Listen to 100.9 WXIR on Saturday between 10 and 11 am, and you’ll discover a new radio program that’s exclusive to WXIR and to Rochester. Our Earnest Struggle, produced by award-winning radio producer and podcaster Darien Lamen, will be covering the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass from a contemporary, local perspective.
In explaining his goals for the show, Darien said he hopes the program will provide an opportunity to address critical issues in the community.
He’d also like to engage residents who might not be Frederick Douglass experts, but who still have plenty to contribute to the conversation on racial inequality and freedom.
Darien anticipates including two to three different segments per episode.
“One segment will highlight community voices and events involved in the ‘Re-energizing Frederick Douglass’ initiative that is happening in 2018,” Darien explained. He noted that an upcoming episode will feature the project’s director, Carvin Eison, who is General Manager of RCTV, and Lead Partner, Bleu Cease, Executive Director of the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, talking about the overall initiative and its many moving parts.
Darien also plans to include a historical segment that focuses on Douglass’ own words.
A third segment will incorporate critical conversations that go beyond the celebration taking place this year.
“We’ll get into some of the issues we struggle with today,” Darien shared. “Some of the conversations may be a bit difficult and uncomfortable.”
An upcoming episode will focus on Douglass’ writing on Latin America and migration, which is as much an issue in the 21st Century as it was in the 19th.
Another episode will address publishing and journalism. Two of the guests for this episode include Shappelle Thompson and Tianna Mañón from Open Mic. The publication was started, in part, to give a voice to people displaced by the City of Rochester’s Gateway project.
The first episode, which was broadcast on February 14 in honor of Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday, focused on the concert Frederick Douglass at 200, presented by the Rochester Oratorio Society. It includes a segment about the Emancipation Oratorio, by local composer Glenn McClure, an interview on racial representation and classical music with soprano and concert soloist Kearstin Piper Brown. The final segment in the episode is an interview with McClure on his upcoming opera, Promised Land.
“If I were to sum it up in one sentence,” Darien said, “I’d like to see Our Earnest Struggle deepen and broaden the many community conversations in which Douglass would be participating if he were alive today.“
Photos by Tianna Mañón
If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in the radio program Our Earnest Struggle, you can submit your idea for a segment or episode using this form or email WXIRnews@gmail.com. Darien welcomes more participation from listeners.