The root causes of migration vary widely. Some people migrate and return to their homes depending on the season. While others migrate and never return. Often, people are forced to leave or flee their homes indefinitely because of poverty, extreme environmental events, armed conflict, social strife, political turmoil, and economic hardships.

On this edition of Making Contact, we hear stories from Central American migrants that take on oppressive debts or face challenges in schools in the U.S. We also hear from Cuban migrants stuck in limbo on the route to the U.S.

Direct download: MakingCon_160525_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52am PDT

We often hear from the upper middle class, educated youth of Iran complaining about the dictatorship. But what about the majority of youth, the working class young people who live in South Tehran and similar neighborhoods?

Reese Erlich explores how young people compare President Rouhani’s government with the populist rule of Ahmadinejad. We’ll also hear about how they are responding to conservative hardliners who are tapping into frustrations with high unemployment, and threatening to cancel the nuclear deal.

Thank you to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for granting Reese Erlich funding to produce this piece.

Direct download: MakingCon_160518.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41pm PDT

In 1973 the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade established the legal right to abortion in the United States. Since then, state legislative and executive bodies have battled to restrict access to abortions. Federal law banned the use of federal funds for most abortions in 1977, and public funding for abortion remains a contested issue.

One recent study in Texas found that more than 200,000 women performed abortions on themselves because they weren’t able to find clinical services. From restrictive laws to a lack of information to violent attacks, the blocking of abortion access is eroding the reproductive rights of women.

On this edition, we hear from women at the New Orleans Abortion Fund and Ibis Reproductive Health, as well as experiences from a doctor who provides abortions and a woman that sought abortion access in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Jessie Nieblas, New Orleans Abortion Fund
  • Liza Fuentes, Ibis Reproductive Health
  • Natalie, teacher in New Orleans
  • Diary excerpt from Dr. Susan Wicklund, an abortion provider under attack, as performed for Making Contact by Words of Choice with Actor Claudia Scheider, Directed by Francesca Mantani Arkus,Created and Produced by Cindy Cooper
Direct download: MakingCon_160511_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Among the effects of climate change are more extreme weather events, such as Typhoon Haiyan, Superstorm Sandy, and a severe drought stretching across much of the Western United States. On this edition of Making Contact we’ll take a deeper look at the social and psychological impacts of climate change, and the weight of inaction.

  • Niki Stanley and Derice Klass, Far Rockaway residents
  • Zardos V. Abela, firefighter for the Bureau of Fire Protection in Tacloban, Philippines
  • Abigail Gewirtz,  psychologist at the University of Minnesota
  • Stephan Wasik, Valley Fire survivor
  • Jeff Keenan, Valley Fire survivor
  • Erica Petersen, Valley Fire survivor
  • Manuel Orozco, Behavioral Health Fiscal Manager, Lake County Behavioral Health.
Direct download: afterdisaster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Hollywood has had a long history of whitewashing and stereotyping different groups –from brownface to blackface and yellowface. For Arabs and Muslims, persistent clichés throughout Hollywood’s history range from desert scenes with camels and palm trees, and characters cast as barbaric villains, belly dancers, or terrorists among others.

On this edition of Making Contact we’ll meet people confronting racist depictions of Muslims and Arabs in pop culture and politics; and two young women evaluating societal expectations placed on them.

  • Diana Kalaji, student at University of San Francisco
  • Moustafa Bayoumi, author of “This Muslim American Life, Dispatches from the War on Terror.”
Direct download: MakingCon_160427_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Immigration comes up in every U.S. presidential election cycle. It’s been that way pretty much since the dawning of the country. In keeping with that national tradition, immigrants throughout history have also been the target of racist rhetoric and efforts to exclude them from voting and political influence.

And the 2016 elections have proven no different.

This edition of Making Contact is Part I of our special series examining how immigrants are responding and participating in elections and politics today.

From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan, we’ll meet immigrant communities upholding democracy. We’ll also have a conversation with the Brennan Center for Justice President and author of the Fight to Vote, Michael Waldman about how immigrants throughout history have expanded the right to vote.

Direct download: MakingCon_160420_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

The vast majority of care recipients are exclusively receiving unpaid care from a family member, friend, or neighbor. The rest receive a combination of family care and paid assistance, or exclusively paid formal care.

Whether you’re a paid home care provider, or rely on personal assistance to meet your daily needs, or a family member caring for a loved one, the nature of the working relationship depends on mutual respect and dignity. On this edition of Making Contact, we’ll explore the dynamic and complex relationship of care receiving and giving.


  • Camille Christian, home care provider and SEIU member
  • Brenda Jackson, home care provider and SEIU member
  • Patty Berne, co-founder and director, Sins Invalid
  • Jessica Lehman, executive director, San Francisco Senior and Disability Action
  • Kenzi Robi, president, San Francisco IHSS (In Home Supportive Services) Public Authority Governing Body
  • Rachel Stewart, queer disabled woman passionate about disability and employment issues
  • Alana Theriault, disability benefits counselor in Berkeley, California
  • Ingrid Tischer, director of development, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
  • Alta Mae Stevens, in-home caregiver
Direct download: MakingCon_160413_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

It’s something many of us take for granted: access to clean drinking water. But for many Americans it’s not something they can rely on.  From chemical spills in  West Virginia to ecoli in the water on the Texas-Mexico border, to contamination from farming in California. On this edition, we hear what happens when there’s not a drop to drink.

  • Angela Walker, Charleston resident
  • Neena Satija, environment reporter Texas Tribune
  • Daisy Gonzalez and Vicente Lara, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
  • Horacio Amezquita, resident San Jerado
Direct download: notadrop.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Los Angeles’ garment district is notorious for sweatshop conditions, abuse, and the outright theft of earned wages.  Yet the name-brand clothes that some of us are wearing right now, may have been produced in factories like these. On this edition of Making Contact we’ll take you on a trip through LA’s garment district.

Direct download: MakingCon_160330_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am PDT

In 2012, fast food workers in NYC kicked off a movement that has exceeded all expectations, and changed the conversation about the minimum wage.

On this edition, low paid workers tell the story of the fight for 15, the exploding nationwide movement for fair wages.


  • Alvin Major, KFC employee and original NYC striker
  • Richard Wilson, Walmart employee
  • Bernardo Monteo, Chanda Roberts, Jayla Mosley; fast food workers
  • Mary Kay Henry, SEIU President
  • Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
  • Thomas Geoghegan, author of “Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs A New Kind of Labor Movement“
Direct download: lowwage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT





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