After almost eight years on the air, and more than 400 episodes, this is the final episode of Boston Calling with Marco Werman. We have three unforgettable stories that touch on some of the central themes of the program: justice and race, the environment and immigration. We have some heartfelt messages to share from some of our fans from around the globe, and also Marco’s parting words to the loyal listeners of Boston Calling.
Image: Host Marco Werman high-fives a fourth-grader at Curtis Guild Elementary School in east Boston (Credit: Steven Davy/The World)
In the penultimate edition of Boston Calling, we’re looking back at some of the moments, from the past eight or so years, that have shaped the world and this programme. We start in 2012, also an election year, finding out how the role of the US presidency and American power looked to the world then. We also take a look back at the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013. We reflect on the US role in the Middle East, and the impact that military deployments have on the lives of US soldiers. Finally, we revisit a conversation with comedian Trevor Noah, from the day after the election of Donald Trump in 2016.
Photo: Passengers pass through the main concourse at St. Pancras Station, in April 2018, in London, England. Credit: Richard Baker/Getty Images Images
Black lives matter
The homicide of George Floyd has led to widespread protests in the US. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been hitting the streets daily, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, and from New York to Los Angeles. But the protests aren’t limited to the US. For the past few weeks, protests and demonstrations have spread across the globe. Issues of police brutality, racism and injustice have plagued nations around the world, including Greece, where people are protesting in solidarity with the death of Geroge Floyd, while also advocating for systemic change in their country.
Also, in France, the killing of George Floyd has invoked the memory of Adama Traoré, a black man who died in police custody there; protests in Belgium target statues of King Leopold II, the brutal colonizer of Congo and other countries in Africa; in Kenya, the death of George Floyd strikes a chord, as Kenyans look at police violence in their country; more than 100 African authors have signed a letter condemning the killing of African Americans at the hands of US police forces - Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin is one of them; and US based Nigerian writer, Sefi Atta, shares her experience of race and racism in America.
Image: Youth protest with placards in front of riot police officers in Athens, Greece, during a rally against racism and police brutality and in support of the protests in the US, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (Credit: Dimitris Lampropoulos/Getty Images)
I can't breathe
The homicide of George Floyd, an unarmed man, while he was in police custody has sparked demonstrations and protests in the US and across the globe. From London and Berlin to Australia and the Netherlands, thousands marched in solidarity after a video showed a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes before he died. The incident touched off outrage in the United States, amid a polarizing presidential campaign and the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown millions out of work. Darnella Wade, an organizer for Black Lives Matter in St. Paul, Minnesota, hopes that this becomes a galvanizing moment for lasting change.
Also, black Americans once largely fought alone against police brutality, but as Somali American kids grew up in the same environment, they began to join Black Lives Matter; Dr. Michelle Morse, a professor of medicine at Harvard University explains why the racism in public health is so harmful in the age of Covid-19; America's adversaries are using global attention on the George Floyd protests as anti-US propaganda; and America’s foreign adversaries are also using social media to deepen division in the US.
Point of entry
The pandemic has not stopped children and teenage migrants from showing up alone at the US border, hoping to apply for asylum. But US policy has changed dramatically, and critics say that the Trump administration is using the pandemic as a way to halt any entries across the border.
Also, Guatemalans who have been deported from the US are being shunned at home over coronavirus fears; the coronavirus pandemic has also forced refugee resettlement worldwide to grind to a halt, dividing families and stranding them thousands of miles from each other; the US has a long history of xenophobia in times of crisis, which often influences immigration policy; Canadian nurses cross the border to work in the US every day, but the pandemic could change that; and the US-Canada border is closed for all non-essential travel - as a result, businesses in the Niagara region that depend on American tourists are suffering.
Photo: Honduran migrants wait to cross the international border bridge from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico. Credit: Johan Ordonez/Getty Images.