Arts & Culture

Peggy’s Dreams: Living life with Down syndrome
Produced by Marisa Helms

Peggy Mehen wants to make some changes in her life. She wants a new job. She wants to live independently. And her biggest dream is to be a supermodel. The fact that Peggy is a 40 year-old woman with Down syndrome has little impact on what she believes she can achieve. As a child growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, Peggy belongs to a first generation of children with Down syndrome to be mainstreamed into schools—paving the way for today’s generation of parents and people with Down syndrome who continue to push boundaries and demand greater inclusion and better social and medical supports in the community.

Peggy’s Dreams: Living life with Down syndrome, was produced by Marisa Helms (marisahelms.com). Producer’s Note: The 1952 educational film heard in my story, In Our Care: Woodward State Hospital and School, is part of a 13-week series of documentaries about Iowa’s state institutions. The entire In our Care series is archived online at the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities website (mn.gov/mnddc).

NOISY
The Noisy, Everyday World of Ancient Rome & The Roaring Crowd

Dale Loomer substitute DJ. Songs in five languages. Requests were for Paco DeLucia and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff tracks were back-to-back classic vinyl. Susheela Raman’s – Music for Crocodiles was my personal favorite new (at least new to me) song of the week.

Another crazy installment of the Echo Chamber – filled with tons of new dubs, some classic roots, a tasty Latin set, and other fun bits. In the new dub and roots category were brand new tracks from Kanka (“Watch Your Step” album on Dubalistik), Bass Culture Players, Lali/Munky Lee, Relaxo meets The Technician (unreleased track), Afrokeys (unreleased track), Tony Dubshot & Jacky Ligon (from the “23” release on Dubbhism Deluxe). Red Star Martyrs (remixed by the Dubbstyle), Victor Essiet & the Mandators, and Tackhead (from the “For the Love of Money” album). The Latin tracks included a couple from Mexican Institute of Sound’s excellent “Politico” album, one from Arrebato Ensemble’s new “Absolucion” album, and two from the great self-titled release by Ondatropica. Also in the mix was the funky new “Curiosities” album from Lord Echo; the new “Redux” album of archived tracks from Keith & Tex; plus Sly & Robbie meet Mad Professor, Shigeto, UB40, Hot Rain, J Boog, Last Soul Descendents, Tokyo Jihen, Dub Majestic, and more…

We speak with Jennifer Percy about her new book Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she received a Truman Capote Fellowship in fiction. She also won a Pushcart Prize and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hosted by Womenfolk’s Ellen Stanley

Highlights from the International Folk Alliance Conference & special guest Sandi Millar of No Grass Limit!

The Importance of History and Ritual – Titilayo Bediako

Health Notes ended its African History Month tribute by talking with teacher, mentor and founder of WE WIN Institute.

Titilayo Bediako was born and raised in Minnesota, and is the daughter of civil rights leader Matthew Little. She is instrumental in using African and African American history to African American youth through WE WIN Institute ( a non-profit organization dedicated to the academic and social success of all children)

Bediako says participating in African rituals helps give African-American youth a sense that they belong to something larger than themselves or their surroundings.

She says that’s something she never received when she was in school. After graduating from high school, she moved to Tennessee where she joined an African history study group. “The more I studied and the more I learned about myself, the more my given name, which was Michelle Little, didn’t fit the person I had become,” says Bediako.
The name Titilayo is from the Yoruba of Nigeria. She says it means “everlasting happiness.” Bediako is from the Ashanti people of Ghana and it means, “born to struggle for her people.”

Symbols of Kwanzaa, celebrated by African-Americans in December. Participating in African-rooted rituals and ceremonies, like Kwanzaa, is one way African-Americans nurture their African side. “So I get everlasting happiness in struggling for my people,” says Bediako. “The one thing that I’ve learned is that struggling for African people makes it possible to struggle for all people.”

Like Bediako, many African-Americans have adopted African names. However, despite attempts to identify with Africans, African-Americans carry the physical and emotional baggage of slavery and racism. Bediako says many African-Americans have poor self-esteem because they were born in a country that historically has devalued their lives.

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