LaRaven Taylor

On Second Thought Producer

LaRaven was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so she’s no stranger to the south. LaRaven developed a passion for storytelling at a very young age. She became a features editor on her high school’s newspaper staff and an anchor on the school’s station. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Journalism. She started working as an Associate Producer for WLBT in Jackson, MS. There, she worked her way up to become a senior producer. She also did some reporting. LaRaven is a member of NABJ and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She lives by the quote: “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes.

Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday. The hurricane is expected to hit the northeastern coast of Georgia and continue through the southwest and center of the state, according to the National Weather Service. We spoke with Marshall Shepherd, the program director for atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, about tracking the hurricane over the week and how meterologists convey the severity of storms. We also spoke with Gwen Cooper, an author and pet rescue expert about what to do with pets during extreme weather.


Weather hurricane michael hurricane
Brendan Farrington / Associated Press

Hurricane Michael makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday. The hurricane is expected to hit the northeastern coast of Georgia and continue through the southwest and center of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

We spoke with Marshall Shepherd, the program director for atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, about tracking the hurricane over the week and how meterologists convey the severity of storms. We also spoke with Gwen Cooper, an author and pet rescue expert about what to do with pets during extreme weather.


Georgia has the seventh highest rate of uninsured children in the country. The problem is especially severe in low-income communities. The report from Voices of Georgia's Children shows 80 percent of Georgia children who were eligible for medicaid or Peachcare in 2016 weren't enrolled. Virginia Prescott spoke with executive director from Voices of Georgia's Children, Erica Sitkoff, and editor of Georgia Health News, Andy Miller, about the barriers Georgians face.


LaRaven Taylor/GPB

Being a teenager today is difficult enough. For many, shifting definitions of sexual orientation adds layers of adolescent angst. A new young adult novel from The New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone follows how questions of gender and identity play out in the lives of three teens in a Decatur high school.

Onlinemediarelease/Flickr

Georgia has the seventh highest rate of uninsured children in the country. The problem is especially severe in low-income communities. The report from Voices of Georgia's Children shows 80 percent of Georgia children who were eligible for medicaid or Peachcare in 2016 weren't enrolled.

There aren't many African-American males who play lead roles in superhero or Sci-Fi films. 

Jessica Handler

Jessica Handler is author of "Braving The Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir." Handler gave her list of favorite southern books. Her forthcoming novel, "Magnetic Girl" will be available in 2019.


Brandon Bush/Twitter

Now we add some more songs to our essential Georgia playlist from Brandon Bush. We ask artists to pick two songs written or performed by another Georgian that best represent the state.

Brandon Bush is a member of Train and a studio musician who worked on songs by John Mayer and Sugarland.

 


Myles Truitt/Twitter

There aren't many African-American males who play lead roles in superhero or Sci-Fi films. Earlier this year, we got a taste of representation in "Black Panther." The movie made more than $1 billion in less than a month. "Kin" is a new Sci-fi film, starring a young black man.


The U.S. Senate plans to vote this Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Given his record, predictions are that Kavanaugh will shift the court to a conservative majority. That got us wondering about what cases are on the docket for the term that began on Monday. We spoke with Fred Smith, Jr. about cases to watch during the 2018-2019 term. Smith is an associate professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Twitter / A3C

When Hip-Hop hit big in the early '70s, classics flooded out from New York and Los Angeles. Then came Atlanta, and we had A3C, a hip-hop music festival and conference for all three coasts.

Kjetil Ree/Flickr

The U.S. Senate plans to vote this Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Given his record, predictions are that Kavanaugh will shift the court to a conservative majority. That got us wondering about what cases are on the docket for the term that began on Monday. We spoke with Fred Smith, Jr. about cases to watch during the 2018-2019 term. Smith is an associate professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Next Monday, public schools and state offices across Georgia close to mark Columbus Day. Five states, more than 50 cities and dozens of universities no longer observe the federal holiday. Most instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. After a unanimous vote this summer, South Fulton became the first city in Georgia to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On Second Thought’s Virginia Prescott spoke with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Baker about the ctiy's new holiday. 

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Next Monday, public schools and state offices across Georgia close to mark Columbus Day. Five states, more than 50 cities and dozens of universities no longer observe the federal holiday. Most instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


The FBI is currently investigating allegations of sexual assault made against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Tens of millions of Americans watched testimony from Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Responses to the hearings and the #MeToo Movement make clear sexual violence is something that must be addressed in the public sphere. We spoke with University of Georgia psychology professor Isha Metzger and Sally Sheppard, executive director of The Cottage, a sexual assault center and children's advocacy center. We discussed how we talk about sexual assault in our communities. 


The ongoing debate over so-called religious freedom laws recently surfaced in the Georgia gubernatorial race. Democrat Stacey Abrams told a group in Savannah the law is unnecessary -- and could prevent prospective employers from setting up shop in Georgia. Meanwhile, Republican rival Brian Kemp has pledged to sign a religious protection law. That got us thinking about the nature of laws on Georgia’s books. We learn about some curious and outdated ones.

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Christina Ham's play "Nina Simone: Four Women" follows the activism and creative legacy of the fiercely talented Nina Simone.

 

The woman known as "The High Priestess of Soul" aspired to be America's first black classical pianist, and left a lasting impression on music that resonates today.

 

We spoke with director Michele Shay and actors Adrienne Reynolds, Wendy Fox-Williams, Jordan Frazier, and Regina Marie Williams on the way the characters each represent a different aspect of Simone's life.

 


There are a lot of film and television projects being produced right now in Georgia. We got a rundown of some of what’s in production from Kalena Boller. She works as a location manager in Georgia’s film industry. She also gave us a preview of her upcoming GPB podcast, "The Credits." It focuses on the stories of the people who work behind the scenes.

 

CNN

The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain changed the way a lot of people think and write about food. He traveled the world for his CNN show, Parts Unknown. From Nairobi to Atlanta, he brought us along for the ride. Bourdain took his life in June. On Sunday night, CNN debuted the final season of Parts Unknown. We look back on Bourdain’s legacy in the culinary world. 

GPB

The federal Farm Bill making its way through Congress could dramatically reduce the availability of free school meals. Those meals offer significant help for the nearly 20 percent of Georgia households with children that struggle to afford quality food for their families, according to the Food Research and Action Center. So many students qualify for the free meal program in Macon's Bibb County School District that free breakfast and lunch are available district-wide. To put that in perspective, the district served 18,000 lunches last year alone. 

GPB

The Fair Housing Act is 50 years old this year. Former President Lyndon Johnson implemented this landmark piece of civil rights legislation days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. King often said housing was a key victory in the struggle for African-American equity in the United States. 


GPB

On today's "On Second Thought," we revisited a few of the conversations that have lingered in our minds this week. Jonathan Merritt told us why he stopped having conversations about faith after leaving Georgia behind for New York, and how he is reconceptualizing religious language for a new era. We also heard from filmmaker Stefan Forbes about Lee Atwater and the Southern strategy. On Second Thought's Virginia Prescott also took the show on the road to Athens, Georgia, where she snacked on edible insects with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley. Need a palate cleanser after that? Virginia visited Atlanta-based Chef Todd Richards for a BLT breakfast sandwich with collard greens. 


Clarkston The Film / Facebook

Chris Buckley served in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming an Imperial Nighthawk of the Northern Georgia Ku Klux Klan. He said he turned to drug addiction and a hate group when he returned home from overseas. His wife, Melissa, wanted him to leave the KKK. She did some researching and looked for ways to help her husband turn his life around. That's when she met former neo-Nazi skinhead, Arno Michaelis. 

GPB

Five years ago, Jonathan Merritt moved from Buford to Brooklyn, New York. Almost immediately, Merritt found he couldn't communicate with the people around him. It was not that they spoke a different language, but rather that Southern Baptist preacher's son — and Emory-educated Master of Divinity — felt unable to have the conversations about faith and spirituality that he had always had in his hometown. Merritt set out to find out if other people in the United States were avoiding conversations about religion. 


LaRaven Taylor

Millennials aren't as religious as generations before them. That's according to a report from the Pew Research Center. The study found 35 percent of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 are religiously unaffiliated. We gathered a group of church leaders to explain how they engage with young people. 

GPB

Today, "On Second Thought" took a scan of the state.

We spoke with NPR political reporter Asma Khalid about low voter turnout, and heard from some of the Georgians she met in Houston, Cobb and Hancock counties.

GPB's own Emily Jones also joined from Savannah with a story about alligators in the Okefenokee swamp, and "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott munched on some edible bugs with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley.

We also caught up with John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His new series, "TrueSouth," debuts on SEC Network tonight. Chef Todd Richards also told us about his favorite Southern ingredient: collard greens. 

GPB

Is Georgia turning blue? That question came up in 2014 when Jason Carter ran for governor, in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for president and in 2017 with Jon Ossoff’s campaign in the most expensive House race in history. Every time, however, Georgia remained a red state where Republicans won. 


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As we near this year’s November election, there’s one recurring question: Will Georgia become a blue state? Before we look at the political future of the state, we did some research on the past.

GPB

Efrain de la Rosa, a 40-year-old detainee at ICE’s Stewart detention center in Lumpkin, was found dead in his cell last Tuesday.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the preliminary cause of death was self-inflicted strangulation.  The case remains under investigation.


Katina Rankin/Twitter

The U.S. Department of Justice has reopened the murder case of Emmett Till, the African-American teenager killed the summer of 1955. The 14-year old was from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was kidnapped, tortured, and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman.


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