In the third season of From the Source, we focused on the Pittsburgh barrier-breakers and their personal reflections on challenges, growth and achievement. We asked each and every one of them a question that yielded answers as diverse as their experiences: What do you know for sure? Listen back to all of their unique responses gathered here in this trip back into our season 3 episodes.
Nick: Are we going? OK…
Jourdan: In the third season of From the Source. We focused on breaking barriers, entering new spaces and the challenges of growth and achievement. Your neighbors, your neighbors did not disappoint.
She’Cholle: My name is She’Cholle Winmon and I live in East Liberty…
Damian: My name is Damian. And what I know to be true is you got to stand for what you believe in.
She’Cholle: I know for sure I’m the only Black girl in the company that looks like me.
Nick: I’m Nick Ripley. I live in Friendship now. So I’m working on getting LGBTQ folks and HIV-positive folks some access to justice when we can. Yes, sir. All I got.
Jourdan: As your podcast host, I challenge myself and the other Pittsburghers I speak with to get real into it deep, in record time for mass consumption.
Priya: I think I had a few months to process, but I think the thing that I come here with, like the knowledge of, is the universe, nature, the world. Life continuously teaches us that nothing is in our control and that we need to be comfortable in discomfort or just be okay with discomfort.
Jourdan: Why? Connection. Community. Inspiration and learning. It’s one more tool to combat the isolation that so many of us have had to deal with in recent years. The conversation ranged in topic from bias parenting, religious identity, child care, labor, motivation and perseverance through the legal system. But there was at least one common denominator in the past 11 conversations I’ve had. I asked each person, each guest, the same question: What do you know for sure? Here’s a recap of the answers and the stories your neighbors revealed this season.
Michael: What do you know to be true for sure? I know that what’s true for sure is that there’s a complex relationship between what I do for a living and how my daughter thinks, reacts and responds to her environment because it’s almost like I’m a part of the problem.
Jourdan: Michael Carroll, episode 11.
Michael: Like on a micro level, it’s like, bro, I’m a part of the problem for sure, so I just try my best to help her understand, like what I do and like, I know the tactics and like, I’m seeing it written all over your face. You’re being attacked by marketers and people who control the media. And there is a larger agenda in place for every issue, whether it’s gotta be. So I know for sure there’s a connection, but I also know for sure, like and I hope for sure that I’m able to arm herself against people who are trying to like attack and influence our way of thinking. Just to be aware that, hey, like this is what’s going on in the world and like, yeah, I might be a hypocrite, but like, I’m aware and like, I’m learning about growth.
Ginny: I think I’m a person who often sees things from a lot of different angles and is like, you know, maybe overthinking things a little bit.
Jourdan: Ginny Nemchick, episode nine.
Ginny: And so I kind of felt like, Ooh, what do I know for sure? But then when I reflected on my answers, I was like, I do this for sure. Both of these things that I said I feel like have driven my life and in different ways. And so the two things that I said were that no decisions really should be made for people without their input and that life isn’t binary, meaning that there are a lot of grayscale spectrums, two different things that we experience. And I think in the world we’re often told that it does have to be binary. And so anyways, with those two things, even though I know those few things to be true for sure, and I would probably argue all day with anyone about either of those items.
Mark: My name is Mark Williams, and I live on the North Side. Couple of things I know for sure. Number one, don’t force. It’s got to be optional. It does not work if you force a kid to try mindfulness. In fact, it’s counterproductive. It can be really, really powerful. You know, tell them the truth. Tell them what you’re doing. You’ve got to trick them into it. Lay out the pros and cons, why you’re excited about it. That’s what I do. I teach through stories, I teach through songs. And I tell stories about, you know, what was hard for me as a kid and what’s hard for me now and how some of these practices have been helpful. And then I try to, you know, keep it fun.
She’Cholle: So what I know to be true is just do it, just do it.
Jourdan: She’Cholle Winmon.
She’Cholle: You can literally sit there and psych yourself out of doing something in your own head, you know what I mean? And you didn’t even try. You didn’t even put, you know, put any effort into it. I definitely know that for sure to be true. Just do it and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Lena: My name is Lena Chen. I am a Pittsburgh-based artist who does work that’s been inspired by my experiences in the sex industry. And I’m also part of the Steering Committee of Sex Workers Outreach Project Pittsburgh that does a lot of grassroots, community-based work supporting this community in the region. I know care work to be real work just as I know sex work to be real work. And this labor deserves recognition, it deserves compensation. Our world would not be able to function without it.
Jourdan: So this is a question that typically is a the end of the interview, at the close of the interview. And that question is. What do you know to be true for sure?
Nick: This is a tough question.
Jourdan: Nick Ripley
Nick: So what I know to be true is being part of the LGBTQ community, being queer is magical and empowering and beautiful. And for all of the depressing statistics we have to report, for all of the news stories that get written, it really is a privilege. I’ve always considered it one. I think being part of any sort of marginalized community, I think gives you like a shortcut to, I guess the worst word I can think of is networking because like you have a community and it’s everywhere and you don’t have to talk to everyone in the new city to get your bearings. You can find the people in your community and work with them truly is a shortcut to to get better acquainted, to feel more at home, to collaborate, to be able to communicate effectively and non-judgmental. We know the answers to a lot of the problems we’re facing. We have some of the smartest people alive on the planet right now. If we were given the opportunity to, we could really turn this shit around.
Damian: The story that I wanted to share with people that you know, that no matter where you come from, no matter what you’ve been through, like it’s never over. Like it’s never, you know, it’s never it.
Jourdan: Damian Addison, episode eight.
Damian: You got to have some solid people around you. People just going to call you on your B.S. and let you know when you’re wrong and you know, be true with yourself, bro. With the people around you, letting what other people think influence your decision or what other people think about you influence how you wanna do, how you will proceed with your life or your day or anything like that. You know, just being comfortable in your own skin, being your true self.
Priya: What do I know to be true for sure?
Jourdan: Priya Amin.
Priya: What I know to be true for sure about is that there is a workforce transformation happening. We are never going back to the way work was before. There are millions of people leaving the workforce. I think August saw the largest decrease or increase of people of the attrition rate and people leaving the workforce. Because it’s almost like this massive collective bargaining on behalf of the American workforce, saying we need more flexibility, we need life to come first and work to be a part of that. That was the ethos of flexible from the beginning. Was life-work fit? It was never work-life balance because that’s B.S. and it does not exist. And I think the American workforce is saying we have had enough. We’ve had enough of stringent work hours and stringent rules and not being supported and not being included. And that transformation is coming and is already starting to happen. But I think what we’re going to see is a massive revolution in the workplace. And that, I think hopefully will very much include working parents and hopefully, hopefully erase some of the inequities that have just come to the surface during the pandemic, especially against women. So that’s what I know, to be sure, is this workforce transformation is happening. You can always do it again.
Jourdan: Ehrrin Keenan from episode two.
Ehrrin: Like there’s no limit on how many attempts you can make. There’s no age limit. The real limitations are financial and logistical, like figuring out like how you can fit this in your life and how to pay for it. Those are things that are logical problems. They’re things that there is hope out there for. You don’t have to know all that stuff if you want to do it. I know that there is a way as of now and this is my fourth time doing it, I really, really hope that this will be the winner. Like everybody, you know, fourth time’s a charm. Like that old saying, I thought it was going to be three. But that’s just not how it worked out. And I can be an overachiever in some realm. So this is both.
Terry: So I sold everything I had and jumped on a Greyhound bus with a backpack and a duffel bag and moved up to Pittsburgh.
Jourdan: I’m assuming it’s your first time in Pittsburgh?
Terry: My very first time in Pittsburgh. Never seen a city before. Don’t know nothing about it. Came through the Greyhound station and just right up through uptown and through Oakland and into East Liberty. And was in awe the whole entire ride.
Jourdan: Terry Gibson, episode three.
Terry: What I know to be true is Pittsburgh has a great future. I do know that there are some amazing people in Pittsburgh. There are some really, truly, like dedicated, loving, fearless, courageous folks who are going to continue to do the work. You may not know their names. You may not see their faces, but there are folks out there that are really, really dedicated to especially supporting the Black community in Pittsburgh. That’s one thing that I do know to be true. So despite somebody saying that this is the most racist city of the north. The truth is that there are some movers and shakers in the city. Another truth is that might not be real. There’s some good food in there. It’s not just for mayonnaise. So you stop taking people who just move to Pittsburgh to pick menus, go to La Palapago to Chicken Latino, like. For real. For real. Like, stop playing and go somewhere else. Like, there’s some really, there’s a good burrito to be had. If you look for it.
Jourdan: We at PublicSource hope you found something useful or motivating from our season three conversations. Let’s continue to connect authentically and in this way to tell better stories for a better Pittsburgh. Thank you so much for your suggestions. Thank you for listening and sharing and commenting. Keep your emails coming. I appreciate those as well. The shares, all of it. It is important that this relationship of ours is complementary and reciprocal. So if you’re interested in sharing some ideas for season four, you can contact me at jourdan@Publicsource.org. Please continue to stay safe and be well. Thank you so much for listening.
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