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.

The ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta a few weeks ago isn't the only high-profile cyberattack Georgia has faced in recent years. Two years ago, a security researcher gained unauthorized access to a server used by Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which stores the data of millions of Georgia voters. At the time, the data breach wasn't illegal under Georgia law —  but a new bill awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal's signature could change that. Senate Bill 315 defines unauthorized computer access as a crime under Georgia law, which would make data breaches easier to prosecute. Some people in the tech industry, however, worry SB 315 could actually hinder their ability to do their jobs.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leader in South Africa's anti-apartheid movement and ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela, died Monday. She was 81. On Second Thought producer Fenly Foxen, who grew up in South Africa, spoke with host Adam Ragusea about Madikizela-Mandela's integral role in the fight against apartheid. Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, CEO of the TutuDesk Campaign and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, also joined from South Carolina. Tutu-Gxashe earned her master's degree from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. 

Courtesy of Matt Kennedy

Dorothy Steel might not have auditioned for the superhero movie "Black Panther" if her grandson hadn't told her what a game-changer the film would be for Hollywood and could be for her. 

But her grandson persuaded her to give it a go. She got the part. Now, millions have seen her advise T'Challa, Black Panther and king of Wakanda, as a merchant tribal elder. And she only started acting a few years ago. 

On Second Thought contributor Sonya Green spoke with the actress about her breakout role. 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling Brown v. the Board of Education more than six decades ago. Linda Brown, the namesake of that landmark court case, died March 25. She was 76. 

With Brown v. Board, it became illegal to separate public school students by race. But since the landmark ruling, many schools in the South have resegregated, according to a report from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. The study also found Latino student enrollment surpassed black enrollment for the first time.

We spoke about the resegregation of southern schools with Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education at Penn State University, Belisa Urbina, executive director of Ser Familia, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Maureen Downey.

National Park Service

April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Today, we paid tribute to King's legacy by talking to the people who knew him, portrayed him and were inspired by him. 

LaRaven Taylor / GPB

Civil rights icon Xernona Clayton was both the organizer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr.

She sat down with On Second Thought for a conversation about how King would feel about today's civil rights movements.

WSB-TV

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. has been the subject of a number of films.

The made-for-television film, “The Boy King,” tells the story of his youth. The WSB-TV movie focuses on  early prejudices King encountered in his childhood and how his family responded.

LaRaven Taylor / GPB

The 1999 Disney made-for-television movie, “Selma, Lord, Selma,” explores Martin Luther King Jr.'s later years in Selma, Alabama.

The movie is told through the eyes of an 11-year-old inspired by King's determination in the fight for equal rights.

WikiCommons

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. A new book, "The Heavens Might Crack" by historian Jason Sokol, explores the public’s reaction to King's death. We talked with the author about how he delved into the different stories behind these reactions. 

Last year, we spoke with two Georgia-based comic book publishers who are working to develop more superheroes of color. Carlton and Darrick Hargro are the creative force behind the comic book company, 20th Place Media. We talked to them about one of their latest comics called “Moses,” which draws connections between the African slave trade and an alien abduction.

On Second Thought For Monday, April 2, 2018

Apr 2, 2018

Georgia leads most of the nation in average student loan debt. Nearly 1.5 million Georgians owe an average of $30,000 in federal student debt. Defaulting on student loans hurts more than your credit score; it can also result in losing your professional license. In more than a dozen states, including Georgia, your license can be seized if you don't keep up with your loan payments. 

Chapel Hill Public Library / Flickr

Between 1956 and 1961, "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee wrote a series of personal letters, now available to the public at Emory University's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

The letters, written during the same period as Lee wrote "Mockingbird" and "Go Set a Watchman," sheds light on the relationships of a renowned writer who was legendarily private. The correspondence also provides a new look into the civil rights movement-era South in which Lee wrote her novels. 

We talked with Emory University history professor Joe Crespino about these letters. His latest book, "Atticus Finch: The Biography," focuses on the influences that shaped Lee's writing.

We rounded up this week's new in today's edition of the Breakroom. 

Joining the conversation was Greg Williams, host of the radio show "Greg's List," Mercer University English professor Anya Silver, author Nicki Salcedo and LGBT educator and activist Robbie Medwed

Before the new teen romantic comedy, “Love, Simon” hit the big screens, it was a novel. "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" follows the story of a highschool boy who struggles with his sexual identity.

Before teenage rom-com "Love, Simon" hit the big screens, high school student Simon Spier was the center of the novel "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda."

Set in Atlanta, both the film and the novel follow Simon as he struggles to be open about his sexual identity. 

"I'm just like you, except I have one huge ass secret," Simon says in the film. "Nobody knows I'm gay."

The newest appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is already facing serious accusations. Dr. Robert Redfield has been accused of fabricating or seriously botching HIV vaccine data. President Trump's appointee also has no experience running a public health organization. This problematic news comes months after the controversy with previous CDC director, Brenda Fitzgerald.

The City of Atlanta is still dealing with the fallout from a massive cyberattack Thursday. Since a group of hackers locked down the city's computer system with a malware called Ransomware, city employees have been unable to carry out essential business. Atlanta residents can't even pay their bills online. 

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has condemned the attack. She has yet to confirm if the city will pay the $50,000 ransom hackers have demanded in exchange for the city to regain access to its data. Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Emily Cureton updated us on the latest developments in the data breach. We also spoke with Milos Prvulovic, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science.

On Second Thought For Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mar 27, 2018

A teenager in Thomasville, Georgia is facing charges for allegedly stealing a gun from a car earlier in March. We've seen this problem across the state. In 2016 The Trace, an investigative news website, examined firearm theft in Atlanta and Savannah. finding Atlanta led many cities with its rate of guns stolen from automobiles. We spoke with Brian Freskos, a reporter who covers gun trafficking for The Trace. 

On Second Thought For Monday, March 26, 2018

Mar 26, 2018

Former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, 86, died Friday morning at his home in Young Harris. Miller was best known for pioneering the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship, which has provided nearly 9.5 billion dollars in financial assistance to millions of Georgia college students since its creation in 1992. 

 

HBCUs Take Center Stage On BET's "The Quad"

Mar 26, 2018
BET

BET's “The Quad” is in its second season.

The true-to-life drama takes place on a fictional historically black college in Georgia. A majority of the production took place across several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta.

Tullio Saba / Flickr

The estate of Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," is suing over an upcoming Broadway adaptation of the classic novel. In the lawsuit, Lee's estate complains about significant differences between the book and the play, which was adapted for the stage by "The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin. 

On Second Thought For Friday, March 23, 2018

Mar 23, 2018

Normally when you think of cherry blossoms, you think of Washington D.C. or Japan. But unbeknownst to a lot of tourists, Macon, Georgia is the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. William A. Fickling Sr. discovered the distinctive blooms in his backyard in 1949.

On Second Thought For Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mar 22, 2018

Opioid addiction is a major problem in Georgia. Several years ago, Governor Nathan Deal signed the "Good Samaritan" bill. The bill was created to prevent opioid overdose deaths by giving amnesty to anyone who reports drug-related emergencies. The measure also equips law enforcement and first responders with Naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses if given right away.

On Second Thought for Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mar 21, 2018

Frankenstein has been a popular novel turned movie since it was first published in 1818. At Emory University, three Atlanta playwrights took a new look at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with modern scientific research. They each contributed to a single show that’s being performed at the Atlanta Science Festival. We were joined by Neely Gossett and 

Frankenstein has been a popular novel turned movie since it was first published in 1818. 

At Emory University, three Atlanta playwrights took a new look at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with modern scientific research. They each contributed to a single show that’s being performed at the Atlanta Science Festival.

On Second Thought for Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mar 20, 2018

Now that it’s warming up, you may consider visiting one of Georgia’s many historic monuments. The Ocmulgee National Monument near Macon was designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The most prominent features at Ocmulgee are huge earthen mounds that spread across 700 acres. Native Americans first settled there thousands of years ago. We talked with a professor at Middle Georgia State University, Matt Jennings, to learn more about the history.

Summer Evans / GPB

Georgia ranks near the top nationally for having the most human trafficking cases.

Data compiled by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center shows that this year alone, Georgia has the seventh highest rate of cases. Most involve sex trafficking.

Legislation is working its way through Congress to give prosecutors and sex trafficking victims a way to take legal action against websites, like Backpage.com, that welcome ads for prostitutes. However, some companies worry this measure could hurt the tech industry.

Atlanta’s professional soccer team has come a long way fast. Atlanta United took to the field for the first time in March 2017. Now it draws in tens of thousands of fans. Atlanta United FC squares off against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday evening at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We talked with the team’s president, Darren Eales.

 

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced his pick for Deputy Commissioner for Rural Georgia. In January, GPB Special Correspondent Celeste Headlee looked at legislative efforts to improve services like health care and internet access in rural parts of the state. She spoke with Mark Niesse, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Sharon Wright Austin, Political Science Professor at the University of Florida.

 

A month ago, 17 people died in a mass school shooting in Florida. To remember the victims, students nationwide are walking out of their classrooms Wednesday morning in solidarity. We talked with student Lauren Bengtson of Pope High School in Cobb County. Her father, Mike, also joined the conversation.  Then, we talked with Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center about whether schools can take action against students who participate in Wednesday’s walkout. 

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