Evidence in Action Podcast LaTosha Brown on the Impact of Evidence in Social Movements
Subtitle
LaTosha Brown, cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute and cohost Kimberlyn Leary discuss using evidence to galvanize social movements and achieving change in a deeply divided society.
Display Date

About this episode

We examine the unique challenges and opportunities of using evidence to drive change within the context of a social movement, particularly in an era of heightened partisanship and media influence. We explore how evidence can serve as a powerful tool to galvanize social movements, but also the potential pitfalls when facts are obscured by ideological divides. Join us as we explore strategies for promoting evidence-based narratives, fostering constructive dialogue, and achieving meaningful change in the face of polarization.
 


 

Interviewer

Kimberlyn Leary, Executive Vice President, Urban Institute

Guest

Latosha Brown, cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute

 

Transcript

Sarah Rosen Wartell, cohost:
Welcome to Evidence in Action, a podcast from the Urban Institute. I’m your cohost, Sarah Rosen Wartell. I have the honor of being Urban’s president.

Kimberlyn Leary, cohost:
And I’m your cohost, Kimberlyn Leary, executive vice president of the Urban Institute.

Sarah Rosen Wartell:
In this podcast, Kim and I are going to explore the role of evidence, what it is, who makes it, who can use it, who should be using it, and how it can help us to shape policy and achieve better social, economic, and environmental outcomes.

Kimberlyn Leary:
And on every episode, we’ll be joined by a brilliant guest ranging from federal policymakers, local leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and those who meet community needs.

Sarah Rosen Wartell:
We’ll be asking them how they use facts, data, and evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities, and also about the limits of these tools in today’s complicated world.

Kimberlyn Leary:
On today’s show, I’m speaking with LaTosha Brown, an award-winning visionary, thought-leader and institution builder. LaTosha, as you all know, has an incredible voice, both for engaging movements, mobilizing communities, and also she is a singer. She’s a nationally recognized go-to expert on Black voting rights and voter suppression, Black women’s empowerment and philanthropy. Her voice is at the nexus of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and Black Lives Matter. LaTosha is the cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute designed to boost Black voter registration and turnout as well as increased power in marginalized predominantly Black communities. These organizations have granted over $30 million to enhance the voter outreach efforts and organizational capacity of their community partners. LaTosha was also the leader in practice at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program and the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, and she has created a unique platform at the Harvard Kennedy School for Black women leaders to undertake executive education and leadership training. Welcome to the show, LaTosha.

LaTosha Brown, guest:
Thank you for having me.

Kimberlyn Leary:
We are so thrilled to be in conversation with you, and I can’t imagine a more important voice for democracy and voting rights as yours. Can you tell us when you first experienced a calling for the work that you do for public leadership and for working in and outside of systems, especially for Black women’s empowerment?

LaTosha Brown:
I wish I could pinpoint the day or an incident. It’s been almost like a culmination of different life experiences and different kind of activities and moments of these “aha moments,” what I call them. But essentially, I remember two things about me from childhood that have just been consistent. I was always the kid, I was the little skinny girl with the two Afro puffs, but I was always the kid that had a disdain for seeing people bully and take advantage of smaller people. I don’t know where I got it from. I don’t know what was it that I saw. I don’t know what triggered it, but if there was any circumstance where I would see people use their power, whether it was their physical size, whether it was their position against other people, no matter as a little girl, I would jump in. So I always had this issue with seeing people abuse power.

And then the second thing, I always was very inquisitive around who had power. And so my grandmother’s running joke in my family that everywhere we would go, my first question, I was barely talking and my first question was: Who’s the boss? Who owns this? So we would go to McDonald’s and I would ask my grandmother, I called her mama, I say, “Mama who own this?” We would go to Kmart, who owns this? I think that there were two kind of big pieces that I think are part of the shaping. One was this disdain for people to abuse their power against folks that they thought were weaker or smaller. And then the second thing is I always was really intrigued about who was in charge. And so I wasn’t nurtured to grow up and be an activist. Matter of fact, it’s actually on the contrary.

My family, while they were a working class family in Alabama, for the most part, what their instruction was to go to school, get a good job with benefits, build your family and leave everything else alone. So it was really interesting because both my mother and my father as teenagers, they grew up in the ’60s. And so both of them have historical moments in their own life where my mother was a part of a Birdie Mae Davis case, which integrated high schools in Alabama. And then my father was a part of a very famous walkout in Mississippi that actually shifted integration in McComb, Mississippi, but actually had reverberations throughout the state of Mississippi.

And so it’s interesting because while both of them had kind of these activist backgrounds as students, it was a very difficult outcome for both of them. And so it’s interesting, they never really encouraged me to be an activist. They just wanted me to do my best, to be my best. And so I just naturally think I had a proclivity towards activism. Not that I thought I was going to grow up to be an activist. Like everybody else, I thought I was going to grow up and make all the money in the world. So that was the goal. I was going to make all the money, and I was going to marry Michael Jackson. So those were my life goals.

Kimberlyn Leary:
Well, those are good life goals, but it also sounds like really early on there was that proclivity to kind of look out and see, how is this all working? Who has a voice? Who has the power, who owns things, as you noted, and then, what can we do about all that misuse of power that we see?

LaTosha Brown:
Absolutely, and it’s interesting. I think without really understanding the full context of race, I understood racism. Growing up in Alabama, I knew that for some reason on one side of the railroad tracks, the homes looked a certain kind of way. And on the other side, they looked very different. And it didn’t make sense to me; what was so magical about the train tracks, right? There was nothing magical about the train tracks. The train tracks were a divider around race and how we invested in communities or divested in certain communities. And so even early on, while I didn’t have the full context of racism, I actually could see the disparities in what side of town you lived on or where you lived, and why were certain communities taking care? Why did they have sidewalks and we didn’t have sidewalks? So all of those things, even as a child, it’s all around you.

Kimberlyn Leary:
And I think that’s so important to underscore, and I appreciate you’re doing so. That when we think about the experience of growing up in different communities, children are absorbing everything.

LaTosha Brown:
Absolutely.

Kimberlyn Leary:
They begin to understand the structures, the scaffolding, the power relations. And when we reflect on that, we can see that in our own lives. I grew up in New Orleans and my parents moved to Chicago. But whenever we’d go down to New Orleans, I would see exactly the kind of things that you describe. Some houses in some neighborhoods look one way and look very different in other neighborhoods. So I can see that you were very much in the spirit of the Urban Institute, focusing on economic policy, social analysis. I can see that you were using evidence, and you were gathering evidence very early in your career even before it was a career.

Let me ask you more specifically about Black voting rights and Black voter suppression in this country. We need to appreciate history as evidence. I think we, at least some of us, appreciate that. But what do we need to do in order to make sure that that history is at the front of our minds when we’re planning research projects, when we are advising what we call changemakers? What would your advice be to all of us who are trying to make a difference and close racial wealth gaps and also address health policy disparities and education disparities?

LaTosha Brown:
I’ve got this theory in my mind of we need what I call the “V strategy,” of how do we get in right position? How do we get in right position of what we need? And so when I think about the V’s, I think these are the kind of the steps that I think. The first V, I often ask people, no matter where I am, no matter where I’m speaking, whether it’s at a university or in the community, I often ask people to close their eyes. And I’m hoping that those that are listening right now will humor me and participate in this exercise as well. I ask them to close their eyes, and then I ask two questions. And I ask you to hear this question with your heart, not your mind. And the questions that I ask, the first one is always: What would this nation look like without racism?

Just think about what would America look like without racism? And the second question is, what would this nation look like if all human beings felt valued and respected? I didn’t say you have to like them. You don’t have to love them. I just said they felt valued and respected. What would that look like? And so while those seem like simple questions, it never fails. No matter where I am in this country, and I ask those questions, 99 percent of the time, 99 percent of the room have never been asked that question. And why is that important? I think that’s really important because the third question I’ll often ask, and that’s after everybody has their eyes open, I ask: What has been produced in the physical realm that wasn’t first envisioned? And the answer is nothing. There’s nothing that exists in the physical realm that we didn’t first envision, whether it was an iPhone, whether it was a computer, whether it was a pillow, whether it was a pencil, someone had some vision of something having some purpose, and they created it.

They put the kind of energy and the thought to create that vision. I’m saying that because going back to my first question, the bottom line is, if we are a nation that 99 percent of us are not literally even thinking about, not even pondering the question of what America would look like without racism, that means we’re not actually trying to create new systems and new ways of being that would eliminate racism. That means that what we’ve decided is that we’ve resigned ourselves to accepting that racism will be here forever and always. And so given that, a part of what I think that we need to think about, is part of my V strategy. First V is really centered in a vision that part of what I think is challenging in this nation right now is a lack of imagination. That we are literally in a moment that we need innovation and we need imagination, but not just innovation on things that are inanimate, right?

Inanimate objects that at the end of the day, literally our humanity is struggling right now in terms of how we value what our discernment is—what do we see? And so I think it’s really important in this moment that we literally all try to create that vision that we should spend some time with this question of what would this nation look like without racism? What would a workday look like? I would argue that a workday wouldn’t even look the same. What would the academy look like? What would health care look like? What would a distribution of resources and wealth look like? The bottom line is, I think that if we spend time literally envisioning, it opens our minds to possibilities and what the potential could be when we’re focusing on going directly to, what I think is, one of the root causes that prevents this country from flourishing at the level that I think it could flourish.

The second V, I think, related to that, is what are our values. That ultimately we have to make a decision around what our values. I often say this, I don’t think that our politics will save us. It will be our humanity. And so we have to allow ourselves to actually create the space and the policy that’s going to center the advancement of humanity. That the end of the day, we have to get out of this, what I call, perpetual “Super Bowl,” that I’m on the red team, on the blue team. No, no, I’m on the humanity team, so I’m going to support public policy that actually advances human capital, human beings. So I think it’s really important for us to have that vision, but also be really clear about what our values are. The third thing is, my third V is, really around shifting the paradigm of what a victory looks like.

We have accepted in this nation that it’s a zero-sum game. That in order for me to win, you have to lose, right? How are you going to live with over 300 million people? And half the folks think that if they win, the other people lose. I mean, that’s insane, right? There’s enough wealth, there’s enough intellectual gifting, there’s enough resources in the wealthiest nation in the world, we could actually all be okay. It’s not a matter of what exists. It’s a matter of what the public will, what is our political will. And so I think it’s really important for us to shift this paradigm of what victory is seeing like. That victory doesn’t mean I have to lose at your expense. Victory can mean that we can all flourish. I’m able to operate within the realms of how I operate, with a regard of how it falls and impacts you.

What is so wrong with us doing that? And so I think that ultimately, the fourth V is really around voice. And so, at the end of the day, we really have to think, use our critical thinking skills. What are the things that we care about? What are the things that we want to see shaping of? When I say the V strategy, those are the things that, to me, ultimately can make the difference. How do we actually evolve as a nation? How do we evolve as a democracy and create a space that all human beings could feel valued and respected?

Kimberlyn Leary:
Well, folks, you heard it here: a vision, a set of values, a reimagining of what victory looks like and a call to action for voice. LaTosha, that is an amazing strategy that anyone, and all of us listening, can begin to deploy right now. We can begin to think about the world that we would like to live in, that we would like our children and our grandchildren to live in. But you’ve worked in alignment with civil rights leaders, with the Black power movement, with Black Lives Matter, and now, these new efforts to reclaim democracy. How do you see social change as it’s understood by these different leaders?

LaTosha Brown:
I’m glad that you raised the difference piece because I talk about often that the United States problem isn’t, we don’t know how to get along. There’s this idea of we just need unity. And what that normally means is to boil down and everybody need to think the same. I don’t think that that’s going to happen when you have millions and millions of people, nor do I think it should happen. I think the challenge in this nation is not that we don’t know how to get along. We don’t know how to fight. And what I mean by that is, there’s a valuable lesson that I learned from my favorite couple, which is my best friend and my business partner, and I remember early on in their marriage, one of the things that would intrigue me is, and I know this sounds weird, but was the way that they would fight. That the way that they would have disagreement, the amount of care and concern for each other’s humanity.

It would be an intense argument about one something or the other. But in terms of how they held space, grace for the other person and how the goal was to get to an understanding, not necessarily to get to destroy the other person, I learned so much about that. I learned from them around that for relationships. But I learned that from my work, that ultimately what I think that, in this country, working around differences, that the idea is, we don’t have to accept everybody’s differences. If you are differing or you’re creating something that says that I don’t deserve to live, I don’t have to agree with you on that or even make space for that. But I think that there are some ground rules in terms of us coming together around where we can be aligned. There doesn’t have to be complete agreement, but there has to be some alignment around the values of how we center people.

There has to be something that makes people feel connected. If not, we will be in a perpetual state of, what I call, war. And so, one of the things that I’ve learned with working with different organizers, I remember some of the elders, some of the people that I held at high esteem, I thought were flawless. They were perfect and they were infallible and they were flawless. And the first time that I either saw something or became disappointed in a decision or position they had, it was almost like my world had crashed. I’m like, “Oh no, but I believed in you.” Over time, I have matured to the point that I recognize that all of us are just trying to figure this out. A key lesson for me is never let your political ideology become the totality of your identity. Over the years, the people who I’ve learned to create have grace and space for me, but I’ve also created grace and space for them as well that we are learning. We’re trying to figure this out together.

Kimberlyn Leary:
The importance of learning and learning together and recognizing that interdependency seems really critical. That’s one way we think about evidence and what it can do. It can be a common platform for people to not always see even the same evidence in the same way, but at least have a touch point and to think about, to go back to your four Vs, the vision, the impact, if you will, that they would like to have on the world. So let me ask you a little bit about an organization like ours, which is a think tank, a social policy and economic policy institution that mainly does research, although we do a number of other things as well, like community-engaged methods. But what would your advice be for the kind of research that’s needed now for power building? Could we take some of your Vs and think about those as an agenda for evidence building?

LaTosha Brown:
That’s just a great question. You got my brain cells over here tingling a little bit. So I love that question. The research that has been most helpful for me is a research that I can actually utilize and incorporate the findings in my work, and it’s in real time. And so I think that, even looking at the V strategy, I think there’s a lot to be said with that. I have this belief that I think in the absence of a vision, people go with what is familiar or what makes them feel some sense of value, whatever that is—good, bad, or indifferent—and say what they think that will work. The challenge is, I think, that there’s been this narrative of America that America has thought every thought that could be thunk about democracy, we figured it all out, that its institutions are solid and strong and infallible. That the way that we do our elections, this is the right way to do it. If you people just do right, we can get this over with.

All of these pieces that I think, on one hand, was a part of the marketing and branding of America as a brand, that during its time, perhaps it had a lot of value of giving people hope. But the challenge I think we have now is that there’s a disconnect from this idea of America and people prospering, how easy it would be to prosper and what people are actually experiencing. So we’re now at this moment that the rubber has hit the road, where people are not buying that, that branding is like with every other product. At some point, you can say this soda is the best brand, but if it don’t taste good, people not going to buy it. And so I think we’re in that space in America. The question is, what is the new iteration of this nation?

Kimberlyn Leary:
Let me ask you another question about that. At Urban, we have a focus on community-engaged methods. We have a community-engagement resource center that really specializes in working with communities in partnership and learning from communities and participatory methods. And we know that there are lots of partnerships that exist across universities and communities, think tanks and communities. But my question to you is, what’s needed for that partnership to feel and be authentic to everyone?

LaTosha Brown:
It’s a simple answer. It’s one word, well, maybe two, but it is “authentic relationship,” that everything starts with relationship. Being in relationship with people opens up all kinds of spaces. For real, true partnership, there has to be a relationship. I’ve actually seen partnerships that have been on the thing and not the people, or on the policy and not the people. And the people know that they’re a means to an end and not an end in itself. And so I think the kind of research that’s most effective is where the researchers or the entity or the institution that’s leading the research has some skin in the game. That the people in the communities that they’re working with, they know that they’re vested in some form or fashion. They’re vested in what the people really have to say. They’re vested in getting this information to where it needs to be.

And so I think having culturally competent researchers that understand the nuances of culture, understand to be in relationship and this institution to have some kind of relationship with the community that’s not just about what they’re extracting, but also helping the community to really understand what their contribution is.

Kimberlyn Leary:
Yeah, that true partnership where, depending on the project of course, but from the beginning to the end, there may be opportunities for consultation and a recognition that communities have expertise, and that they have expertise to help shape certain questions and even certain data-analytic methods, if they’re brought in as partners. And then, oh so important, what you mentioned about being able to have that research be available in real time or as close to real time as researchers can do it, so that it’s available for the current issues that are under discussion and where decisions will be made. Let me ask you another couple of questions about this if I can. So we have a Racial Equity Analytics Lab at Urban, which we’re quite proud of, and we know that change agents need data and analysis to address structural racism.

There’s another organization, I think you know it, Data for Black Lives, that has a mission of using data to create concrete and measurable change for the lives of Black people. For those of us, including my research colleagues, who collect and analyze data, are there questions that you see right now that we should be asking that will meet the needs of communities and ensure, especially, that social justice is a part of data and algorithms?

LaTosha Brown:
The questions that come to mind for me, one is, I think it would be interesting to understand what a community sees as their trajectory that 50 years from now, if nothing happens, where do you think your community will be? Like that trajectory, right? And then kind of flip on that same question, really delving down in terms of what do they think would make the most impactful—like the vision that they have for the future, 50 years from now, like the true vision they have, if they were able to have a magic wand and the community look the way they wanted it to look 50 years from now, what would that look like? And then, I think the third question would really be on what would need to change in order for it to get to the place of what they desire and they deserve?

If we can believe in a vision that things are extraordinarily different, and then we actually believe that there’s something that can bring about that, then that’s a different kind of paradigm shift. And so I would be really interested in knowing how people see their future, both if nothing happens and if something were to happen. And if something were to happen that they thought would make the difference, I want to know what that is.

Kimberlyn Leary:
That’s terrific. At the Urban Institute, we have always thought about the impact of our work, and we’ve been pleased that our work has been used in different ways by different kinds of changemakers in communities, by elected officials, presidential administrations. But what you’re getting at here is having a vision for the impact that one would like to have in a community, and it’s as aligned with what the community wants for itself. And that’s really terrific.

And I know that you and I have had separately opportunities to engage with Ms. Oprah Winfrey, and one of the things that Oprah says to all of us is that in order to function effectively in a leadership or other role where you have a public voice, that you need to fill your own cup first. And that you need to continuously think about what you need and what you’re trying to achieve. I know music has been a source of joy and a way that you reach people. Can you tell us more about how music has played an important role in your own leadership voice?

LaTosha Brown:
[Singing] Well, the first thing I did right was the day I started to fight, keep your eyes on the prize and hold on, hold on. [Speaking] Sometimes, I actually have to sing to myself sometimes when I’m like, okay, okay. I’m like, this is some hard work. I think one, thank you for lifting that up from Ms. Winfrey. Matter of fact, I needed to hear that message today. I do think that that’s part of the reason why I am like a broken record when it comes to this notion of not allowing ourselves just to become another political animal. But we are human beings—to grab, and to embrace, and to stand in the fullness of our humanity. What possibilities exist when we do that? When we allow ourselves to feel for ourselves and our own lives, it gives us space for empathy for others. When we allow ourselves to love and be loved on, we have a different appreciation for love.

When we allow ourselves to actually take care of those that may need a little extra love, a little help, or whether it’s an elder, whether it’s a baby, there’s something about that that forces you to move beyond your ego and center the concern and to care for another human being. What if we really, literally took those values in all aspects of our lives, in the way that we showed up in the world? And so I agree that I think in this space of trying to do this work, that I have had this really interesting kind of dance, and particularly in this last year or so, of how do I navigate and negotiate trauma or pain and hold joy at the same time? I know you are familiar with this, but many listening may not know, I buried my only child over a year ago, a year and a month ago, to be precise. And his birthday was two days ago. So it’s been a really interesting kind of road to navigate. How do you navigate grief and trauma in a space and then also maintain who you are?

And part of, for me, I’ve made a decision that I want to live this life that I have left to live. And so part of that is, as Ms. Winfrey talks about, is filling your cup. And for me, music, my mother said that I was born singing. I sing when I’m in the.... I’m glad that God gave me the ability to be able to hold a tune because I would probably run everybody crazy. I’m in the grocery store, I’m singing, I’m humming.

Some of the soldiers, the foot soldiers in the civil rights movement, the voting rights movement, and I remember thinking—it’s funny, because I was thinking of song as when they were singing freedom songs, that they were singing freedom songs to show a force of unity. And I still think that on some extent, but when I would talk to them, one of my mentors, who was Reverend James Orange, who was lieutenant of Dr. King. He said, “Baby, we were singing because we were scared.” He was like, “And that was a way for us to actually to calm our spirit and bring us into a different space of our humanity.” And he was like—So I never had thought about singing or them singing those songs, literally being a lifeline for them, not only to feel connected to the other people, but it wasn’t really even about the jailers at all. It was about them. It was what brought edification to them. And so, for me, in the work that I do, I see the same way. And for me, when I think about community, I think about music. I think about the way that I think of characters of communities when I go and I visit and I travel internationally or even domestically, I’m always intrigued.

I want to know what kind of food they’ve got, right?

I want to try and taste the food, but I’m always interested in what kind of music, what kind of music, what kind of dance. And then I’m often interested in, how do they express family? What does the family unit look like? And I say that because all of those things are the same things that actually help me stay grounded and keep me feeling grounded. And so, in my work, I’ve used music as an extension of who I am. And when I’m feeling sad, I sing. When I’m feeling happy, I sing. I can be in the middle of a lecture, and I feel it and I’ll sing. I will be in a meeting at the White House and I’ve done this, and I will start singing. I’ve always seen music as an access point to the heart. It’s an access point for my heart, for me to tap into what’s in my heart. I think just for a moment when we hear music, it captures us. We’re reminded of our humanity. And so part of my using music as a tool, it brings me in my full body. It brings me into myself.

Kimberlyn Leary:
LaTosha, just want to thank you personally and on behalf of all of those who are listening for taking us into what it means to practice public leadership. We mourn the loss of your son along with you, and we are honored that you could speak his name today so that we can know that one can grieve and lead, love and be angry, sing and give speeches, that it takes full personhood to lead the kind of change that’s so critical.

LaTosha Brown:
I will say one, thank you for this conversation. I actually really enjoyed this conversation. I believe that we’re at a... People are looking at what’s happening now. We’re seeing the politics of the day, and we’re like, “Oh my God, this is awful. It’s bad.” No, we can create the future we desire, we deserve. It is going to take us actually having a vision of moving forward. And I actually believe that we’re in what I call a period, era of honesty. There was the Dark Ages and there was other periods that we’ve had historically, I call this the “Period of Honesty.”

I think that what’s in the dark comes to the light. I think that this is a moment for us to deal with being transparent with the fragility of democracy in this nation. I think this is important for us to actually revisit our own humanity and where we’re falling short. And I think this is a moment for us to actually look at the context of how we use our discernment. I’m really concerned about not using discernment, that this isn’t about a popularity contest. This is really about our lives. And all of that, saying all of that, I still have so much hope in my heart. That what I do know, as human beings, no matter what, we survive. Human beings have a way of adapting and surviving. But my hope and belief is that we are rising. We will rise to the occasion.

Kimberlyn Leary:
So as you talk about us rising and as you talk about a need for honesty and the importance of discernment, let me ask you a question about evidence, a final question about evidence that we like to ask all of our guests. I know your work with the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium. It’s fantastic. And I wanted to ask about how high-quality evidence has been important to you in driving that work forward?

LaTosha Brown:
Oh, that’s great. What I would say is high-quality evidence is, that the organization, Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, is an organization that came out of a vision that I had a couple of years ago. But the young woman, who, basically, I’m taking direction from right now, is a young woman that I met at the age of 14-years-old, who I have been her, she says I was her mentor. She has now become my mentor. This was a young woman named Chanceé Lundy. I’m going to put her out there. This was a young woman who came from extreme poverty. She shares her story, so came from extreme poverty who, when she went off to college where everybody else, they were taking their student loan check, buying clothes, cars, or what have you, she sent her check back home to help pay her grandmother’s bills.

She went in an internship and literally did not have the money to afford a place to stay for this internship she had in New Jersey. And she literally slept out in the parking lot of Home Depot and would go in the office every day and take a shower and get ready. This woman, the first thing she did when she did get a real job was she bought her grandmother a house and took her out of the projects. And so, she is now, the level of survivalship and mentorship and brilliance—I am so inspired by that when you pour into young women, I’m convinced, that when you pour into young women, that literally they can change the world.

And so she’s my evidence. This is a 14-year-old woman, who’s a 14-year-old girl who now is 42, I think, and has an organization of her own called Destination Liberation, where she’s taken young women all around the world to expose them as she was exposed. So what I know, is that I know that when you pour into a Black girl, you will change the world. I have all kinds of evidence of that.

Kimberlyn Leary:
And lived experience is evidence.

LaTosha Brown:
Is lived experience. Absolutely.

Kimberlyn Leary:
LaTosha, thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s so nice to be in conversation with you directly. Thank you so much for being on the show.

LaTosha Brown:
Thank you so much. I appreciate you and all the work that you’ve done and continue to do and lead the Urban Institute.

Kimberlyn Leary:
Join us next time on Evidence in Action as we have conversations about important ways to drive change with our talented and captivating guests. If you’d like to learn more about us, go to our website at urban.org. You can also follow the show on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, and wherever you listen to your podcasts. This has been Evidence in Action, created by the Urban Institute and Pod People. I’m your host, Kim Leary. Thank you.

Body

Tune in and subscribe today.

The Urban Institute podcast, Evidence in Action, inspires changemakers to lead with evidence and act with equity. Cohosted by Urban President Sarah Rosen Wartell and Executive Vice President Kimberlyn Leary, every episode features in-depth discussions with experts and leaders on topics ranging from how to advance equity, to designing innovative solutions that achieve community impact, to what it means to practice evidence-based leadership.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TODAY