About Our Podcast

Reimagining Higher Education’s Role in Social Justice.

Real Talk’s first episode was released in October of 2020, during the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing. Our podcast was born from the desire to amplify the voices in our own university’s multicultural and marginalized communities. This mission has become increasingly critical as universities across the country come to terms with their failure to substantially address systemic bias and racism in higher education.

The podcast’s first episode, “Starting the Conversation,” featured Diane Ariza and Southern alumna Shanté Hanks, the Deputy Commissioner of Housing in Connecticut. Ariza and Hanks hosted all seven episodes of Season One, leaning on professional staff and faculty to cover health, politics, culture, and race.

Season two of the podcast introduced a new pair of co-hosts, Jamil Harp, then-student activist now community activist, and KC Councilor, Communication, Media, and Screen Studies professor. Harp and Councilor have hosted more than 20 episodes between seasons two and three, broadening the range of topics to include student activism, politics, allyship, immigration, gender, and LGBTQIA+ issues in higher education.

About Your Host Institution

Real Talk was first started in accordance with the then newly-formed Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Southern Connecticut State University. SCSU is committed to identifying and addressing systemic barriers to equity, access, and success for all members of our community. We are also devoted to fostering positive discussions in which we treat each other with respect, kindness, compassion, civility, and dignity, while sharing diverse perspectives and striving to create an inclusive atmosphere.

We strive to integrate social justice and free speech with critical thinking both inside and outside the classroom, equipping students to address societal issues on campus, as well as in our local communities, our nation, and the world.