Connected by their TFA experience and compassion for Baltimore, Ateira Griffin (Baltimore ’11) and Salimah Jasani (Baltimore ’14) launched an inspiring new podcast, Point of Hue. Learn how they are elevating the voices of Baltimore.
February 26, 2018
What led you to start Point of Hue? How did your Teach For America experience influence it?
Salimah: Ateira and I have spent a lot of time getting to know one another through Teach For America (TFA) and programs affiliated with TFA, such as Baltimoreans for Educational Equity and Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). Last summer I participated in LEE’s summer fellowship program where I had the opportunity to work with Ateira in Councilman Zeke Cohen’s office. It was during this time that we really began to have conversations about our experiences as women of color.
Ateira: We began to share similar experiences in a variety of situations, which made us reflect on what it means to be a woman of color in today’s society. From there, we began to explore the idea of launching our own podcast that would highlight these experiences and how people can find commonality across lines of difference.
What success have you seen with the podcast so far?
Ateira: We’re on our fourth episode and we’ve had over 300 downloads since launching January 1. It’s really exciting for both of us, because we have listeners across Baltimore and the United States.
Salimah: We wanted to make sure that even though this is a podcast about the experience of women of color, people from all different backgrounds could tune in to learn and even relate to the various topics we discuss.
How is your project impacting students, families, and the community?
Salimah: Through the podcast, we can elevate the voices of our students and have their messages heard by our listeners. For example, at the school where I teach we have a large DACA population. Despite the uncertainties of their futures, my students continue to show up every day. These are the stories that Baltimore needs to hear and know.
Ateira: There are many podcasts that exist, but very few provide opportunities for students of color, especially young women of color, to share their voices. We need to show young women of color that they are part of the story of Baltimore; that their experiences and feelings are valued, and that we see them as a partner in this important work. Along with students, we want to give voice to the people of Baltimore. So often the media shows Baltimore in a negative light. The people we bring to the podcast speak of the greatness of Baltimore; they’re the people working every day to serve the communities. And it’s important that their stories are heard so that we can support them and bring attention to the amazing work happening in Baltimore.
How do you see this project as part of the movement towards ending educational inequity?
Salimah: In our first episode, we interviewed TFA alumna Dena Robinson, who discussed with us the need to talk about inequity towards young girls of color in schools. Dena has significant experience in restorative justice and differentiating how women of color experience violence and racism. I believe we’ve done a lot of work in talking about racism, but we haven’t explored as deeply racism and the effects on gender. Because our students experience school differently due to their gender, it’s important that we discuss inequity across gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
Ateira: Any time there are teachers in the room, educational equity is going to come up. What’s different about Point of Hue is that our conversations are raw; we show people what is really happening in schools and how we can work together to ensure all students can be college and career ready. This podcast is opening the discussion to people who may not really understand the value of our teachers and a truly equitable education. As social justice advocates, we have a duty to highlight the inequities in education and how they can be fixed. Through Point of Hue, we can give voice to our teachers and students.
Salimah: One thing that TFA has done really well is that through the program, we’re encouraged to understand our identity and how it impacts everything we do, especially when we think about how the identity of our teachers play out in classrooms. As a woman of color who teaches majority students of color, I ensure that every day my students’ identities are affirmed and valued. Through Point of Hue, Ateira and I are very open about our identities and how we show up every day. Our hope, especially for teachers in Baltimore who are not African American but are working with mostly African American students, is that through listening to the podcast and recognizing how vulnerable we are being, they too will be vulnerable and acknowledge their identity and how it can impact students.
Tune in every other week and join the conversation at pointofhuepodcast.com.