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Uplifting Black Youth: Jackie Obungah on Her Podcast Series with Below the Radar
When Jackie Obungah set out to create a mini-series for the Below the Radar podcast, she had a very specific goal in mind: to center and amplify the voices of Black youth.
Jackie, an SFU International Studies undergraduate student, is firmly entrenched in collaborative community building. She recently completed co-op terms at CERi this spring and afterwards with SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement in the summer. She has also worked with Ethọ́s Lab, a Black youth led co-op business model with the primary goal of providing employment opportunities to racialized youth.
For her Below the Radar podcast series, Jackie drew on people from her network to share their experiences as engaged community members.
“The inspiration was that there are a lot of collaborative things that I’m part of or things that I’ve seen going on in the community that are so interesting and really transformative in how they’re shifting how our community is relying on each other,” says Jackie.
It was important for Jackie to centre voices that align with her values. The first episode features Ayaan Ismaciil, a founding member of the Black in BC Mutual Aid Fund Team, and Natasha Mhuriro, President of the SFU African Students’ Association and a co-organizer of the Black in BC Mutual Aid’s Support Fund. The episode highlights Black youth in community organizing, with a specific focus on community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the second episode, Jackie explores the importance of centering Black youth and community perspectives in policymaking with Aida Mwanzia, an advisor for the SFU Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate program.\
“I did this series because there’s so much to learn from the experiences of Black people living in Vancouver,” says Jackie.
“Specifically, Black youth who have really taken charge in the work they’re doing in the community and how they’re thinking about community and supporting community initiatives that will continue to be impactful for years to come as our community keeps growing.”
Podcasting was a new experience for Jackie, one she wanted to undertake to expand her capacity to amplify community work that inspires her and to have a manifestation of her co-op experience with SFU's Vancity Office for Community Engagement.
“I wanted to put some meaningful thought behind what it means to do community engagement, since that’s what my position is about, and to work in communication. I think podcasting work is one of those things that is able to bridge across the two.”