Emilia Brock

On Second Thought Supervising Producer

Emilia Brock is supervising producer for GPB's program, "On Second Thought."

Emilia is a passionate storyteller and has experience in a number of creative fields, including journalism, photography, video and radio production, fiction writing and more.

She has held a variety of professional roles, ranging from arts and culture reporting to communications for Atlanta's Delta Air Lines. She was even, at one point, a street performer in Helsinki, Finland, writing stories and poems on demand.

Emilia got her start in journalism early on, writing for her local newspaper, “The Daily Breeze,” before even graduating high school. She went on to write a weekly column for that paper, recounting her experiences as a freshman at New York University. There, she double-majored in journalism and English & American literature, and minored in music, graduating cum laude.

Emilia is originally from Los Angeles, and while she will always have love for her former cities in the Avocado State and the Big Apple, she is thrilled to make her home here, now, in the Peach State.

Courtesy of the Savannah Police Department, Love Beyond Walls, Jerald Nuness, and Dr. Andre Brock

For generations, “The Talk” has been a mainstay in African American families. At some point, Black children all get warnings from elders about how to avoid – and survive – police encounters.

It’s a rite that cuts across region, socioeconomic status and profession – even for members of law enforcement.

 


Emily Jones / GPB News

America’s mayors have taken center stage in 2020. Big city mayors feuded with state and federal officials over COVID-19 protections and resources, and have been praised — and condemned — for their handling of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

These crises may be unfolding on a national and international scale, but affect lives in every American city and town. Outside of Atlanta’s national spotlight, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson is working to address these issues head-on.


America’s mayors have taken center stage in 2020. Big city mayors feuded with state and federal officials over COVID-19 protections and resources, and have been praised — and condemned — for their handling of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

These crises may be unfolding on a national scale, but affect lives in every American city and town. With Atlanta officials already in the national spotlight, On Second Thought turned to local leaders in Savannah — Georgia’s first city and the state’s largest coastal municipality — to see how they are responding. We begin with Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who took office in January of this tumultuous year. He shed light on his decision-making processes and vision for the city’s future.


Photography by Melissa Alexander

Today, in celebration of Juneteenth, Power Haus Creative has organized what they’re calling the “Juneteenth Takeover” – in which 19 Atlanta artists will display their work on the exterior of the historic Flatiron building in downtown Atlanta.

Carlton Mackey and Melissa Alexander are two of those artists.

 


While the deaths of Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland galvanized the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have forced America to reckon with centuries of racial injustice and police brutality in unprecedented ways.

 

Not only have protests demanding change been widespread, but major corporations — which, until now, have been largely silent and hesitant to embrace Black Lives Matter — are pledging to fight racial injustice and declaring their support of the nearly seven-year-old movement. We discuss the significance of those corporate responses, as well as new challenges these companies face to commit to righting past wrongs.

 

 


Ragan Clark / AP Photo

In the weeks since protests against police brutality began in Minneapolis, calls to reform, defund or abolish the police have been escalating. Demands for reform or cuts to police budgets aren’t new among activists, but a pledge by the Minneapolis City Council to “dismantle” the police department is unprecedented. The mayors of Los Angeles and New York City have also announced that they would both divert city funds from police departments to social service budgets.

Practically speaking, what would it mean to “defund” the police? On Second Thought sat down with Cedric Alexander, former police chief of DeKalb County, and Michael Leo Owens, associate professor of political science at Emory University, to dissect the history and meaning behind the language of the protest movement.


Photo Illustration by Josh Begley for Type Investigations

While protests set off by the killing of George Floyd show no signs of letting up, another quieter protest has been stirring at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Irwin County, Georgia. 

There, a group of detainees staged a hunger strike and protest over video chat to raise the alarm over a lack of precautions against the spread of COVID-19 inside the detention center.


In the weeks since protests against police brutality began in Minneapolis, calls to reform, defund or abolish the police have been escalating.

 

These demands aren’t new among activists; however, responses from local governments across the country committing to redirect police funds or even “dismantle” police departments have been unprecedented. We break down reasoning, history and motivations behind the push to change how policing operates nationwide.

 

 

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, rage that had accumulated over centuries of racial violence spilled into the nation's streets.

From Atlanta, Macon and Savannah to London, Amsterdam and Paris, protesters are flooding streets that, only weeks ago, stood nearly empty due to fears of COVID-19. The crowds are unprecedented in their size, diversity and condemnation of police brutality and systemic racial injustice. Despite early property damage, largely peaceful protests have gained momentum over the course of the last week. 

 


In 2003, Brunswick prosecutors convicted Dennis Perry of killing a couple in their church back in 1985 — while another suspect had admitted to the murder on tape. Renewed interest in the case from the Georgia Innocence Project and a true crime podcast spurred Joshua Sharpe, criminal justice reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to revisit an early suspect’s alibi.

 

Sharpe's research unveiled new DNA evidence, and prompted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to reopen the case. Sharpe joins On Second Thought to talk us through what he learned in his nearly year of reporting on the 35 year-old case.

 

 


Courtesy of I Run With Maud

The last 35 seconds of Ahmaud Arbery’s life have been viewed, studied, dissected and discussed all over the world. That’s because of a video that went viral, showing his final moments before he was shot on a shady street in Satilla Shores, Georgia on February 23.

And while his death has made international headlines, the people of his community remember Arbery for how he lived.

 


Courtesy of Alan Walden

Tributes have poured in from around the world since Little Richard’s death on Saturday, May 9. His influence crossed decades and borders, and he was beloved as one of Georgia’s own, always proudly proclaiming his love for his hometown of Macon.

Not known for understatement, the man born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 – the third of 12 children – staked his own claim as the “architect of rock ‘n’ roll.”


While segments of Georgia’s economy have re-opened, last week Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton extended the judicial emergency for the state’s courts until June 12. Some court procedures have been held on Zoom since shelter-in-place orders began in mid-March.

On Second Thought explored the impact of coronavirus on the courts — as well as the implications for the pending case on the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.


Andres Kudacki / AP

Compared to the lockdowns and shuttered businesses in countries across the world, Sweden is an outlier. Swedish officials have advised citizens to work from home and avoid travel, but most schools and businesses have remained open.

This relaxed approach aims to minimize impact on the economy and slow the spread of the virus through what is known as “herd immunity.” But striving for herd immunity without a controlled vaccine in place can also prove risky.


Compared to the lockdowns and shuttered businesses in countries across the world, Sweden is an outlier. Swedish officials have advised citizens to work from home and avoid travel, but most schools and businesses have remained open. This relaxed approach aims to minimize impact on the economy, and slow the spread of the virus through what is known as “herd immunity.”

Now, as the U.S. weighs further spreading the disease against the impact of a tanked economy, some Americans — particularly conservatives — are looking toward Sweden’s model as an option. On Second Thought unpacks the merits, risks and strategy behind Sweden’s approach, and what has become a political talking point here in the U.S.


Andy Whale / Cover Courtesy of Faber & Faber

Billy Bragg is many things: a poet, punk rocker, folk musician, and singer-songwriter. He’s also an activist, music historian, and best-selling author. In the words of another poet, he contains multitudes.

Bragg’s newest work, The Three Dimensions of Freedom, is a slim volume that makes a weighty argument. It’s a pamphlet in the tradition of Thomas Paine, whose influential polemics helped spark the American Revolution, and later got him convicted of sedition.


Photo by Emilia Brock

Artists and arts organizations were quick to adapt to quarantine and coronavirus. Museum tours, operas, Broadway shows, author talks, home concerts and classes for kids sprung up online shortly after closures were announced.

But as the dust begins to settle on our new normal, many worry about the long-term economic impact and outlook for the artists, performers and independent organizations essential to the cultural ecosystem.


Artists and arts organizations were quick to adapt to coronavirus. Museum tours, operas, Broadway shows, author talks, home concerts and classes for kids sprung up online shortly after closures were announced.

But as the dust begins to settle on our new normal, many worry about the long-term economic impact and outlook for the artists, performers and independent organizations essential to the cultural ecosystem.  Doug Shipman, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, joined On Second Thought to talk about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the arts world now – economically, culturally, and artistically – and how that might change as things open back up.


Pexels.com

Self-isolation and quarantine have recalibrated our habits, routines, and what we present to the world. For many lucky enough to still have a job, getting dressed and made up is a vestige of normalcy in a world that feels upended. But for others, gray roots, shaggy beards and chipped nails are the last thing to worry about.

What has this unprecedented period behind closed doors revealed about the motivations behind our self-care? And what will happen to the beauty market when self-isolation is over — especially given that Gov. Brian Kemp recently gave the greenlight for barbershops and hair and nail salons to re-open?


Courtesy of Helping Mamas

Another cog in the supply chain disrupted by the pandemic: diapers. And as struggling families with young children face more challenges to making ends meet, one local group has stepped up to help.

Just over five years ago, Jamie Lackey was a social worker, nonprofit professional and mother, when she noticed gaps in services for families in need, particularly when it came to baby supplies. Financial assistance programs like SNAP, for example, don’t allow for purchasing diapers and other essentials.


For many lucky enough to still have a job, getting dressed and made-up is a vestige of normalcy in a world that feels upended. For others, gray roots, shaggy beards and chipped nails are the last thing to worry about. But what has this unprecedented period behind closed doors revealed about our self-care and priorities? And what will happen to the beauty market when it’s all over?

On Second Thought explores these questions, which are particularly pertinent now that Gov. Brian Kemp has given the green light for barbershops and hair and nail salons to re-open.

The closure of schools, restaurants and hotels has wreaked havoc on the nation’s food culture, from one end of the supply chain to the other. Jon Jackson, founder of Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, joined On Second Thought to share what they’re dealing with, as well as how he got into farming in the first place. We also learn about StagVets, of which he’s executive director, and how it helps veterans dealing with PTSD.


CJ Swank / Sam Grindstaff

Among the small businesses shuttered by shelter-in-place orders are two of Georgia’s historic art-house theaters. How are these independent cinemas surviving, and innovating, now that their screens have gone dark?

Christopher Escobar, owner of Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society, said that business had already been slowing down for about two weeks prior to their closing. And Pamela Kohn, executive director of Ciné in Athens, said their decision to shut down the theater was difficult, but necessary.


Jessica Gurell / GPB

Many people are finding social distancing difficult or lonely. Those challenges can become compounded for people recovering from substance abuse disorders. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantine conditions have been identified as a “relapse trigger.”

And it has become a dangerous reality for those who struggle with sobriety. The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse estimates that some 800,000 Georgians are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.


In medical situations, it weighs heavily on doctors and nurses when they are unable to save a life. So, what happens when the decision is not what treatment to give, but who gets treatment at all?

 

Associate Director of the Emory University Center for Ethics and Director of the Center's Program in Health Sciences and Ethics Kathy Kinlaw and Assistant Professor of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Health Brendan Parent explain the ethical considerations of triage decisions — and the emotional impact they can have on medical staff.

 


Gorodenkoff/Canva

In the last month, videos and stories of doctors in hospitals around the world flooded with COVID-19 patients have circulated across social media platforms. The grief and distress of having to decide who gets treatment with ventilators and other critical equipment in short supply is almost unimaginable.

While professionals on the front lines in Georgia have not yet had to face those wrenching decisions, recent models predict that infections will peak in the first week of May. Meanwhile, bioethicists are preparing healthcare professionals with guidance on making split-second triage decisions.


One of the ways that people are coping with coronavirus anxiety is by baking. That’s not a surprise to resident chef for NPR’s Here & Now Kathy Gunst, perhaps because she and former Food Network executive Katherine Alford wrote about the power of baking to process emotions in their new cookbook, Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury and Women’s Voices. On Second Thought spoke with Gunst to talk about the resurgence of baking in a world that is now so dramatically different.


Pria Mahadevan/GPB

While COVID-19 continues to dominate the news cycle, we thought our listeners would enjoy a break from coronavirus headlines.

Here’s the weekly roundup of some of our favorite segments that have nothing to do with the pandemic. As always, tell us what you think, and be sure to share your favorites! You can tag us on Twitter at @OSTTalk and join and comment in our Facebook group: “GPB Radio’s On Second Thought.”

Photo by Brock Scott

Georgians all over the state are finding ways to create activities at home, for themselves and for others.

Take Atlanta resident Eddie Farr, for example. For work, he builds props for escape rooms, and in his free time, he makes tech-based art. 


Working in the food service industry can be a tough gig, even without a pandemic. Many workers are uninsured and — like the restaurants employing them — have little financial cushion for weathering crises.

Since 2013, Giving Kitchen has helped bolster the industry by providing crisis grants, resources, and assistance to food service workers. But now, with restaurant closures and many folks out of work, more food industry employees find themselves in crisis than ever before — an insurmountable challenge for the small Atlanta-based nonprofit.


The uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic can be even more complex, or downright dangerous, for both victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We’ll learn about the specific challenges for this vulnerable population — and how these victims and survivors may even struggle to get their piece of the stimulus bill.

Georgia band Indigo Girls have built a diehard community of listeners through decades of songs that touch on the joys and pains of living in the world. They were among the first to stream a live concert when social distancing restrictions were first announced. On Second Thought checks in with this pair of Georgia music legends to hear about how they're experiencing this unprecedented moment.


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