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Rita Feldman's Journey

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RITA FELDMAN

I was born in the beautiful very modern, though very ancient, 2000 years old city, named Tashkent. It is the capital of Uzbekistan, back then a part of the Soviet Union, now it is an independent country in the Middle Asia. In 1993 my family had to leave our homeland because of the etnic problems that not-native, not-Uzbek people started to face in Uzbekistan. We emigrated to America, and we were recognized as a political refugees. The organizations that helped us to move choose the city of Birmingham Al as a place where we were suppose to build our life almost from the sketch. It was hard,very hard, but eventually we did it, though we are still working on it. 🙂. I have many professions, starting with a chemical engineering, computer programming,  tour guiding, but all my life I was attracted to working with the people, their outer, and inner conditions and states. That's why for my professional life in America I chose to work as a skin care specialist,  massage therapist, and also I do energy healing - I am a Reiki Master, I do Past life regressions, and I facilitate Family Systemic Constellations - powerful therapy that is dealing with a history of people's families, and how it influence our current lives. I have my own business called "Rita’s Touch" since 1998, and this year we are going to celebrate 20 years of it's successful service to the people of Birmingham. 
 

 Rita and her mother Genia

Rita and her mother Genia

 Rita and her son Maksim.

Rita and her son Maksim.

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Emerge Alabama: Voices of Progress #2

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In the second episode of the Emerge Alabama Voices of Progress series, we hear from Amy Wasyluka, running for Alabama State Senate District 2, Lindsey Deckard, running for State Senate District 16 and Dr. Stacie Propst, Executive Director of Emerge Alabama.  These are women who have committed to a vision of the future that is more just, equitable and inclusive. These women see governance as a way to serve and to shape a better Alabama, in which citizens are educated and valued, offered opportunities for economic and community empowerment, in which well-being is not a dream but is a premise of leadership. 

  AMY WASYLUKA    I am running for Alabama State Senate District 2.    I am a half-deaf childhood cancer survivor appellate attorney from Madison, Alabama. I am married to Tim Wasyluka Jr., who is currently a JAG with the Alabama Army National Guard and who also works as a civilian contract attorney. We have a 3-year old daughter named Ruth Grace. I am also the adopted daughter of two life-long public school educators.    I earned my undergraduate degree at Auburn University where I developed a lifelong desire to serve my community which led me to go on to study law at the University Of Alabama School Of Law.    After graduating law school, I have worked in a variety of legal areas including family law, bankruptcy, civil litigation and appeals. My work as an attorney has given me the ability to serve the people of my community, has taught me how to work with parties on all sides of an issue, and has taught me that the quick and easy answer is very rarely the correct one. It also taught me the value of confronting the reality you have rather than the one you would like to have.    Too often we have seen elected officials who view politics not as a way to serve their communities, but as a team sport where political points matter more than the needs of their constituents.  Alabama deserves politicians who are willing to use commonsense to confront the realities and challenges before us. My background as an attorney a childhood cancer survivor and a mother gives me insights into many of the kitchen table issues so many Alabamians face and allows me to advocate for the needs of District 2 from a position of cooperation and compassion.       To learn more about my campaign you can visit my website at:  www.wasylukaforsenate.com . You can also check us out on social media at: @wasyluka4senate    

AMY WASYLUKA

I am running for Alabama State Senate District 2.

I am a half-deaf childhood cancer survivor appellate attorney from Madison, Alabama. I am married to Tim Wasyluka Jr., who is currently a JAG with the Alabama Army National Guard and who also works as a civilian contract attorney. We have a 3-year old daughter named Ruth Grace. I am also the adopted daughter of two life-long public school educators.

I earned my undergraduate degree at Auburn University where I developed a lifelong desire to serve my community which led me to go on to study law at the University Of Alabama School Of Law.

After graduating law school, I have worked in a variety of legal areas including family law, bankruptcy, civil litigation and appeals. My work as an attorney has given me the ability to serve the people of my community, has taught me how to work with parties on all sides of an issue, and has taught me that the quick and easy answer is very rarely the correct one. It also taught me the value of confronting the reality you have rather than the one you would like to have.

Too often we have seen elected officials who view politics not as a way to serve their communities, but as a team sport where political points matter more than the needs of their constituents.  Alabama deserves politicians who are willing to use commonsense to confront the realities and challenges before us. My background as an attorney a childhood cancer survivor and a mother gives me insights into many of the kitchen table issues so many Alabamians face and allows me to advocate for the needs of District 2 from a position of cooperation and compassion.  

To learn more about my campaign you can visit my website at: www.wasylukaforsenate.com. You can also check us out on social media at: @wasyluka4senate

 

  LINDSEY DECKARD    Running for    Alabama Senate District 16    Originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, I’m the first of ten children.  We moved a lot when I was young; every step up the career ladder for my dad required our family to move to a new town, and often a new state.  While moving was a lot of work for my mom, we kids loved the adventure of being in new places and meeting new people.     Married in 1976, I am the proud mother of two beautiful people.  My daughter Elizabeth is a successful certified financial planner and my son Zackary is a plumber and a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in the Iraq war.      I’ve lived in Alabama for 34 years; I moved here in 1984 because of a great job opportunity and have remained here because of work and good friends, and because I’ve become warmly attached to the beautiful State of Alabama.    I attended the University of South Florida and earned a B.S. degree in Microbiology in 1984.  I chose microbiology because it was complex and interesting and the course-work offered the kind of training that would lead to a good job and a career that could support my family.    My first professional job was with Southern Research Institute; I worked as a scientist and program manager at both SRI and UAB for 30 years.  Early in my career, it was my great privilege to work as a government contractor for the U.S. military; in later years my work focused on bio-medical research.  I was fortunate to have had an opportunity to make a number of contributions in the areas of national defense, environmental research and biomedical research.      Early on as a scientist I became proficient in running a business.  Most people don’t recognize that science is a business, but it is very much an entrepreneurial venture.  In order to be successful, a scientist not only needs to be skilled in producing a desirable scientific work-product, they must also be skilled in sales and marketing and in developing business proposals with ideas that will generate knowledge and that can solve various problems. And as with any business, scientists are as accountable to their clients as any other viable business in the marketplace.     

LINDSEY DECKARD

Running for Alabama Senate District 16

Originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, I’m the first of ten children.  We moved a lot when I was young; every step up the career ladder for my dad required our family to move to a new town, and often a new state.  While moving was a lot of work for my mom, we kids loved the adventure of being in new places and meeting new people.

 Married in 1976, I am the proud mother of two beautiful people.  My daughter Elizabeth is a successful certified financial planner and my son Zackary is a plumber and a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in the Iraq war. 

 I’ve lived in Alabama for 34 years; I moved here in 1984 because of a great job opportunity and have remained here because of work and good friends, and because I’ve become warmly attached to the beautiful State of Alabama.

I attended the University of South Florida and earned a B.S. degree in Microbiology in 1984.  I chose microbiology because it was complex and interesting and the course-work offered the kind of training that would lead to a good job and a career that could support my family.

My first professional job was with Southern Research Institute; I worked as a scientist and program manager at both SRI and UAB for 30 years.  Early in my career, it was my great privilege to work as a government contractor for the U.S. military; in later years my work focused on bio-medical research.  I was fortunate to have had an opportunity to make a number of contributions in the areas of national defense, environmental research and biomedical research. 

Early on as a scientist I became proficient in running a business.  Most people don’t recognize that science is a business, but it is very much an entrepreneurial venture.  In order to be successful, a scientist not only needs to be skilled in producing a desirable scientific work-product, they must also be skilled in sales and marketing and in developing business proposals with ideas that will generate knowledge and that can solve various problems. And as with any business, scientists are as accountable to their clients as any other viable business in the marketplace.

 

 DR. STACIE PROPST  An Alabama native, Dr. Stacie Propst is founding director of Emerge Alabama. The Emerge program inspires women to run for office and hones their skills to win. Our goal is clear: to increase the number of Democratic women serving in public office in Alabama. Her professional experience includes government relations, issue advocacy, nonprofit executive management, higher education, career development, and medical research. Dr. Propst graduated from New College at the University of Alabama and received her doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research areas focused on cancer and lung inflammation.  Contact Stacie: stacie@emergeal.com

DR. STACIE PROPST

An Alabama native, Dr. Stacie Propst is founding director of Emerge Alabama. The Emerge program inspires women to run for office and hones their skills to win. Our goal is clear: to increase the number of Democratic women serving in public office in Alabama.
Her professional experience includes government relations, issue advocacy,
nonprofit executive management, higher education, career development, and medical research.
Dr. Propst graduated from New College at the University of Alabama and received her doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research areas focused on cancer and lung inflammation.

Contact Stacie: stacie@emergeal.com

Emerge Alabama: Voices of Progress

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In this episode we hear from Cara McClure, who is running for Public Service Commission Place 1. She is a graduate of the first cohort of Emerge Alabama training. She speaks with Present Tense Podcast host Anne Markham Bailey about Emerge Alabama candidate training and support, her life as an activist and being a woman on an uneven playing field both in family life and in politics. Cara talks about the Alabama of the future that she is planning to shape.

 
   Cara McClure, Candidate for Alabama Public Service Commission Place 1        The youngest of six siblings and the mother of one terrific son, Cara McClure was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama in the great community of Powderly.     McClure’s entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured early by her parents and family. While in elementary school, she worked for the family’s cleaning service, where she made cold calls to apartment complexes and small businesses.  She also sold candy door-to-door and in school and also ran bus trips to Point Mallard without any adult support.    This early exposure to business shaped McClure and she sought out opportunities for personal development, learning marketing and recruiting. Eventually she moved into network marketing, building a team of more than 2000 brand new entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada.    McClure is a proponent of finding solutions to difficult circumstances. After spending time homeless following a marital separation, McClure turned personal hardship into opportunity when she created an apartment locating service to help individuals and families find their ideal homes.     McClure also supported the immigrant community by writing an open letter to the mayor and city council to make Birmingham a sanctuary city. McClure has been active with a number of social justice organizations including Stand as One, Faith in Action, Shut Down Etowah, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Adelante, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Black Lives Matter, Indivisible Birmingham, and Arise.    McClure understands the importance of voter engagement, and holds voter registration and voter restoration events across the city.  Throughout her career, McClure has been a voice and advocate for the working poor, the homeless, and the forgotten and marginalized.     Through her personal philosophy of prayer, people, process, protest, policy,  polls and persistence, she helps those who live in the margins to build power and possibilities for a better life.

Cara McClure, Candidate for Alabama Public Service Commission Place 1

 The youngest of six siblings and the mother of one terrific son, Cara McClure was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama in the great community of Powderly. 

McClure’s entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured early by her parents and family. While in elementary school, she worked for the family’s cleaning service, where she made cold calls to apartment complexes and small businesses.  She also sold candy door-to-door and in school and also ran bus trips to Point Mallard without any adult support.

This early exposure to business shaped McClure and she sought out opportunities for personal development, learning marketing and recruiting. Eventually she moved into network marketing, building a team of more than 2000 brand new entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada.

McClure is a proponent of finding solutions to difficult circumstances. After spending time homeless following a marital separation, McClure turned personal hardship into opportunity when she created an apartment locating service to help individuals and families find their ideal homes. 

McClure also supported the immigrant community by writing an open letter to the mayor and city council to make Birmingham a sanctuary city. McClure has been active with a number of social justice organizations including Stand as One, Faith in Action, Shut Down Etowah, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Adelante, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Black Lives Matter, Indivisible Birmingham, and Arise.

McClure understands the importance of voter engagement, and holds voter registration and voter restoration events across the city.  Throughout her career, McClure has been a voice and advocate for the working poor, the homeless, and the forgotten and marginalized. 

Through her personal philosophy of prayer, people, process, protest, policy,  polls and persistence, she helps those who live in the margins to build power and possibilities for a better life.

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The Poet Interviews #2

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In this two part series, we hear from the poets of the Magic City Poetry Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. 

In the second episode of The Poet Interviews, Green Bucket Press founder and poet Anne Markham Bailey ushers in the thoughts and poems of a wide range of poets as they approach questions of why they write poems, how they came to the craft, the role of the poet in society and their relationship with language. 

Magic City Poetry Festival Schedule

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Jaqueline Trimble

Jacqueline Allen Trimble is a Cave Canem Fellow and a 2017 Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Fellow. Her poetry has appeared in various print and online journals including The Louisville Review, The Offing, and Blue Lake ReviewAmerican Happiness, her first collection, was published by NewSouth Books was named the Best Book of 2016 by Seven Sisters Book Awards, and won the 2016 Balcones Poetry Prize.  Jennifer Horne, the poet laureate of Alabama, wrote about the collection “Her grace is in the anger distilled to the bitter draft you savor as it bites” and Honoree Jeffers, the 2018 Harper Lee Award Winner for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer,  said, “I longed for her kind of poetry, these cut-to-the flesh poems, this verse that sings the old time religion of difficult truths with new courage and utter sister-beauty.  And I am so grateful for her gift, her grown-woman poetics.” Trimble lives and writes in Montgomery, Alabama, where she is a professor of English and chairs the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. 

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Liz Hughey

Elizabeth Hughey is the author of two poetry collections: Sunday Houses the Sunday House (University of Iowa Press) and Guest Host (National Poetry Review Press).  She is the co-founder and Programming Director of the the Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCO), a literary arts center in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Laura Secord

Laura Secord has been an offset printer, union organizer, health care activist, teacher, and a sex-educator. For thirty years, she combined the life of a writer and performer with a career as a Nurse Practitioner in HIV care. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College.  A Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared in the Birmingham Weekly, Arts and Understanding, The Southern Women’s Review, PoemMemoirStory, Passager, Indolent Books, Snapdragon and Burning House Press. She is the co-founder of Birmingham’s Sister City Spoken Word Collective, and an editor of their anthology, Voices of Resistance. She spentover twenty-years as a spoken word artist and producer of community performance events, including100,000 Poets for Change and Voices of Resistance.  Her poetry honors the unsung voices of women.    

 

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Tina Mozelle Braziel

“The dirt-sex scent of tomatoes” is the best line Tina Mozelle Braziel has written so far. Winner of the 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, she loves writing in the glass cabin that she and her husband are building on Hydrangea Ridge.  Her chapbook, Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press), and her forthcoming book, Known by Salt (Anhinga Press), detail some of her home building adventures.

 

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Jennifer Horne

Raised in Arkansas and a longtime resident of Alabama, Jennifer Horne is a writer, editor, and teacher who explores Southern identity and experience, especially women’s, through prose, poetry, fiction, and anthologies and in classrooms and workshops across the South. Among her books are Bottle Tree: Poems (2010) and Tell the World You’re a Wildflower (2014), a collection of short stories in the voices of Southern women and girls.  Her new collection of road and travel poems, Little Wanderer, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2016, and she has co-edited, with Don Noble, a collection of short fiction by Alabama women, Belles’ Letters II (2017). She is at work on a biography of writer Sara Mayfield. In 2017 she was commissioned Poet Laureate of Alabama, serving a four-year term. For the spring semester of 2018, she is the visiting writer-in-residence at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina. Her web page and blog are at: http://jennifer-horne.blogspot.com/

The Poet Interviews

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In this two part series, we hear from the poets of the Magic City Poetry Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. 

In the first of the Poet Interviews, Green Bucket Press founder and poet Anne Markham Bailey ushers the thoughts and poems of a wide range of poets as they approach questions of why they write poems, how they came to the craft, the role of the poet in society and their relationship with language. 

Magic City Poetry Festival Schedule

 

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Jason McCall

Jason McCall is an Alabama native, and he currently teaches at the University of North Alabama. His favorite word is “neighbor” because that was the winning word in his 3rd grade spelling bee, and he is always happy to mention that he won his 3rd grade spelling bee. He also won his 2nd grade spelling bee. He holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and his collections include Two-Face God; Dear Hero,; Silver; I Can Explain; and Mother, Less Child. He is the co-editor of It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop.

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Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones is a poet and teacher from Birmingham, Alabama. She loves to write anywhere, and her favorite word, right now, is yes.

 

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Alina Stefanescu Coryell

Alina plays alphabet games with her kids and writes about the world she wants to inhabit. She exists online at

www.alinastefanescu.com or @aliner.
 

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Shaunteka LaTrese Curry

Shaunteka LaTrese Curry is a Griot. A storytelling goddess using words and experiences to shape her personal universe into a self contained  utopia of weirdos. Hoping to change the world one poem at a time, one person at a time. She has published two collections of poetry; Love Hard Live Free: Conversations with She and Honeysuckle Lyrics and can be find her within the local community creating platforms and opportunities of change through social and creative expression.

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Anne Markham Bailey

Poet, Present Tense host and Green Bucket Press founder Anne Markham Bailey supports authentic voice and the unceasing and foundational creativity of our lives. 

Not Too Bad: Part 2

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If you have not listened to Part 1 of "Not Too Bad" go to Episode 2 and listen now!

In Part 2 of "Not Too Bad," we join J Everett Batterbury as his life changes dramatically.

 
 Everett's place on 12th Street South in Birmingham

Everett's place on 12th Street South in Birmingham

 My house on 12th Street South, across the street from Everett's place

My house on 12th Street South, across the street from Everett's place

Episode 2: Not Too Bad Part 1

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The story of J. Everett Batterbury

Sometimes we meet a person and cannot possibly envision how our lives will be changed because of them.  When I met J. Everett Batterbury on 12th Street, I was a young mother just divorced, struggling in relationship with a charismatic but irresponsible artist named Jesse.  In the early 90’s I was expanding the family printing company client base, finishing an MFA in Book Arts and parenting my son Edward.  Everett was an unforeseen spiritual teacher.  I bonded swiftly and fully.

 
 
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Learn more about "Not Too Bad" writer and Green Bucket Press founder, Anne Markham Bailey.

 

Episode 1: Disturb the Universe

 Now on I-Tunes.

Now on I-Tunes.

DISTURB THE UNIVERSE

I wanted to tell my mother what had happened to me when I was a girl, when I was sexually abused and bullied in our home. I spent years imagining and rehearsing how I would do it. Decades passed. I didn't tell her because I didn't want to ruin her life. I wanted her to have an illusion of family life that had shattered for me when I was still a girl. I held my silence and lived out my trauma, diminished my shine.  Finally I started to tell her at a time that seemed ripe. I'd only said "When I was a girl," and she held up her hand and said she didn't want to know. So I never did tell her.

When #metoo began, I was happy. Yes, it happened to me. In all sorts of ways. I was assaulted. I was diminished. I was called "honey" in professional settings. I was undermined. But finally I would speak. And I would encourage other women to speak.

When Roy Moore of Alabama lied about his stalking and assault and the women who had the courage to come forward were doubted, I wanted to do something to stand up for all of us who do not come forward in a world that has not supported us but can.  The idea of the Authentic Voices Project emerged one day several weeks before the election, and I began to solicit stories. We asked Alabama women to tell their stories of sexual abuse, and then we went through the stories and plucked elements from each submission. From there we invited members of Sister City Connection Spoken Word Collective to record the selected segments. We delivered these recordings to Rynea Soul who worked her magic adding beats and weaving audio art.

 

We are not asking to be believed. The truth of our experience rises from within us. We do not look outside for validation. We settle into the fluency of our native tongue, before we were silent. From our abuse, we make audio art. We sound it out. We vibrate the chords that rise through our throats and we bring authentic voices into the world.

I was assaulted as a girl and I was bullied for decades. I was discriminated against because of my gender.  I trained myself to be tough as nails and this project is helping me to loosen up and feel my own story in the stories of others.

We are not asking for anyone to believe us.

We are telling our own truths.

If you have a story to tell, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us at info@greenbucketpress.com. You can send your story as a text file or as an audio link.

If you have an ongoing sexual assault situation or want to seek counseling, please seek help.  In Birmingham,  https://crisiscenterbham.org/  Nationally: RAINN can route you to a regional assistance for sexual abuse.  https://www.rainn.org/