Untold Stories: Highlighting the ongoing work of Americans amidst a pandemic

Episode 05 - July 9, 2020

There are so many stories across the news these days, focused on the ebb and flow of a global pandemic and how folks are responding. It’s crucial during this period to not only stay informed, but also highlight the important work individuals across our country are doing to help that may go unnoticed. In this week’s episode of Onward On-Air, host Jake Soberal chats with Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor at Southerly, about her experience running an online publication dedicated to amplifying the underrepresented voices of the American South, and Galiana Fajardo, Portfolio Manager at the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), about working in venture philanthropy and helping mission-driven businesses navigate a way forward during the ongoing pandemic.


  • Lyndsey Gilpin, Founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly

    Founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly

  • Galiana Fajardo, Senior Portfolio Manager at REDF

    Senior Portfolio Manager at REDF


OOA Episode 05

Jake Soberal: [00:00:00] welcome to onward on air. I'm your host, Jake Soberal as we began preparing for today's episode, and even this intro, it occurred to the team that produces the show. And I, that we are more than 100 days into this really, really complicated and difficult moment. And things seem to be compounding from the COVID-19 pandemic to the resulting economic collapse, and even the parallel events of the murder of George Floyd and racial inequities in our country being laid bare and made really, really painful.
[00:00:45] The moment is getting heavy and that heaviness is being felt in a variety of different ways in communities around our country. I think what we've heard from the guests on the show is. Is both a hopefulness that there is a way forward that we can do better, but also a realism of just how hard and big this moment is.
[00:01:03] On the ground. And today we're going to take a chance to zoom in. We're going to visit with two individuals doing extraordinary work close to the ground and communities around our country. Beginning with Lindsay Gilpin of southernly Lindsay's work concentrates on storytelling in the American South, and while her and her team might not tell the same stories that appear on the front page of the New York times, the work that they're doing and the things that they're covering are every bit as relevant to this moment.
[00:01:29] We also have the opportunity to visit with Galiana at the hardo of red F red F focuses on supporting social entrepreneurs throughout the United States with a specific focus area of individuals that have the highest barrier to employment. Those who finding their way back to work in this moment might be the most difficult.
[00:01:49] The work that these two do is so important and so inspiring, really excited for these conversations. We're thinking you're going to enjoy them. Let's get started. So I am really, really interested in what it feels like in this moment to be the founder of a startup content journalism. I don't know how you guys would, would frame that, but it's a complicated time to be starting something new in that space.
[00:02:15] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:02:15] Yeah. Yeah, it is. It's, uh, exciting and terrifying at the same time. So I, um, I started southerly right after I moved back from out West. I was at a magazine called high country news as a fellow when 2016 doing some investigative journalism and I loved it out there. It was in rural Colorado. It was in 2016 during the.
[00:02:38] The presidential campaign it's election. And so I just got, I knew I wanted to come home eventually, but thought I was going like, do my, do my thing out in California or something for a while, you know, as one young 20 something does. And I basically had this moment where I just realized. I was very angry with how the South was being portrayed in the media, you know, just like labeled as a monolith, sort of like Trump country in general, that there was no nuances in the coverage of Appalachia versus, you know, the Gulf South or Florida or wherever it was.
[00:03:11] It was just kind of like, these are all people that are at fault for the state that our country is in. And so I knew there were a lot of environmental stories to be told in the South in general. So I decided to move home and start freelancing about. Environmental justice, climate change, that sort of thing.
[00:03:25] And then I started southerly as a newsletter just to sort of start to learn more myself and see what kind of coverage was out there and start to like gauge whether people would be interested in, in a publication that would cover, cover these issues. So I'm back to Louisville cause that's where I'm from and where my family is.
[00:03:42] And Lulu is about like as far North, as southerly, like covers, you know, it's like right on the border of Indiana. So it's like, um, I mean, we cover West Virginia as well, but, uh, sort of like the, the Appalachia is kind of the tip of what we're looking at geographically and yeah, and just started freelancing and learning more and trying to connect with foundations and like going to conferences and just trying to become an authority sort of on environmental issues in the South.
[00:04:05] And then, and then launched southerly as a publication in 2018, the summer of 2018. With a small grant to just cover a series of stories. Like I was reporting and writing them along with a friend of mine who does some video work and I kind of found a freelancer and then it just sort of snowballed from there.
[00:04:22] And I started covering more. More of these issues from around the region and hiring freelancers. So that's sort of how it's grown since then. I guess
[00:04:31] Jake Soberal: [00:04:31] it's a really, really interesting lens. How did you settle on? I think it's right. The environment justice and what's the third category
[00:04:39] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:04:39] culture. One of the things that I felt really strongly about from the beginning was a regional publication because a lot of other regions in the country have publications.
[00:04:49] Like the high country news, where I was at was covering the American West. Um, so everything from like tribal issues to the environment to politics. And I realize in the Midwest has a couple of versions of this. And I realized that the South has some of these, more of them have come along in the last five years or so bitter southerner.
[00:05:09] Is one of them and they're based in Georgia and scallywag, which is also in North Carolina. But most of the writing about the South as a region was more about food or just culture in general music, food. It's kind of the things that the South is known for. Right. I, and I realized that there was nobody.
[00:05:28] Really consistently covering the environment or how people interact with their natural environment, with the parts that are changing because of climate change. Even though most of the people in the, you know, the people in the South along the coast are in low income communities and communities of color are the ones that are bearing the brunt.
[00:05:44] Of the changes that are happening, right? So they're, you know, the ones that are getting hit by hurricanes, the ones that are near coal Ash ponds, the ones that are near the petrochemical facilities along the Gulf coast. And I just sort of saw a huge gap that I thought could be filled by. Starting a regional publication and then also really wanted to help connect the dots between different parts of the South.
[00:06:07] Because I think so often it's either, like I said, blanketed as this huge region, that's very, it's all the same. And there's, you know, there's no differences in how anyone votes or what anyone does or people are feel, especially in rural communities in the South, feel really isolated in sort of their own struggles, whether it's like trying to get clean water or fight off of a new coal plant or a new oil and gas facility.
[00:06:28] And I sort of wanted to show. With southerly, that there are more similarities between these places and the people that live in them than differences, because we're all sort of dealing with similar, you know, monopolies that are occurring with their utilities or the industries, or a lot of them are dealing with extractive industries or other companies that are exploiting labor, things like that.
[00:06:52] So I sort of wanted to draw those connections and I saw that there was kind of a real hunger for. A publication that showed how the environment is related to everything else, not just like this thing siloed over here, that we can just cover every once in a while. And that it's increasingly becoming all intertwined, I think.
[00:07:11] Jake Soberal: [00:07:11] And I wonder your, your sort of assessment of the South in this moment. And I think, you know, important to acknowledge. Your frame at the outset here is it's not one thing. It wasn't one thing the day before the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. It's not one thing the day after, what are the different storylines that you see emerging as representative of the experience in the South right now in this really, really complicated stretch.
[00:07:35] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:07:35] One of the biggest things I realized after a couple of weeks and started assigning stories around was that after the pandemic started. There are so many communities in the South that are already struggling or dealing with, or have dealt with disaster, like natural disaster. So hurricanes or tornadoes I'm like right before the pandemic happened.
[00:07:53] Nashville. I don't know if you remember, got hit really hard with a, with a tornado. And so did some of the rural places around it and that happened. And then like a week later, the pandemic happened and it's. And then everyone sort of forgot about it. And that just happens over and over again in the South.
[00:08:06] So there are still communities along the Florida panhandle that are trying to recover from hurricane Michael two years ago and are still living in intense or in FEMA trailers because they can't get money to get their homes fixed. And so I started like finding those storylines and finding writers who were in those areas.
[00:08:24] So along the Gulf coast or in North Eastern North Carolina that were in communities or could access communities that have. Been sort of like struggling with how to recover from something only to have the pandemic sort of take more of those resources away or you see, there's been a lot of stories about how community groups or just longtime residents that have sort of been fighting environmental injustices for a long time.
[00:08:49] That they're. Now sort of able to tie those injustices into how the like black communities are, have had higher death rates in parts of the rural South, from COVID-19 and you know, their life expectancies are shorter in a lot of these communities where they're surrounded by petrochemical plants or other industrial facilities.
[00:09:07] And so. It's really kind of tying together the fact that the injustices that, that we sort of have been covering for the last two years, showing that communities of color at a higher risk of a lot of these public health issues that like that's only exacerbated right now.
[00:09:23] Jake Soberal: [00:09:23] And totally, I wonder what you think causes the deep connection between.
[00:09:29] Southerners. And I think this is broadly true and place because as you talk about it, there are a few parts of United States where the actual land and air around you is crueler to the inhabitant than in the American South. I mean, you have flooding, you have tornadoes, you have hurricanes and you have them every year.
[00:09:47] It's not this isn't like in California, where we have an earthquake. Once every decade, that being said in leaving California to go to the us to go to North Carolina in particular, we have in California, this different sort of connection, like, yeah, I think people do care about their community, but by and large, I think we view ourselves as pretty mobile.
[00:10:05] I can move to this place or that place. And I don't have this great affinity for the dirt beneath my feet, but the South is the opposite. There, there are these. Very challenging environments, these cities, that lack resources, that fundamental healthcare and education and those sorts of things, and people just care deeply to them.
[00:10:23] They're deeply rooted there. What do you think causes that connection to be so different in the South and other parts of the country?
[00:10:28] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:10:28] I feel like this is just the turnoff question and I'm trying to figure out it amazes me because I feel like for so long, especially when I was at West, like, I didn't even know what the Bureau of land management was or like what the forest service did.
[00:10:42] Like, I, I had never even thought about national parks really. There's like, I've been to like one national park and didn't even know that I was in a national park in Kentucky. And so when I went out West, I just realized like, Oh, It sort of feels like I've been separated from this connection to like literal land to landscapes and because they're protected out West and they're not so protect most, most of the South is not protected.
[00:11:06] Right. It's been, it's been heavily extracted from, by the coal industry or the fossil fuel industry in general. And, um, our logging, whatever that. I think has persisted that southerners it's actually the opposite. I think that is persistent. That southerners don't care about their environment because Oh, all of this has happened to it because the mountains have been blown to pieces for coal.
[00:11:26] No one really cares about protecting it. And that's, I've just found that to be like, you're saying like, people are just incredibly attached to their sense of place here. And I think part of the reason is because of that, because it's been exploited over and over again. It's like in every corner of the South.
[00:11:42] And, um, like I just read a book on the Gulf coast and I didn't realize that since basically since the Gulf coast was colonized, people have been using it for industry, like, or the military, or, you know, with paper mills and then the oil and gas industry started. So like, just so long ago, just started.
[00:11:59] Barreling through these communities and polluting their water. It's just like, we never really stood a chance in this region to protect that land. And so I think that's part of it is that people feel really connected to their place because they're trying to hold on to it and they have for generations.
[00:12:13] I also think of another part of it is that like the South is, you know, the most economically distressed part of the country. So people, most people can't move, especially in the rural South, just can't pick up and leave. So even if there are, even if, you know, there's a company coming and trying to take their land or, you know, a pipeline's coming through nearby, they can't even when I would write stories for national publications, sometimes it was like, well, the question was always okay, why don't people move?
[00:12:38] You know, if it's so bad, why don't people move? And I think that. That's just such a terrible question because there's a million reasons why people can't move most notably their financial situation, but it's also like they have been through so much that I think it's hard to tell people that, Hey, your land is just being swallowed up in Louisiana by sea level rise, like go find a new home.
[00:12:58] And I think like that, it's sort of like, Pushing down on people even more now. And their kind of reaction is like, no, I'm going to stay right. Like it, which is a reaction that doesn't surprise me, but it's, but it's, it's just really interesting to see that relationship change, change, or start to change when people are realizing that, you know, there are places that we might not be able to save.
[00:13:18] We might have to move because the South is a lot of, it's going to, parts of it are going to be under water. So what do you do? And another part of it, I think. Just one more thing on that is just the fact that because there is such a, a strong and large population of growing population of Latin X people, and then, and immigrants, and then also just a huge black population that has been here since slavery.
[00:13:44] And, you know, the descendants of those people that don't necessarily have, have their own land to build wealth off of. They're still kind of. It kind of stuck in this cycle of, of not being able to get money and then move on to another place or, or start their own businesses or whatever it is. And I think that that's another important part too, is like the, just the racial disparities kind of keep, keep the South where it's at, rather than like allowing it to, to progress economically and socially.
[00:14:12] Jake Soberal: [00:14:12] I'm interested in shifting a little bit to that frame of. Race and justice in the South as an outsider, I came to the South, of course, as a college student. And there was a really interesting experience of, so I don't look at, I lack the melanin, but my grandmother came here illegally from Mexico. So my father was first generation American.
[00:14:29] And, and so when I was enrolling in college, I would, you know, listed, I identify as Hispanic. And so at Carolina, what that did is there was this early a M. Orientation for minority students. And so I, I, I was looking to get out of the house. And so I, yeah, I'll go to the earliest possible orientation. So I go to that orientation is, you know, you go there at the university of North Carolina or any, you know, any university in the region, that's going to be a principally black.
[00:14:55] Gathering as a result of that, my, my first friend cluster in the South was exclusively black and I thought they were wonderful friends. Now, the interesting thing in school comes in a couple of weeks ago. The reason I went to the university of North Carolina in large part was to join their rowing team, which is almost exclusively white.
[00:15:12] And so I then run into these like two communities that I feel a part of both after, you know, being a month there. But they think it is the strangest thing of all time that I'm in both and sort of getting that question of why. And it, of course I didn't run into any of like any terrible unkindness or racism in that, in that tension.
[00:15:31] But what did I think revealed to me is there's this really delicate. Piece around race in the South. And I don't know if we're in that moment any longer, but it felt as though it was both a more present issue, but also one that you just don't talk about how close it is to you. And that was strange again, coming from the West where we like to think that we're wholly integrated and that race is less an issue here.
[00:15:57] And so both your having grown up. In the South and, and now having experienced this moment where so much of the inequity is sort of laid bare. I wonder that transition of growing up in experiencing race in the South, where, where it is not protest or not happening all around you to this moment, how would you compare the two and living through the two?
[00:16:20] What are your reactions to it?
[00:16:21] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:16:21] I grew up in Louisville, like I said, and in Louisville is incredibly segregated. Still. Although, I went to a really diverse high school. And then I went to the university of Louisville and hung out with mostly most of my friends were white, but it was still like, you know, obviously a diverse school.
[00:16:38] And I think that it's just amazing to know that like as a privileged white person, I sort of grew up. Not even not even realizing how segregated my own city was. And even now during these protests, I'm sort of learning, learning things about the black community in Louisville. And, um, and also in, you know, in Kentucky more broadly in Appalachia, in, in the history of Appalachia, uh, and in coal mining and all of these things, it just like I'm continually sort of learning from, from.
[00:17:09] Things that I read or hear from friends online. And when I started southerly and, and the how it's gone in the last two years, I've realized how you can't talk about anything in the South without talking about race. You just can't. And. I think that I always knew that, but it's just all the more clear to me now.
[00:17:34] And I don't think like I am not the person. That's why I kind of running a magazine is nice. Like
[00:17:39] Galiana Fajardo: [00:17:39] I don't have to be the person.
[00:17:39] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:17:39] I don't need to be the person that says that. Right? Like I want to hire and am working with black writers who can talk about their experiences in their communities and show why it's impossible to talk about food.
[00:17:55] Or agriculture or climate change or pollution in the South without race. And I think that that work through southerly has made that especially clear. And, and I still think there's a lot of journalism out there that doesn't. Tie those pieces together and yeah, there's like a delicate there. I think there's a delicate balance or maybe not a balance.
[00:18:17] I think it was more of just people. Didn't talk about why re like the climate journalist. Didn't talk about why race racial justice is integral in. Tackling climate change, or you saw stories every once in a while about the communities that are getting sick and getting cancer from pollution in Louisiana and cancer alley, it's all black.
[00:18:37] And there's more, there's a glut of more facilities being proposed in these places. And, and you kind of saw those stories every once in a while. But now I think that it just, the data is there and the, the, you know, the research is there and the stories are there. And now there are more voices telling.
[00:18:53] Telling these things, there are more people telling these stories from the places that they're from or the places they live about the communities that they're a part of. And as an editor of a magazine, I think that is like, that's. One of my missions is to be able to provide that platform because I don't think that it can just happen sort of on like one off stories that people will get the point.
[00:19:13] I think it just really needs to be omnipresent in our coverage. And I think that, I think that that is that's one of the goals of southerly and sort of how I've been thinking about it. And over the last few months, especially as like you said, this is laid bare all the more.
[00:19:28] Jake Soberal: [00:19:28] Yeah. And I feel like the work of southerly recently has taken us to an intersection in the new Orleans sanitation workers strike.
[00:19:36] So you've got environment, you've got race, you've got economic disparity, and now you've got the pandemic layered on top of that. All deeply influential on that story for those that are maybe not familiar, maybe the thumbnail on that story. And of course you could find more on that at southerly, the thumbnail on that story, and maybe how it's embodied a really complex moment sort of completely.
[00:19:59] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:19:59] Yeah, it was so great to have that. I had a photographer that took those photos, pitched that story a couple of weeks ago and I, they're just amazing. So I hope everyone gets a chance to look at them. Um, so a group of hoppers, uh, which are the, the. Mostly guys who jump off the back of garbage trucks and dump the trash into the trucks.
[00:20:19] They're very exhausting job. And they, they went on strike six weeks ago in early may because they were frustrated that they didn't have hazard pay during the pandemic. And that most of them were working four days a week, which meant they only got $10 and 25 cents an hour. And then they also didn't have proper.
[00:20:38] They said they didn't have proper. Personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks. So they, they started striking, but they treated it sorta like a job so that they have been going from like 4:00 AM to 11:00 AM during their normal shift outside of the company that employs them, that the city employees that employs them.
[00:20:53] And they started a union and I have been protesting every day outside in new Orleans and they've also kind of joined other. Other strikes throughout the city, like a bunch of baristas at think at one coffee shop went on strike during the pandemic. And, and so they joined their strike for a while and it's just, it's still ongoing.
[00:21:12] They're still out there. And until I think, joint joining other unions or, um, groups in new Orleans that are striking. But yeah, that story, I think is the perfect, like you said, it's just like the perfect example of how all of this is, is related and really goes to show that, that we can't talk about.
[00:21:30] Anything related to the environment. I mean, I think on the surface, people are like sanitation workers. That's not, I mean, maybe that doesn't seem like an environmental issue, but obviously it is right. And, and it, it also goes to show like how, how deeply intertwined labor and the environment is, I think, and I think that's something that's just now starting to be explored more in journalism is, is that we need to talk about labor movements more.
[00:21:54] And this goes for me too. Like, I feel like I'm just now turning to like, Understand how, just how important the unions are into these, to these T like to hoppers or to sanitation workers or to coal miners, or just how important that is to understanding the work that's being done. Or if we want renewable energy, if we want people to clean up polluted sites, as part of like the green new deal, like we're going to have to figure out.
[00:22:21] How people are going to work and how to keep them safe and how to keep them healthy, you know, not just from a pandemic, but from whatever they may come into contact with on the job and the conversations in the South. So often, because climate change has been so politicized. Oftentimes we have to talk about it and I try to do this a lot in southerly stories too.
[00:22:39] It's like, Make sure that we're talking about it in terms of economics and how it affects people's bank accounts or their families or their farms or whatever it is, rather than just like trying to beat people over the head with science. We're like very clear on the science of climate change, but I, you know, it doesn't really matter to me what people call it.
[00:22:56] If they want to talk about it in terms of like their family or like what their home or, um, how they're personally dealing with flooding, like they're still taking some sort of action. So I think that this, just that story and sort of other things that southerly has covered goes to show like how important it is to sort of meet people where.
[00:23:13] They are, because there's more, they're sort of already in this intersection of all these things and our job as reporters as a, as a magazine is to help people understand that and to explain it so that it makes more sense because it's all incredibly complicated as you know.
[00:23:27] Jake Soberal: [00:23:27] Yeah. And I think with that, we're going to take a quick break.
[00:23:38] zooming out a bit from the, uh, the sanitation strike issue. All of the complexities we have just in talked about, whether it be the pandemic, whether it be racial tensions, laid bare, whether it be, uh, economic injustice and the like in the South, they're all going into hurricane season. I know that you all are following some things on the ground for how communities are readying themselves to deal with both particularly along the Atlantic coast.
[00:24:05] What does that look like?
[00:24:06] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:24:06] Yeah. This has been stressful to sort of watch I actually living in North Carolina. It's the first time I've ever lived, lived in a coastal state or a hurricane state. It's just crazy that. Have that on your mind all the time in this, I mean, I'm sure, you know, from being there this part of the year, and we've just seen how, like I said, because so many people have not recovered from previous storms, you know, there are two we're in North Carolina, Matthew in 2016 and hurricane Florence and 2018.
[00:24:37] And the same thing as the Florida panhandle, like I was. Talking about earlier that folks are still in their home. They're not fixed or they can't find work or whatever it is, things aren't being funded. That's just all the scarier, right? When you're, you're waiting for another storm to possibly hit. And, you know, we've already had what, three named storms this year and two on the Atlantic coast and one on the Gulf coast.
[00:25:00] And, and they weren't, you know, super, super strong, but it's just, it's so early, it's still mid June. And so I think that. We've run some stories on. How emergency managers and other local nonprofit groups are trying to prepare their residents for evacuations, which will be way more complicated. If they're, you know, people have to stay distant.
[00:25:25] If they need to go to a shelter, there's going to be less people fitting in the shelter. There's going to be, have to be masks and gloves and sanitation supplies. And that. Is, you know, obviously very stressful for people on the ground, trying to figure out all those logistics. So that's one big thing and I'm sort of sort of watching and I imagine we'll continue to cover.
[00:25:45] And then another thing is just like having people get information that they need. And I think one of the things. The biggest lessons that I've learned in doing this for the last two years is that sometimes journalists sort of think about these, you know, large scale investigative stories when we're like, we're going to, you know, write 3000 words on like this injustice and like who were holding accountable and all these things.
[00:26:07] And then you talk to people and like that's important, of course, and that's why journalism exists. But you, if you talk to people on the ground, you realize, Oh wow. They just don't even know like who to call. If a storm hits or, you know, like I held a, we held a, um, an event with a bunch of local journalists in Eastern North Carolina.
[00:26:24] And there were a bunch of different groups where they were talking about community efforts to address hurricane recovery. And then there was like an economics group and a housing group and a school group and, or education group. And. Everything came back to hurricane recovery and people were just at the meeting to say, I don't know how to get the money that I'm owed.
[00:26:43] And, and I, I just need you to tell me that because, you know, that's your job and it, it was just really jarring because you realized because of the decline in local journalism and the fact that there are less people covering these things and only coming in, maybe when there is a storm then, or when there is a disaster.
[00:27:01] That people just aren't getting the information that they need. And that's not even to mention like things that aren't translated in Spanish so that the Latin X community can understand what's happening and, and evacuate or prepare for a storm or whatever it is. And so, so I've been thinking a lot about how to best get information out to people, especially in under represented communities, low income communities, rural communities, where.
[00:27:23] They're not getting the information they need, whether that's numbers to call or websites to go to or what to pack, if they're evacuating or like that the pandemic is still going on and they need to figure out how to handle that. And so that is becoming increasingly important to me, I think, to figure out how to get those resources out.
[00:27:39] And, you know, it might not be like the sexiest journalism, but if it's just really important, it's just a public service. I think that is becoming more necessary as we see more of these storms throughout the, throughout the region.
[00:27:50] Jake Soberal: [00:27:50] Yeah. And I think that, I think the work you're doing is, is actually really, really important.
[00:27:55] And I think that you have carved out a unique voice, which is exciting. And with that, a lot of what we've talked about is, is pretty heavy, but in challenging times, I think that that some really positive characters also revealed. And, and so I wonder if, as we close, if there is something that stands out, it could be a couple of things that as we have gotten to observe this.
[00:28:17] Bit of humans being wonderful amidst the last several months in the American South that you can share.
[00:28:24] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:28:24] Yeah. I, and I actually really all of our stories, almost all of our stories look at. How people are responding to these problems, because I think that's much more effective than just throwing like statistics about how terrible things are at people.
[00:28:38] And so I try to get that and get that in everywhere. Although sometimes it's easier than others, but we ran a story that is, has stuck with me from a few, a couple of months ago. I think about a tribe in Louisiana. Uh, that has been dealing with sea level rise in hurricanes for a long, long time, and has pretty much like adapted.
[00:29:01] There's a very young chief and she has helped them adapt their food systems so that like, if they need to retreat from. Water that's coming out a storm surge that's coming in, or if they need to quickly move, move some part of their community that they can do that. So they're like planting and like the things that are movable or they're working on like coastal restoration work on their own because it's slow going at the state legislature.
[00:29:27] That's been really inspiring to see because you see people that. Especially, right, because this is an indigenous community and they have been doing this forever and she has said, we know what we're doing. And in respect to this, like we know the land, we know what the land needs, we know how to kind of adapt to it.
[00:29:45] And, and there's a lot we can learn from that. I think, especially not just in the Gulf coast, but around. The region that there are people that have been dealing with this for a really long time. And just because we didn't know about it doesn't mean they weren't sort of figuring out ways to whether it's climate change or kind of trying to figure out how to change their local economies, things like that.
[00:30:04] It's really inspiring to see, to see how people come together. Especially in these places that have already hit, been hit with disasters or things like that, which is a lot of, a lot of places in the South and rural communities too, where you're, you don't often see the stories coming out of there that are, that are highlighting the really good work to be done.
[00:30:22] So, um, and I think that that's happening even more, you know, during the pandemic, we're seeing how people are coming together and really relying on each other in these tight knit places. And then you see them kind of. Confronting a lot of like during the protest and everything, you know, you're confronting a lot of really difficult issues in their communities, but I think it's just, it's only going to make them stronger.
[00:30:43] And I think there's a lot of good stories to be told out of that.
[00:30:47] Jake Soberal: [00:30:47] Absolutely. And I want to thank you for telling them, uh, thank you so much for making the time to visit with us. We would love to do this again and continue to track your,
[00:30:57] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:30:57] yeah, me too. Thanks so much for having me.
[00:31:07] Jake Soberal: [00:31:07] I am so impressed with the work that Lindsey and her team at southerly are doing in particular. I'd like to come back to this story of the sanitation worker strike in Louisiana, as it involves so many of the issues that we've been unpacking here on the show. We'll transition now to another organization and individual doing extraordinary work near to the ground in Galiana for hardo and red F as you heard in the open red F supports social entrepreneurs, particularly those that are working to remove barriers to entry for folks that have a hard path back to work.
[00:31:38] Let's get started in our interview with Galliano. Uh, so as has been a theme of the work that we've done here with onward on air, uh, we are always interested in bringing the work back here to the central Valley and talking about what's going on in the ground, in the region that Bitwise and the show called home.
[00:31:55] Uh, so today we are really excited to dig in with Galiana for hardo. Uh, who's joining us from orange Cove, not far from Fresno. Hi, Galiana.
[00:32:03] Galiana Fajardo: [00:32:03] Thanks Jake. So I'm Galiana, I am a senior portfolio manager with REDF REDF is a venture philanthropy organization based in San Francisco.
[00:32:11] Jake Soberal: [00:32:11] I think starting there would be helpful to some folks Galiana I think that I know right.
[00:32:15] Red F tends to punch above its weight and influence, although I'm not sure that everybody listening will know exactly what red F's focus is. And so would you start us off by sharing a little bit about red F its core mission and some of the work that you all do?
[00:32:28] Galiana Fajardo: [00:32:28] We are a small but mighty organization.
[00:32:30] We are a venture philanthropy organization focused on providing funding and kind of advisory support to employment, social enterprises and employment, social enterprises. What we consider our. Essentially mission driven businesses that are in the work looking to employ individuals that would otherwise not find employment elsewhere.
[00:32:51] Uh, so you can think of communities like reentering citizens or formerly incarcerated opportunity, youth individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals dealing with substance abuse, trauma.
[00:33:04] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:33:04] And so
[00:33:04] Galiana Fajardo: [00:33:04] red F essentially works, provides grants primarily and loans to businesses. And they in turn are employing individuals that typical traditional businesses don't hire.
[00:33:17] Jake Soberal: [00:33:17] There's a type of organization you've referred to them numerous times, a social enterprise that you all serve and you serve well at multiple different stages. I wonder, you know, uniform and one off what. Are you seeing as the impact of COVID on these organizations in a really uncertain time organizations that probably as an industry are relatively nascent to begin with, what are they wrestling with and how are they doing in this moment?
[00:33:43] Galiana Fajardo: [00:33:43] I know I do use a term a lot. Social enterprise is just new, but I'd say like, thinking of it as mission driven business, they really are, you know, businesses with a mission to employ people.
[00:33:52] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:33:52] And so the
[00:33:53] Galiana Fajardo: [00:33:53] challenges that they're facing are. Varied many. So there's groups that I'm working with that are figuring out how to close down, frankly, that have needed to shut their permanently, shut their doors, just because they just can't face the crisis.
[00:34:06] So how, how do they in a kind of humane way? Try to support their employees, get connected to unemployment benefits, get connected to other jobs. Uh, so there's those kinds of sets of that, that set of group that is really thinking about, look, we can't go another month without any revenue. So we're, we're doing our disservice to our employees.
[00:34:27] So how might we connect them and get them on the right foot? Moving forward, other groups are thinking about kind of how do they reinvent themselves. So. Many of the kind of social enterprises or kind of mission driven businesses, they're restaurants, their cafes, they're catering companies that have seen their contracts, their events, contracts completely lost for the next year.
[00:34:49] Uh, and so they're thinking about like, how do I do a new hire? Is there a new business line? Can I, you know, do. Food deliveries, grocery deliveries.
[00:34:58] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:34:58] And how do I, if I create
[00:34:59] Galiana Fajardo: [00:34:59] that business line, how do I get people to figure out what I'm doing and purchase purchase from me? There are groups that are trying to pivot because their earned revenue stream has completely kind of vanished.
[00:35:10] Um, how do I get connected to philanthropy? You know, like. Because many of these groups do have earned revenue. Oftentimes philanthropy believes that they may not need the support, um, the need, the philanthropic support. And so we're supporting groups thinking about how might we fundraise? How might we come up with a fundraising strategy that approaches philanthropy, your individual donors in order to support them?
[00:35:32] So that's another way. So groups are also thinking about the, actually there's a lot of groups that are actually doing quite well in this economy and this new, in this new reality. And so how do I grow? We are receiving more granola orders than we've ever received. I'm a smaller organization. Like what do I need to invest now that can propel me to the next stage without having to like, invest so much, that is too much for an organization at my size.
[00:35:58] And so. I'd say the challenges run quite, quite the spectrum. So anything from closing to, to actually, you know, how am I growing and how might I be able to grow in a, in a sustainable way. And other challenges are remote learning. We've gotten a lot of our, we've got a lot of questions about like, how do I deliver my program, my program online, you know, frankly, a lot of the folks don't have strong digital literacy skills.
[00:36:24] Don't have great internet. Don't have a laptop at home. And so how do I, how do I kind of engage with my employees and my, and my program participants during this time, that's been a, kind of a huge challenge right now. And then how do I support my employees? Like this is, this is scary. This is. This is unprecedented times in combination with the social movements that are happening around racial equity.
[00:36:50] No. How do I, how do I support my employees? They're stressed. There's trauma. They're scared. How might I create a virtual kind of supportive environment for them to get them through these challenging times? So both I'd say it's on the business side, it's on the kind of mental health wellness side. It's on the programmatic.
[00:37:10] It kind of runs all spectrums at this point in terms of what we're, what we're hearing are the challenges.
[00:37:14] Jake Soberal: [00:37:14] Yeah. And I wonder to what degree there's been some talk of this, do you guys have concern around something of a cliff created by PPP important that the government acted really fast and, and those dollars were really critical to a lot of organizations, but for many that, that put them on life support, they had to sort of spend that money within the required window.
[00:37:35] And there isn't yet any promise of a next wave of that, despite the fact that these organizations are living in the same circumstances for many, their revenue has been turned off and their, their activities have been substantially upset. Do you see a lot of organizations that that will be in the position of the same position that we were able to as a country sort of.
[00:37:54] Subsidize them out of a couple of months ago, again, here in August.
[00:37:58] Galiana Fajardo: [00:37:58] I think so. I mean, that, that is definitely a concern we're hearing, um, a lot. Uh, so we're hearing from groups like, yes, PPP was great, but we more like if this, if we were able to kind of survive this, like March through June crisis, but if we are forced to shut down again, which we're kind of seeing already, but if we're forced to shut down again in the winter come flu season, We are decimated and, and we've heard that consistently, particularly with kind of food venture businesses, that's something that they don't think that they're going to be survive.
[00:38:32] So that's something that we're really thinking hard about is like right now we're seeing, you know, we're, we are seeing a few enterprise few kind of businesses shut down. Unfortunately, what we're, what we're thinking is we'll probably see quite a few more at the end of this year. There is not another kind of wave of stimulus that come comes through.
[00:38:54] Jake Soberal: [00:38:54] And I wonder too, you are in by virtue of your role at, at red F the variety of different geographies. You guys are funding virtually nationally, if not actually nationally. And so you, I imagine are seeing people and organizations at different stages in this, and that's one of the strangest things to me.
[00:39:12] Where we're sitting in, in the San Joaquin Valley is currently experiencing our most significant surge yet, right? It is. The pandemic is worse today in, in the San Joaquin Valley than at any point prior, whereas in places on the East coast and even in the Midwest, the view is that they're past their peak.
[00:39:30] And they're certainly seeing a decline in cases in the, like, how are you guys navigating that as an organization you're almost supporting or social enterprise that are living in completely different realities.
[00:39:41] Galiana Fajardo: [00:39:41] We don't know, we don't have the answers. And so we're realizing that we need to leverage the groups.
[00:39:47] The groups on the ground are really the ones that know. And so we've been organizing a lot of calls between leaders a month from different geographies, from different industries and similar industries to have those conversations about precisely what we're calling it like reopening conversations. And what we're seeing is that.
[00:40:04] At least back a couple of weeks ago, Texas was sharing their practices on how to reopen and how to appropriately reopening and sharing that with groups actually here, here, here in San Joaquin Valley and giving them tips on how to do so. So in a way, bringing groups together from different States that are in different phases of reopening and supporting each other is the, the way that we have found to be at least.
[00:40:27] Somewhat helpful to, to our community because everyone is in different stages. But what we've seen is that there's been tons of, kind of pollination across our community, some ideas from Portland or getting transferred over to Boston, Boston over to Portland and so on. And I think that's what we're leveraging is our community in order to help answer some of those questions.
[00:40:49] Jake Soberal: [00:40:49] Yeah. And I think the, the, an area of common focus is so at Bitwise industries, we teach people technical skills that they need to connect to opportunity. The folks that we target though, are individuals coming from a similar, if not the same context that you all endeavor to serve. You guys use the terminology and I really like it.
[00:41:08] It's the, uh, employment for those, with the highest barriers to employment. We talk constantly about reaching folks who are historically excluded in the technology industry. And I would say that one of the things that I am most bothered by in this moment is, is it does feel as though industry at large is.
[00:41:26] Beginning to almost, uh, pull back on its diversity hiring goals on its schools, around hiring folks who are, have been marginalized or excluded folks who have huge barriers to entry. And we're seeing that in the technology industry of, yeah, we're hiring developers, but, but maybe not those developers right now as though it's a thing that we can put down and come back to when times are easier.
[00:41:47] Are you seeing anything SIM similar? Are you, and are you guys combating that with any success?
[00:41:54] Galiana Fajardo: [00:41:54] So I haven't had any specific anecdotal evidence that I've heard, but I know that that's something that has been reoccurring in our past. And so prior to, during the kind of recession recovery of the session, we were seeing a lot of employers.
[00:42:10] Very hesitant to hire from, but, you know, from, from communities that have higher barriers and then as the recession recovered, and there was very low unemployment rate and everyone was really excited to hire and coming towards red F to hire from working with our social enterprises to hire from those enterprises.
[00:42:28] And I can certainly see foresee that that, um, because high end employment there. There's going to be some creaming probably, and those employers are not necessarily going to go towards a, you know, working to hire some of the, some of the individuals that we are beneficiaries of the social enterprises that we work with, how we've combated that and how it will continue to do that is through our, a lot of our policy work.
[00:42:51] So we. Work, um, quite a, quite a lot. I'm thinking about the beneficiary
[00:42:57] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:42:57] or the
[00:42:57] Galiana Fajardo: [00:42:57] individuals that really are benefit from our social enterprises and how might we reshape, uh, legislation to encourage employers to hire, um, from the. From this kind of this population with incentives. So I'd say we haven't, I haven't necessarily heard that now, but I definitely see that that can, that will be happening.
[00:43:18] Um, but I know in our past we really like leaned on our policy arm to, to do that.
[00:43:24] Jake Soberal: [00:43:24] Yeah. And what is the policy focus of red F or the multiple of them that, that are taking center stage right now?
[00:43:31] Galiana Fajardo: [00:43:31] Right now we believe that so transitional jobs or, uh, kind of these temporary jobs are going to be key to kind of the recovery and part of the COVID COVID recovery.
[00:43:41] And so we're working with some senators from multiple States to think about how do we make transitional jobs as something that is more funding towards the transitional jobs? So that's been a focus, um, and thinking about how might we kind of integrate that and potentially the new, uh, stimulus package.
[00:43:58] And, uh, in, in addition to that, we are still working on thinking about how do we reduce the barriers that individuals face towards, uh, towards getting hired. So, um, we actually are a law that we help support, but we helped, right. And support just went into, went into place, uh, last week where it eliminates.
[00:44:19] Um, on some occupational light. So some occupations require some licensing and prevents people with certain backgrounds, criminal backgrounds from getting those licenses. And we are able to kind of adjust or revise the language to allow for more occupations to allow hiring from individuals that have, that have a criminal background.
[00:44:40] So that's another way I think that we're, we're trying to kind of get more people into the workforce. Get more people connected, connected to employment.
[00:44:47] Jake Soberal: [00:44:47] That's super important. And now you said a policy team of one is working with this, is that at the federal level or the state level
[00:44:53] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:44:53] state? Primarily right now?
[00:44:55] Galiana Fajardo: [00:44:55] Um, yeah, the state level right now, our, our, our, so our CEO, Carla. She's great. She's. She doesn't sleep. And she's also part of that, part of that work. Um, but yeah, we only have a policy team of one. I also say that, um, another thing that we're doing is procurement. So building in language at the we're really worked right now at the city and County level to encourage.
[00:45:16] Uh, city and County governments to procure from a social enterprises are mission driven businesses. Uh, so there is often language that are that's there for minority owned businesses, but not language. There's usually no language there that that provides preference or additional points to businesses that are really hiring.
[00:45:37] From the community, really hiring, um, individuals that have, you know, have high barriers to employment. So we've done that actually in LA County. And we are looking to do that in other counties as well.
[00:45:47] Jake Soberal: [00:45:47] Yeah, I think that's, that's so important and people underestimate not just the commercial impact that social enterprise could experience positive new revenue, right?
[00:45:56] The city of Fresno buys from a local social enterprise, but also with the way that. Serve as a validator for doing that, expanding that work with other customers. And so that is super, super interesting. And so that went into effect in LA is far enough away from that to, to have any insight into what sort of buying that is driven or even anecdotally organizations you all work with that have been able to benefit from that.
[00:46:20] Galiana Fajardo: [00:46:20] I know organizations have. There's a group that I work with actually that has been, been able to get contracts because of it in terms of numbers. I don't have those numbers for you, but I can certainly provide, provide the math afterwards about impact. I'd say though, that one challenge of that is that getting government contracts is really hard and complicated.
[00:46:37] And so we've after we helped kind of support this language of including employment, social enterprises into kind of this contract renewal kind of. Contract preferences. We had to provide technical assistance and capacity building to the groups down in LA to help them get those, apply to those contracts and get those contracts because it's really complicated.
[00:46:56] So it was a work in progress. I think this happened over like two to three years ago and it took like a whole year for us to like build the capacity of our groups, to get them to get access to it. Get people get like within government to know that this was a preference so that they start looking for looking towards.
[00:47:12] Social enterprises. So it was a work in progress, but it's been a success, but it just took a little longer than we kind of anticipated.
[00:47:19] Jake Soberal: [00:47:19] Yeah. One of the things that, um, sometimes sort of falls off of our radar, but I think is, is really central in the work that you all are doing. You all, we talked about the language that you use around serving those, uh, in reaching employment who have the highest.
[00:47:35] Barriers to employment and they are being served by organizations that are deeply impacted by the economic impacts of a pandemic. Those organizations, the people they serve are also directly in the cross hairs of the, how we are being forced to reckon with a systemic racial inequity and in, in our country.
[00:47:55] Um, uh, and, and so we're asking folks to. To climb a very, very difficult, if not impossible ladder into employment, that's facilitated by individuals who care deeply and are usually of that country. And they're deeply hurting as a result of what they are seeing in their country. With racial inequities, laid bare.
[00:48:14] How is some of that sort of percolating up in, in your work and how are you all supporting the, the individuals that you work with in, in wrestling with this really complicated moment?
[00:48:28] Galiana Fajardo: [00:48:28] It's been challenging. So, so groups I say we're right now, kind of doubling down on, on leaders of color, um, and really providing them fig finding ways.
[00:48:39] To try to support them, um, in this challenging time. So in addition to them leading a, a model, having a business model that is, is hard. So you're basically this business model is about hiring people that no one else was hire and try to make be profitable on it. So that's hard on itself. And then now with COVID and now with these, you know, the trauma that they're seeing their beneficiaries face and, and the racial equity they're facing is just is, is just a lot.
[00:49:06] And so.
[00:49:07] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:49:07] We have been
[00:49:08] Galiana Fajardo: [00:49:08] thinking we have a lot of work to do on this, um, by no means, are we the experts in this at all? Um, but we're trying to find ways to support, uh, particularly leaders of color of the social enterprises, um, and try to bring them the resources. So we are. Um, in a couple of weeks, actually convening a private group of individual leaders that identify as a person of color and bringing them together to think, think through these challenges.
[00:49:33] And from there, we're really hopeful to listen and, and hear how might we be able to support to support them moving forward. We've been even before these protests and manifestations, we've been. Thinking about how do we diversify our pipeline? The people that apply to our program tend to be the same people from the same communities.
[00:49:54] And we really need, we want more individuals, more people of color, more individuals with lived experience to know about REDF and to apply and get access to our resources. And we recognize that we need to do a better job of doing outreach. And so we've been. Working on figuring out what is our strategy and diversifying our, our outreach.
[00:50:15] And so we're kind of in the midst of that right now. So I'd say part of it is outreach. Part of it is learning from the communities that we already know and the leaders of color that we already know and bringing them together and figuring out from listening and saying like, how can we be more supportive toward you?
[00:50:31] And how might we build a better read F a to support you? And then re-imagining, how are. Our future is.
[00:50:38] Jake Soberal: [00:50:38] Yeah, so, so we, we have a pandemic, we have, uh, an economic collapse. We have systemic, uh, racial inequities laid bare. It's really, really heavy. Uh, but yeah. Implicit in the work that you do of saying that we're going to build a portfolio of organizations that are going to do the hardest work, um, is that you're also, uh, sort of a riding shotgun in partnership with organizations that are doing remarkable things right now.
[00:51:10] And so what are, what are some of the things that stand out to you as heartening as hopeful that you have seen in these. Last several months, even small anecdotally. Um, and if you need to take a minute to, to, to frame that, that's just fine, but I'm really interested in the wonderful things that you're getting to see by virtue of the work that you do at red F.
[00:51:30] Galiana Fajardo: [00:51:30] So it runs the gamut, I'll say, in terms of like, what are the wonderful things that are people doing? So I mentioned. Some organizations have, and businesses have completely redesigned their business model. So, you know, we were, uh, we were a food, we were a cafe and now we're delivering food or doing janitorial work.
[00:51:48] Uh, it's completely different. So they're completely pivoting being really creative in the way that they respond. Um, they're also, I've seen a lot of leaders being really humble in the, the way that they're responding. And many of the organizations that we work with, actually many of the leaders have.
[00:52:04] Stopped paying themselves cut pay to actually provide, keep their employees kind of their frontline employees employed, even though they're not working, um, so that they can put food on their table. So we've seen that countless times, as we receiving receiving applications for their emergency funding, we saw countless and countless times how many organizations are actually foregoing their own salaries for the benefit of their population.
[00:52:31] Benefit of their beneficiaries. Um, we've seen groups get really creative in providing, um, virtual support to, uh, to their, to their beneficiaries or their program participants. So, you know, doing Facebook lives and Instagram lives to, um, get them excited about certain, certain things and about learning. So I'd say that's.
[00:52:50] Uh, another another point, gosh, groups have relieved kind of put their heel, put their heels in the ground and, uh, really have like really fighting to kind of stay alive. And at the end of the day, I think they are, they've put their business to the side to support their employees. What we've seen, time and time again, organizations are really saying, look, you know, Whatever happens to our business.
[00:53:12] We don't know, but what we want is that we don't want our employees. We don't want our program participants to fall behind. Like they were, they got to this point, it took them a lot to get to this point. Gosh, damn, I'm going to like, keep them, you know, I'm gonna, I'm going to make sure that they don't fall back.
[00:53:28] And that's definitely something that we've.
[00:53:31] Jake Soberal: [00:53:31] Yeah, I think that is so important because the individuals served in the programs that you all support are, are don't have further safety net. There, there is not something waiting to catch them a savings account or family supports or a community that has that sort of capacity.
[00:53:48] Um, in, in too many cases, um, w. Four months ago, probably unfair to ask what, what goals are over the course of the next 12 months against the current context for red AF I think here in this moment, have you all had a chance to process, uh, and, and begin to put definition to. What your goals are organizationally during this, this 12 month, maybe more stretch of time.
[00:54:15] What coming out the other side of the pandemic and recession, um, successfully looks like.
[00:54:21] Galiana Fajardo: [00:54:21] Yeah. So we're so interesting. We. Back in 2019, I kind of led our strategic planning process. And the idea when our idea was we created a five year strategic plan for 2021 through 2025. And this year was our pilot year.
[00:54:36] This kind of test that out. That's gone out the window. Uh, and so we are in the midst of kind of reflecting on that strategic plan and saying like, what's still relevant. What's not, what do we believe the future is gonna look like? And how might we pivot for that, for that future? Um, one of the goals we have right now, I think we're still in the midst of that.
[00:55:00] I think we're, we're not, we're not quite there where we've set goals right now, where to go, where. We're actually in the, in the, in the trenches trying to understand, okay, what have we learned in the last two months? What have we heard from everyone that we've spoken to and kind of gather that data and, and, and build those goals.
[00:55:17] I know one goal is, uh, kind of survival. We want to make sure that, um, we had a sense of how many social enterprises were out there. Pre COVID. We want to make sure that as many survive moving forward. So
[00:55:31] Lyndsey Glipin: [00:55:31] that's,
[00:55:31] Galiana Fajardo: [00:55:31] that's definitely, I think one of, one of our goals, uh, we also don't want to move backwards in terms of job slots.
[00:55:38] So we, over the last five years in our previous strategic plan had been focused on creating jobs and getting people employed. And we want to make sure that, that we don't slip. Back, um, through that and we continue and we continue to grow. Um, another goal is that we want to make sure that the individuals that were employed by many of these social enterprises over these last several years stay employed.
[00:56:02] So, um, and, and continue to have meet some sort of self sufficiency. So we are, I know we are kind of committed to making sure that those folks, those beneficiaries don't fall backwards and they're able to keep and retain, retain those jobs. So. I'd say we're still kind of figuring that out, but I know that kind of those kind of three kind of metrics are something that we are, we are certainly kind of going to focus on, but we need, we have a lot of learning to do.
[00:56:31] Well, you have to have got to predict the future based on what everyone else is trying to predict. And so we'll see how it we'll see how that goes.
[00:56:37] Jake Soberal: [00:56:37] Yeah. And predicting the future in, in, in longer than two week intervals is almost a fool's errand at this point. Um, uh, I'm on a personal note, I'm, I'm interested to know in, in as a professional, in a really exciting role, uh, but also as a human being in a really uncertain time, how you are.
[00:56:59] Coping with the pandemic and again, the economy and, and systemic inequality and, uh, like, uh, what are, what does life look like for you? And what's been, what's been okay and what's been really hard,
[00:57:13] Galiana Fajardo: [00:57:13] so everything everything's hard and at the same time, like I'm very lucky, you know? Um, so pre. Kind of pre the protest and pre George Floyd.
[00:57:26] Um, I'm really thankful that when, when, before the shelter in place happened, I was able to my husband and I packed our bags, kind of foreseeing that things were going to be shut down for awhile. We packed our bags or our two kids. I have a nine month old and a three year old and we came to orange coat to my parents.
[00:57:44] Um, and so I'm really thankful to have my family here to support me. So I can keep my job. Like I I'm really lucky. And at the same time it's been one of the hardest things I've had to do with this is this is really, really tough. I'm having two kiddos at home, um, and trying to try to keep up work. Um, Now that with, with kind of the, kind of the racial injustice have come to light, you know, like, frankly, I'm a person that I've kind of known these things and have been acting.
[00:58:19] I've been an activist since frankly, high school on a lot of these issues. And I'm glad to see that this is finally coming to light and at the same time, it's really disheartening and it's scary. And particularly with kids, um, When you see the reaction towards, um, the kind of the. Reaction towards the black lives matter.
[00:58:39] Um, being, being a Latina, being a, being a person that like my, I speak to Mike, we speak to our kids in Spanish. It may, it's a little scary, you know, frankly, um, being thinking about those scenarios, which we often do is like, Hey, what do we do if you know, we're speaking to two or three year old in Spanish, in a store and we get some negative reaction, what do we do?
[00:59:02] And so. So it's hard. So I'd say like, it's, it's, um, it's really, this, this has been a really trying time at the same time. I know I'm very lucky and I am thankful for the support I have. I'm, you know, I don't, and I don't necessarily, I don't face a lot of the injustices that a lot of particularly black and indigenous communities face.
[00:59:22] And so that's, that's something that I, that I recognize as well. Um, and I'm hopeful. I'm very hopeful that through this, we, um, Through this, a new solution we're kind of rebirth happens and that we can find solutions. Um, there was one question that you had shared about like, what are walking. I shared about innovation and it got me thinking like, what's, what's the, what's the issue within it, or kind of like what, what's the, what's the role of innovation here?
[00:59:49] And I think that, you know, that we. Innovation obviously is something that we're going to need and we're in a new normal. And so, you know, innovation is really critical to us moving forward. Um, new innovation at the same time, I think. Particularly communities of color, marginalized communities have been innovative, innovative, and have had to innovate and really, um, moments of crisis for decades and centuries.
[01:00:14] And so it's really about time that, um, uh, VCs and angel investors and philanthropy really look towards, um, these communities, because I believe that they. Probably already have some of the solutions that we're trying to figure out because they've been having to work through crisis all their lives. So that's just my, kind of my 2 cents on an innovation.
[01:00:36] Jake Soberal: [01:00:36] No, it it's. It's usually important. I think that one of the things we will constantly harp on as we are out in the world, being Bitwise from Fresno, California, um, uh, is that the world has no idea. The level of brilliance and genius that is spending its times in the field of central California, completely disconnected from opportunity.
[01:00:58] That was assumed for me since birth. Um, uh, and, and if, uh, we can be a part of opening that door and connecting that opportunity that, that, that. Talent to opportunity. Um, uh, the problems that are going to be solved quickly are really, really extraordinary and things that, uh, Stanford and Harvard graduates haven't solved in 50 years might go really, really quickly with folks that have, uh, um, spent their days differently.
[01:01:23] Um, so I think that's right.
[01:01:26] Galiana Fajardo: [01:01:26] I absolutely agree.
[01:01:28] Jake Soberal: [01:01:28] Um, uh, Pollyanna, I have really, really enjoyed this conversation and thank you for making the time and thank you for the work that you're doing. Um, uh, I think it is so important and, uh, red F is doing some really, really hard work in a radical way right now.
[01:01:43] And that's really exciting to hear about
[01:01:45] Galiana Fajardo: [01:01:45] thanks, Jake, for letting me be part of this. And I'm really excited to see where Bitwise goes.
[01:01:52] Jake Soberal: [01:01:52] The work that Lindsey and Galliano are doing it southerly and red F respectively is, is really hard. And it is also really important. But for me, I think it points to the reality that. There are so many untold stories across the country that are a meaningful part of our collective way forward. And in this show, there, there's no way we're going to touch on every story or every community.
[01:02:19] But what we hope you're hearing in these conversations are something of a representative guidepost for. Things that are probably going on in your community. Also organizations that are doing important and hard work that perhaps goes unsung. Maybe you heard something in Frieda's remarks or from Olin or today from Lindsay or Galiana.
[01:02:39] And that might lead you to find similar work in your community and support it. Perhaps start similar work in your community. These conversations are so meaningful to us. This work is, is stuff that we aspire to support. Between now, and next week, we hope that you'll share this episode and the others. You can find them all@onwardonair.com and we hope that you'll join us again next week until then take care.
[01:03:07] Onward on
[01:03:08] Galiana Fajardo: [01:03:08] air with Jake's overall was produced by Bitwise industries in association with studio to beat this episode was directed by Gordon Howell and produced by Randy Garrett. The associate producer was Rigo Aguilar. The executive producer is walking Alvarado. This podcast is edited by Chloe bands.