Episode #107: Our city needs to have important conversations

How does racism shape the realities of public education in the United States?  PAYCE Fellow Ala’ Hamamreh (Al-Quds American Studies) talks to Des Moines Public School Board member Dionna Langford about her efforts to address race and class inequalities in her district.  They talk frankly about the problem of white progressives needing to examine their own racism for the District to serve all children.


Episode #103: Phenomenal Woman

In a world full of opportunities, women are told how to present and carry themselves. PAYCE Fellow Alexis Jones’ podcast delves into Dionna Langford’s personal stories of what motivated her to run for School Board. The youngest African-American woman to serve in Des Moines, Dionna offers an enthralling narrative of real-life obstacles she has faced when deciding to run, and how they have helped to shape her perception of what changes need to occur to repair and rebuild Des Moines. Jones is a recent MA recipient from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. She writes that Langford’s story gives her hope.


Episode #101: Dear Future Generations

 PAYCE Fellow Afnan Abbasi (Al-Quds Bard) profiles Des Moines children’s rights advocate Jill Appelgate.  Jill is motivated to fight for children who are vulnerable because they lack a voice in the political process. Afnan reflects on Jill’s story with a commentary on children’s human rights and the ways that we fall short in our obligation to future generations.


#115: We all face adversity

PAYCE Fellow Noura Abughosh (An-Najah National University) hears in local advocate Marlu Abarca’s story the echoes of a Frost poem.  In pushing for a voice for her and others like her, Abarca is pursuing the path less traveled.  Noura describes how Marlu reflects on teen experiences with her family and her move from Los Angeles to Iowa.  For Noura, Marlu overcomes adversity and makes a difference in her city.

Music by Wind Marching for Rain, “Puddle of Infinity”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTcMMFXDYeY



#112: Making local change

Marlu Abarca is a Los Angeles native who moved to Iowa for college in 2010. After moving to Des Moines in 2014, she has gotten involved in civic engagement through local non-profits, like Al Éxito!, volunteering at Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs, and a full-time job at the Des Moines Public Library. PAYCE Fellow Genesis Buckhalton (Drake University) describes how Marlu focuses on local change to bring cultural awareness and to represent the Latino community in Iowa.

“Flauta” from Miente, miente, que algo queda by los tu.l.a. Released: 2018. Track 9. At Free Music Archive.


#110: The kids are all right, right?

When so many powerful interests hold sway in the legislative process, children fall through the cracks. While nobody will oppose the motto “Every Child Matters,” few work actively for these causes. Jill Applegate works for one non-profit in which she speaks up for kids in a tough political environment.  PAYCE Fellow Juli Dajci (University of Hartford) expresses admiration for Jill when compared with peers who are politically apathetic and officials who prioritize differently. He tells how she perseveres while giving young adults a new perspective on being politically active through nonprofit advocacy.


#109: I could add value

At age 18, Josh Hughes learned there was an open seat on his rural school district board.  He stepped up.  A passionate advocate for public education, his service to the board brought a student’s perspective rarely heard. In this audio story, PAYCE Fellow Kelanie Crosswait (Drake University) tells as story based on her and PAYCE Fellow Fatima Hashem’s conversation with Josh.  He shares advice for young adults getting involved in politics – how to keep going when things get tough and to remember the values that motivated public service.  He believes it’s important to advocate for good causes no matter what the outcome.


#107: Our city needs to have important conversations

How does racism shape the realities of public education in the United States?  PAYCE Fellow Ala’ Hamamreh (Al-Quds American Studies) talks to Des Moines Public School Board member Dionna Langford about her efforts to address race and class inequalities in her district.  They talk frankly about the problem of white progressives needing to examine their own racism for the District to serve all children.


#103: Phenomenal Woman

In a world full of opportunities, women are told how to present and carry themselves. PAYCE Fellow Alexis Jones’ podcast delves into Dionna Langford’s personal stories of what motivated her to run for School Board. The youngest African-American woman to serve in Des Moines, Dionna offers an enthralling narrative of real-life obstacles she has faced when deciding to run, and how they have helped to shape her perception of what changes need to occur to repair and rebuild Des Moines. Jones is a recent MA recipient from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. She writes that Langford’s story gives her hope.