I figured that’s kind of tricking the system. I don’t have to –
Ashley: To get in line? What do you think is the big – is Popeye’s just a marketing genius, that they say it’s so unavailable? It’s like the Spanx leggings, right? They’re so unavailable and it makes you want them even though they don’t feel comfortable, maybe?
Leigh: I don’t know, but I heard that they had to actually hire more staff because the employees were so overworked with the long lines and everything.
Hannah: This is starting to sound like voting. Long lines –
Hannah: Getting it to your house is not the same as going with your neighbors.
Leigh: Right? There was a teenager in Charlotte, North Carolina who actually registered voters –
Ashley: I know!
Leigh: – in the line.
Ashley: Look at Popeye’s, getting people civically engaged, improving our economy. Moving on, moving on – Kanye West.
Leigh: Boo. No.
Ashley: Kanye West just released this 27-minute album, Jesus is King. If you’ve ever listened to season one, one of the Pod Squad folks, Gabby C., she tweeted – she was like, “I didn’t need Kanye to tell me Jesus was king, but thanks.”
Leigh: True, yes.
Ashley: You’re canceled for all us Christians in the world. What is going on with Kanye? He supports Trump, he’s going to all these black churches, doing this gospel song thing.
Leigh: He went to Howard homecoming.
Ashley: I know. Why do you think the churches are letting him come?
Leigh: I was over Kanye when he said that slavery was a choice. I’m a Howard alum. He came here for Howard homecoming. People ran to the yard, they were all excited about it. I just can’t support Kanye anymore. I used to love him, but I just can’t.
Hannah: Yeah. I want more for my girl, Kim.
Ashley: Oh, stop it.
Hannah: She is working on mass incarceration –
Leigh: Criminal justice reform.
Hannah: Criminal justice reform.
Ashley: I think Kanye’s in the Sunken Place. Somebody needs to flash a camera in front of him and wake him up because how did he go from “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” to this?
Leigh: I really think something happened when his mom passed away, unfortunately. That’s when I saw the shift – trauma and experiences like that can be devastating.
Ashley: Now I feel bad, but he still needs to be better for our people. I wanna dig in a little bit more on this. There are venues that, historically, in the civil rights movement have been the epicenter black churches for our movement. Even now, every candidate goes to black churches on Sundays, they register voters, they recruit volunteers. Is the black church a place where Make America Great is getting some traction? Why do you think people would open up their places of worship – or any venue, for that matter – universities – they just gave him this award down at the college down south – to someone like Trump or a supporter like Trump?
Hannah: He’s still Kanye. I think there’s some of that. He has this legacy. We remember what he was like, right? And what his music was like, and what it meant for all kinds of people. It’s hard, I think, to let that go, but I think the broader question is a really good one. What is it about that legacy – whether it is the legacy of the Oval Office or the legacy of Kanye’s music – that allows folks into spaces where they shouldn’t be, and to say things in those spaces, that we would otherwise absolutely outright reject.
Ashley: Not tolerate. We just celebrated Halloween. I wanna also talk about this. People – no blackface costumes. No costumes of Native American folks. We saw a spree of elected officials being outed, almost, with behavior from the past. Recently, a gay couple dressed up as ICE officers and a racist, Mexican stereotype. What’s the public education campaign we need to run to say stop, don’t do it anymore?
Leigh: You should never dress like this for Halloween. Blackface is not okay. I actually saw something on Twitter where there was a campaign. It was called “We’re a culture, not a costume” campaign. People were holding up photos of what not to do on Halloween.
Hannah: Yeah. I mean, it’s Halloween costumes for sure, but it’s also – sports team names, right?
Hannah: The team in Washington, the football team, which I will not say, and I know a lot of Washingtonians won’t use it anymore – that’s been in court.
Ashley: Well, I hope people learn for future costume parties, for the next year around Halloween – don’t do it. Don’t appropriate people’s culture. It’s not funny. There are so many other ways that you can dress up in a costume where you don’t have to offend somebody else. I wanna close out with a more somber topic. We’ve seen in our country – it’s not a new issue. It’s one of the issues that actually got me into activism, but we’ve seen in our country recently more police shootings. Botham Jean happened a couple months ago, but with the verdict of Amber Geiger coming out with being convicted of murder, Atatiana Jefferson – we saw that she was killed in her house, which I think just makes people, particularly black people, think, “Am I safe anywhere?” I’m playing video games. When you wake up, and you hear news like this, what do you say? What do you think? How do you go on about your day?
Leigh: Yeah, it’s really no words. As an African-American woman, we’re not safe anywhere. Not in our own home. She was with her eight-year-old nephew playing video games and was shot dead, and just think about the trauma that he has to carry for the rest of his life, seeing his aunt shot dead while just playing video games.
Leigh: You’re not safe anywhere. I always check my doors at night, and tell my niece and nephew to be careful no matter where they go, but it’s terrible that it’s 2019 and we’re in a place like this now.
Ashley: Yeah. Hannah, what about you?
Hannah: Yes to all of that. It’s heartbreaking. How else can you feel about something like that? Except not everybody responds to it with such heartbreak, which is why it persists.
Ashley: Yeah, and why we do the work we do. Everyone, thanks for listening to the Pod Squad today. Leigh, Hannah, thank you for joining me. They’re my wonderful colleagues. Coming up, we have a very special guest – Dawn-Lyen Gardner. So don’t go anywhere.
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Ashley: Welcome back to Pod for the Cause. Today we are talking all about voting rights, and we have a special guest with us. She currently stars as Charley Bordelon in the critically acclaimed, hit TV show Queen Sugar, created by Ava Duvernay, and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey. She lets her art service her activism. Thank you, and welcome to the show, Dawn-Lyen!
Dawn-Lyen: It’s my pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Ashley: Okay, so Queen Sugar is one of my favorite shows on television right now. It tells so many stories. It is the black experience in Louisiana. It covers black love, marriage, infidelity, immigration issues, sexual abuse trauma, and everything in between. We might not get to cover all of those issues today, and if we don’t, hopefully you can come back on – but today we wanted to talk about one of the storylines that you are really a part of, which is around voting rights and you running for office.
Without giving too much of a spoiler alert, Dawn-Lyen’s character, Charley Bordelon, is running for office in Saint Joe Parish, Louisiana, and like we know in so many places, as black voters go to show up and want to vote, first, they sometimes are turned away, sometimes they aren’t registered, but in this episode, we see one of the characters prosper, and the people in the community being removed from the polls. Before we go down that part of the conversation, I just wanna talk about the fact that Charley comes into this season and is deciding to run for office. Why do you think it’s so important for people to see a black woman, like Charley Bordelon, deciding to run for office?
Dawn-Lyen: I actually really appreciate and love the way that the writers designed her decision to run for office in this season. I don’t think that we had seen a lot in terms of narrative stories around women of color who are not necessarily strategizing for public office. It’s not a career move. It’s not something they’ve been aiming towards their whole life, but it’s really coming from recognition of need, and also protection of basically family, protection of community. It is a choice that is about staving off abuse of power. It is actually a defensive choice. I think she is realizing her own call, but it really does progress incredibly organically as a response to the injustice and the intentional dismantling, really, of a whole way of life. I love that it’s coming from such an incredibly human and personal place for this character.
Ashley: She has evolved as a character, truly, on this show, and it is a beautiful evolution, but also the decisions that we make as women, as women of color, directly impact the community, usually and predominantly in a positive way, and in this instance, the community really rallies around this character. They have her back. They want her to win, but despite all the desire for her to win, and to help run this election, they are faced with these barriers of voter suppression. Can you talk a little bit about that story of why you think the writers and you thought it was so important to integrate the courage of Charley to run for office, but then the reality of suppression, particularly in the South, in a state like Louisiana?
Dawn-Lyen: Yes. We saw in last year’s election with Stacey Abrams, in some ways it is art mirroring life. For me, personally, just witnessing her entire campaign, witnessing who she is and how she’s able to articulate the desire for, and the work for, and the fight for freedom for all, and how specific that is to her as a black woman, coming from the perspective of someone who’s been marginalized in extraordinary ways, who has the ability to speak to difference, to being othered, to being excluded, and knows how to fight for all to be included. To see that the response to that was voter suppression – not that it was a new response, necessarily, but it was so blatant.
I think in this way, we’re seeing, similarly, a black woman running for office, who’s also an entrepreneur, which are the fastest growing class of entrepreneurs in this country, are black women – and the thing that’s actually uniting that class of people is the desire to give back, the desire to move forward the rights of their community, and the fight for equality and justice. We’re seeing that person running for office, and it is very, very real. The tactics of really preventing the lever of power from being used because if there’s anything that I think I saw in the Stacey Abrams campaign and the result, was that people were becoming empowered, that voting really was their lever to pull to influence, decide, and make choices about how the democracy was gonna be evolving.
I think what we’re seeing in the show is not just that that happens, but we’re seeing chess move by chess move in terms of the reasons that it’s happening – the financial incentives to keep certain people who are in power, in power, and to really, truly continue to disenfranchise the group most oppressed – the black farmers in this community. Voter suppression, that’s another tactic, it’s another tool to further destabilize, marginalize, to further press. It is the legacy of power dynamics in the South, for sure.
Ashley: Yeah, and they do it through voter purging in the story, but they also do it in this storyline through voter intimidation, and it’s something that people don’t wanna talk about. It’s the fear that people try to invoke before you even show up to register or vote. They do it with you by terrorizing your mail, they do it with you by terrorizing Aunt Vi’s diner – I think that what they’re doing –
Dawn-Lyen: Terrorizing your livelihood.
Ashley: It is! It’s a threat of your livelihood because they are afraid of what it would feel like to have someone like Charley Bordelon, or someone like Andrew Gillum, or someone like Stacey Abrams to get power in a state like the Deep South. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on the intimidation factor from the storyline.
Dawn-Lyen: I almost, in some ways, wish we had been able to just have more time with it. Part of the joy of the show is that there’s so much rich story, and with so many characters, so you can’t spend as much time as you necessarily want to unpacking everything. You have to include it in order for it to be part of the conversation, and for the conversation to be thorough, but it could be its own series.
Ashley: Yeah, right!
Dawn-Lyen: It really could! But I do feel that the intimidation factor – voter suppression, I think, can almost feel clinical as a term. It’s this thing that happens, but voter intimidation, that’s the human part. That’s the part where it feels like you’re under threat. You’re truly, truly under threat, and it’s not just your life, it’s your livelihood. It’s your ability to survive. It’s your ability for your family to survive, just your finances. That’s completely, 100 percent real. When that reality hits Charley in the most real way, in this season, what hits is not just the loss that happens, it’s the threat of personhood. That is a nuance of these dynamics that I think it’s the harder thing to talk about. It’s the harder thing to name, but it’s actually the most visceral. It’s the part of the story that – it didn’t get a ton of airtime. There was so much story to cover, but it was almost a thing undergirding the entire season, was that constant sense of threat.
Ashley: Yeah, the ripple. It’s not just impacting you. When people see these attacks happen to one, they know it’s possible for them, so it has collateral consequences beyond the individual who is directly impacted. I promised I wouldn’t do a spoiler alert at the beginning of this interview, but the season finale is that deal, and everyone, if you haven’t seen it, make sure you go check it out. I’m not gonna tell you what happens. You’re gonna have to watch it to find out. But you’ve been talking about this a lot in some of your answers, about art really modeling what is happening in real life. Your personal passion for social justice, being a part of the social justice collective HARNESS and Women for Women International, shows that you are really committed to the cause and advocating for vulnerable communities. Why do you think it’s so important as an actor for you to be fully educated on the issues?
Dawn-Lyen: What’s interesting is that, I guess, at a somewhat early age, I very consciously decided to continue acting and to not turn my life fully into or over to the activism realm as an activist, as an organizer. I really debated that when I was in college. I was at Juilliard, and I was really, really in a crisis of what was I feeling called towards? I had become very active in the Bush-Gore election time, and then I was waking up on myself and my own reality of being not just a black woman, or a woman color, a mixed-race woman, but also being actor of color, and the career opportunities and the responsibility that I was stepping into or holding as a black artist. For me, what I came to was that it was critical for me to use and include in my work this shift of social consciousness, of the social justice, and there is something so basic, and primal, and beautiful about the exploration of just humans and humanity, but there’s something also very important about what’s the conversation we’re in as we explore that humanity.
That’s really where it comes from for me, is that I feel deeply that my being of service is actually the most important part of all of this. For me, the Haas Institute and john a. powell, who founded it, who’s a civil rights lawyer – he languaged something that hit, I guess, the root of it for me, which is about othering and belonging. I really do feel that, at core, that’s a big part of the conversation we’re in in this country, is about who belongs, and how we other each other, sometimes ourselves, and all of the dysfunction, and all of the injustice that can, and has, resulted from those dynamics, influenced by money, and power, and politics, and all kinds of stuff. So for me it was always important to root the conversations that we’re in, and root these projects, and root these stories in purpose, and in what is the ask that we are all in right now with ourselves, with each other, with society, and how are we all standing responsible for the world that we wanna see?
Ashley: Ladies and gentlemen, I am talking to Dawn-Lyen Gardner, who plays Charley Bordelon on Queen Sugar. We’re talking about voter suppression. You’ve talked about your multiracial identity. I once heard you give a speech that said, “I walk in the world as a black woman very proudly. My experience in that world does not see me or engage me as my Asian descent. My experience when I walk down the street, when I am engaged, is as a black woman.” And you later go on to say you are a black woman, but you also are of Asian descent, and how people are always trying to otherize and not find the intersectionality of people’s existence, and I’m wondering how your multiracial background has helped inform the way you are able to show up as an activist, but also as an artist.
Dawn-Lyen: You really hit on a giant thing for me because it really informs everything – everything that I do. It’s an interesting thing and it’s a sensitive thing for me. I’ve been really asking myself about how I wanna talk about this moving forward because it can tend to – in interviews or in media generally – the conversation becomes very flattened, almost conveniently. People need sound bites. They need to compress things because our attention spans – that’s what it is.
But for me, it’s a conversation. It really is a fairly big, deep conversation, and that conversation begins with just what I’ve known, what my truth has been with my family, and in watching these two parts of my family – my mother’s side is Chinese and my dad’s side is black from the South – and they know each other very well. They all hang out together – text threads between the two. They don’t wait for us. They hang out with each other without us, so there is something that I’ve witnessed around where people find themselves in others who are not from where they’re from, and where they look for, and yearn for, actually, the opportunity to love, to care for, and believe in, and trust in, and fight for.
I’ve seen this world that has involved all these dynamics of othering and belonging, and it’s not a perfect world. It’s not a world where there aren’t real issues. There’s racism in that world, too, and there’s very complicated dynamics of oppression in that world, too. It’s not a perfect world. It’s not some utopia. I know that my internal navigation of what I had to reconcile, how I have evolved in my understanding of culture, and my understanding of race, and how those two things don’t necessarily mean the same thing all the time, and that there’s a fluidity in terms of identity when it comes to culture that I actually feel at this time. There’s a decision and an embracing of black as my racial identity that does not erase Chinese as part of my culture identity, and that’s just part of the truth that I’ve had to walk with, and it’s one that is still evolving. It’s still something I’m in question about and in compassionate conversation with myself about.
In order to emotionally survive and reconcile myself, and be in a place of wholeness, sustainably whole –
Ashley: It’s really brave of you.
Dawn-Lyen: It’s interesting because there’s not a lot of spaces that create a transparent willingness to language that, to name those things. It just doesn’t exist, and so it can feel really lonely to be in that conversation, but I think part of what I’ve been giving myself permission to do is to validate it, and to say, if I’m in this question with myself, that isn’t about, for me, racial identity. To me, the world in some ways decided for me, and I went yes, I’m very good with that, but there’s a complicated experience underneath that as well that is very internal. My dad has challenged me straight-on: “Why don’t you identify as an Asian woman?” I’m like, “Dad, what are you complicating this for?”
Ashley: Right. I’m trying to work this out!
Dawn-Lyen: What are you doing?
Ashley: That’s parents, though. Those are parents for you.
Dawn-Lyen: Yeah, that’s him saying, “I see you, daughter, as whole, and I don’t want you to leave out any part of yourself.” That’s been my journey, is how do I include all parts of me and understand that there is the choice to identify as black from my part. It’s also political as much as it is personal, as much as it is fact, as much as it is the world, etc. I really do yearn for more spaces to have this conversation and to let this conversation be valid and fluid, and I have had it so often and so much that I know that I’m not alone in it now.
Ashley: Listen, we have time for one more question, everyone. I’m talking to Dawn-Lyen Gardner, who is the star of Queen Sugar. She plays Charley Bordelon. You said in your last answer that you saw your father seeing you as whole. If you could give our listeners one piece of advice, what would you give them to encourage them to see themselves as whole?
Dawn-Lyen: Community. If there’s something that I’m always – and maybe this is also related to growing up as a mixed person – I really do believe that there’s something that happens in community that doesn’t happen anywhere else. I think that isolation is the death of us all. I think that community is important to mental health, but it’s also, I think there’s something primal about it. I think there’s something necessary about it, and I think there’s something that we remember about our own wholeness. That’s what I would say is, turn to community, create community – in-person community. It is critical and necessary.
Ashley: Dawn-Lyen Gardner, thank you for joining the Pod for the Cause community. We are so glad that you are here to talk about voting rights, identity, and everything in between. You all know what’s next. It’s my Hot Takes, where I get some things off my chest in three minutes or less.
[BREAK 29:29 – 30:02]
Ashley: Welcome back to Pod for the Cause, where we’ve been talking all about voting rights, and between the Pod Squad and Dawn-Lyen, I have a few things to say. We live in a country that, in 2018, we can see an election in Georgia for the first black, female governor to be stolen because of voter suppression. And most recently, where 300,000 people could potentially be kicked off the rolls because of purging. In Ohio, 500,000 people over the course of the year are scheduled to be removed from the rolls just because they haven’t voted in the last couple of elections. We live in a country where one of the largest social media platforms, Facebook, is going to allow political officials, politicians, to say whatever they want on their platform, even if it’s a lie, and we all know what our president does right now: lie. When we live in a world where people try and say that there’s voter fraud, I want to say one thing: that is not true.
But what we do have in this country is massive voter suppression and voter intimidation. I know this personally because I lived in Ohio all of my childhood, and I remember my mother having to wake up super early on election day so she could get us to school on time, but so that she could also vote before she dropped us off. I think she wanted us to see what it was like to be a voter, but I also know that because she was a working woman, she needed a different schedule on election day just to make sure she could have access to the vote.
Think about those women and those men who are raising a child in a single-parent household, or who work jobs where they start before the polling place opens and they end after they close. When do they get to vote? Think about the long line I had to wait in for three hours when I was a college student, in the rain, to cast my vote. It’s not a story I’m making up. It’s real life, and it happens every, single day in this country. We have so much at stake. We have immigration policies where people are being ripped apart. We have overcriminalization of black and brown communities where people are serving life sentences in prison for a non-violent drug offense. We have people who can’t get jobs because the economy is dying and the politicians we elected don’t care about them, where people can’t make an honest living because the minimum wage is so low and hasn’t been changed in years. We have women who can’t have childcare or can’t take days off of work because they don’t have a sick leave policy.
We have too much at stake in 2020, and we definitely cannot let voter suppression and voter intimidation be the reason why people who have policies that believe in civil and human rights aren’t elected. At the Leadership Conference, we believe we will fight to do everything we can to ensure that anyone who is eligible to vote, is able to vote. If you wanna do more to engage in stopping voter suppression and voter intimidation, visit civilrights.org and join us in the fight.
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Thank you for listening to Pod for the Cause, the official podcast of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Leadership Conference Education Fund. For more information, please visit civilrights.org, and to connect with me, hit me up on Twitter @podforthecause. Be sure to subscribe to our show on your favorite podcast app, and leave a five-star review. Until then, for Pod for the Cause, I’m Ashley Allison, and remember – a cause is nothing without the people.