Cristina Kim is the producer for Truth Be Told as well as Forum, KQED’s live call-in program. Before joining KQED, Cristina was the engagement and collaboration manager at The Center for Investigative Reporting/ Reveal, where she produced creative engagement strategies to reach and serve new and underserved communities.
On this episode of Truth Be Told, we gathered your questions and lived experiences during the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Tonya Mosley talks to Dr. Seema Yasmin, journalist, author and infectious disease detective. She’s seen what the migration of diseases like COVID-19 can do to communities and how racism rears its ugly head during times like these. “There’s a long history of scapegoating people of color as the carriers of disease,” Yasmin said. “This goes back hundreds of years, and so this isn’t anything new. We’ve even seen it during recent epidemics. Whether it’s Ebola or Zika, non-white people are blamed [for] introducing disease into places.” The uneasiness comes from a long history of racializing health in America. At this moment, the racialization of COVID-19 with Asians and Asian Americans is unfurling in front of us. Accompanying headlines of the spread of infection are also instances of discrimination, harassment and attacks on the Asian community. Mosley and Yasmin responded to concerns of increased power for law enforcement during the pandemic, and the current status of how the illness affects people who are homeless, incarcerated or detained. Yasmin also offered validation for the myriad feelings being experienced. “We have the right to feel whatever we feel,” Yasmin said. Yasmin was our Truth Be Told question asker for “Joy,” the very first episode our first season of the podcast. Her question was, “Is it OK to feel joy when the rest of the world is burning?” In this episode about how the coronavirus is impacting people of color, Mosley asked Yasmin if she is currently using any of the advice she was given. “You know, thinking back to that question, it was about joy, but I think it was also more broadly about the permission to feel things — anything. And so I think in a moment like this, where you feel so many emotions, including anxiety, fear, anger, that advice that I got, reminds me that it’s OK to feel whatever I feel. So I feel very honored right now. You’re having me on as a wise one, but truth be told, this wise one is struggling also … it’s a lot.” So, let’s revisit the sage guidance offered by two wise ones from our very first episode – adrienne maree brown and Tonya’s grandmother, Ernestine Mosley. 1. Faith/Spirituality: Set intentions, pray, worship, meditate. Reacquaint or deepen your relationship with nature. 2. Rituals: Care for your body (baths, exercise, adornment). Feed your soul (read, write, create, cook). Do anything that brings you joy. 3. Look for the helpers, and help the helpers: Find ways to be generous with each other or lift another’s spirit. Redirect your attention on the solution-makers in a crisis. Find ways to support those helpers for the collective good. 4. Connect with the self: Go on dates with yourself, take an inventory of yourself and your life, write down the spaces you feel in complete alignment with yourself in your life (i.e. my role as an auntie), or walk around your home naked while looking at your miraculous body. 5. Connect with those you love and who love you: Reach out to people who make you feel loved and check in on someone you’ve been thinking about. Also, try to laugh as much as you can. Laughter, intimacy and connection are necessary to survive and embark on the freedom journey. Remember, it is absolutely necessary to feel joy in these times. You don’t have to earn it. You deserve it. We appreciate everyone who has helped with the creation of this episode. Special thanks to all of our question askers, Cynthia Choi, and KQED’s Kyana Moghadam and Vida Kuang. Episode transcript can be found here. Experienced or witnessed a hate crime? The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) have launched a reporting center to allow community members to report incidents of hate they have experienced. You can find out more by visiting Episode Guests: Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical doctor and author of “The Impatient Dr. Lange: One Man’s Fight to End the Global HIV Epidemic” Recommended Articles: Artists Fight Coronavirus-Related Racism on Instagram from KQED Arts Washing Your Hands and Getting a Grip from KQED Arts Why Pandemics Activate Xenophobia from Vox Chinese Americans Worry About Backlash as Coronavirus Fears Mount from Voices of America The Rise of Coronavirus Hate Crimes from The New Yorker As Chinese Exclusion Act Turns 135, Experts Point to Parallels Today from NPR CodeSwitch Recommended Listening: To Be Asian With a Face Mask During the Coronavirus Outbreak from KQED’s The Bay When Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus from NPR’s Code Switch Coronaracism With APEX Express from KPFA (timestamp 28:00 – 37:55) Racism in the Time of Coronavirus from Long Distance Radio Recommended Books: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Nayan Shah Colonial Pathologies:American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines by Warwick Anderson Fit to Be Citizens? by Natalia Molina Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination by Alondra Nelson The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy by Susan M. Reverby The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Science at the Borders: Immigrant Medical Inspection and the Shaping of the Modern Industrial Labor Force by Amy Fairchild Have a question for the show? Email us at, call us at (415) 553-2802 or use the hashtag #AskTBT. Follow us at @truthbetoldkqed on Twitter and Instagram.
Listen to this week’s episode to hear our host Tonya Mosley and Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, unpack the question: “How are black Americans expected to overcome and thrive in this country without the necessary mechanisms of healing?” This question comes from actor Boris Kodjoe, who you may have seen in shows like “Code Black,” “Station 19” and the movie “Brown Sugar.” Kodjoe was born and raised in Germany, and ever since he arrived in the United States he’s thought, “I never understood how African Americans were expected to thrive.” Laymon said he found the answer in Mississippi where he was born and raised. “I actually think that our healing mechanisms – and this is scary – are a little bit better than white folks,” he said. “At least down here in Mississippi.” Mosley and Laymon’s conversation flows through topics like mothers and children, isolation and protests. And, of course, it ends with therapy. “What I need to do is be able to accept with equal vigor the harm I’ve done in my life to people close to me,” Laymon said. “And also I need to accept the joy that I’ve brought to human beings close to me. At my best, I’m able to do that. And at my worst, I’m completely incapable of doing it.” Ibram X. Kendi, who wrote “How to Be an Antiracist,” offered a really helpful framing for the conversation. Splitting the results of trauma into categories of material and internal effects, he notes that healing from both takes significant effort from both black and non-black Americans. “And it’s going to take a tremendous amount of time,” he said. “But I don’t see any other option.” Episode transcript can be found here. Episode Guests: Kiese Laymon, author of “Heavy: An American Memoir” Ibram X. Kendi, historian and author of “How to Be an Antiracist” Recommended Reading: “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates “The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning” by Claudia Rankine Recommended Listening: “1619” podcast from Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times “Scene on Radio,” a Peabody-nominated podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University Have a question for the show? Email us at, call us at (415) 553-2802 or use the hashtag #AskTBT. Follow us at @truthbetoldkqed on Twitter and Instagram.
How many times have you paused and asked, Is it just me or — Yeah, us too. We all experience life in our unique bodies and skin. And yet, we’re alone in surviving, growing and thriving. The world we live in gaslights us into thinking anything to do with identity is in our imagination. Well, Truth Be Told is here to tell you it’s not. You are not the only one, you are not alone and guess what? There’s a podcast for that. Sometimes we are sitting with questions that we can’t even talk about with those closest to us. Truth Be Told is the friend you call after a long day to cry, bitch and moan. The one who gets it. So grab a seat on the couch, pull up the podcast and put your earbuds in. We got you. Truth Be Told explores your dilemmas, reaches out to Wise Ones for advice, and deliberately digs deep — because your questions, your story and your existence matters. In our first season, we talked about the guilt of feeling joy when the world is a mess, we interrogated who we grew up crushing on and who we ultimately ended up dating. We scrutinized being enough within our own communities, the complications of working and living with well-meaning white folks and handling family dynamics with estranged fathers or debating whether or not to become a mother. For the past two months I’ve waited patiently for each Thursday to come, knowing that the ⁦@TruthBeToldShow⁩ crew would spark a conversation I needed to hear. Thank you for making this space for me and all POC people to thrive — bebé llora (@shaylynmartos) June 23, 2019 This week’s @TruthBeToldShow is essential listening for those of us who are white-passing or hold other kinds of passing privilege. It unpacks where, why & how we ask to belong, and the different places of marginalization or privilege that desire can come from. — Ariana Martinez (@MartinezAriana_) June 1, 2019 Now we’re back with season two! Our host, Tonya Mosley, will delve into your questions, unearth the layers of your quandaries and pull in a Wise One for advice. This season will be full of growing pains, joy, laughter and collective thriving. And don’t worry, we’re still the place where hard questions meet understanding ears. Where people of color can be candid with each other and work through the messy parts of life. Season two starts on March 12! Listen on Apple, Spotify, NPR One or wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to submit a question you can email us at, call us at (415) 553-2802 or use the hashtag #AskTBT on social media.
Truth be Told is all about building community and connecting people of color to find collective wisdom and joy in these dangerous and difficult times.  We are also a podcast proudly made in the Bay Area, so we knew from the start that we HAD to do a live show and get our people together. On June 13th in downtown Oakland, over a hundred people gathered to share the love and seek advice from wise ones Ashara Ekundayo and Bari Williams, in conversation with TBT’s Tonya Mosely. (Slight problem? It was the same night as the Warriors final game. But people still came out y’all — to laugh, cry, and listen). Take a listen to our live,  bonus episode.  It’s what community sounds like! Why the Three of Cups tarot Card? The Three of Cups tarot card signifies the joy of community, sisterhood, and collaboration. We couldn’t think of a better card to represent our live show, which brought so many people from all over the Bay Area to heal, talk, and connect with one another.
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13 hours, 12 minutes