La'Raven Taylor

On Second Thought Producer

La'Raven was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so she’s no stranger to the south. La'Raven 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. La'Raven 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.

She took her columns for Teen Vogue seriously, and now she’s taking her skills to NPR.  On Second Thought met Isabella Sarmiento Gomez,  a new NPR Kroc Fellow from Atlanta.

Each year hundreds of people hike the Appalachian Trail, which starts right here in Georgia. This year, two married writers are doing them. We followed up with them for another audio check in along their journey.


Summer Evans

It's Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day"  — commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, when union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce slavery had been abolished. That was two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation of Proclamation.

On Second Thought looked at Juneteenth traditions and history with Daina Ramey Berry. Berry is professor of history and African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She's also author of four books that detail the history of slavery, including "The Price for Their Pound of Flesh."


Some people read the local paper for news and sports. Others head straight to the columns. That's where you'll find Dick Yarbrough, who has never run short of opinions. The iconic opinion-wielder enters about 600,000 homes across Georgia and addresses more than one million readers each week.

The Georgia Press Association named Yarbrough's column "most humorous" several times — although some politicians don't appreciate his sense of humor at all. Yarbrough spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about his career writing columns for more than 20 years.

 


LaRaven Taylor/GPB

Some people read the local paper for news and sports. Others head straight to the columns. That's where you'll find Dick Yarbrough, who has never run short of opinions. The iconic opinion-wielder enters about 600,000 homes across Georgia and addresses more than one million readers each week.

The Georgia Press Association named Yarbrough's column "most humorous" several times — although some politicians don't appreciate his sense of humor at all. Yarbrough spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about his career writing columns for more than 20 years.


Organizers and city leaders are still puzzling out why a job fair at the Anderson Conference Center in Macon recently saw an unexpectedly large turnout.

More than 3,500 job hunters stood in a line a mile long, and some continued to wait hours after the fair technically closed.  This all happened amidst reports of low unemployment rates for the county and state.

 


LaRaven Taylor / GPB

"Recreational Genetics" are a thing. Apparently, an estimated 26 million people worldwide have dug into their ancestry with the help of at-home DNA kits such as Ancestry or 23andMe. But finding your family story requires more than learning ethnic percentages from a DNA swab. 

That's where genealogist Kenyatta Berry comes in. She's a lawyer and co-host of PBS' Genealogy Roadshow. Berry visited On Second Thought to talk about her new book, The Family Tree Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry and Researching Genealogy.


Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation. Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the American Civil War to the last group of enslaved people in the country.

The day itself is June 19, but celebrations kick off across Georgia this weekend, from big festivals to more intimate evening conversations.

 


The 2016 film Hidden Figures highlights black female mathematicians who battled racial and gender discrimination to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA launch its Apollo missions to the moon. 

An Atlanta native, single mom and Georgia State University doctoral student will follow in their footsteps this summer.

 


If you grumble about paying taxes, you might have another reason to complain.  A new investigation shows Georgia county tax commissioners are allowed to profit personally from the collection of city taxes. 

 


Becky Stein

Father's Day is just around the corner. It's a time to celebrate and reflect on how your dad or dads shaped your life — for better or for worse. But, have you thought about how you affected your father? 


Montavious Foster

The 2016 film Hidden Figures highlights black female mathematicians who battled racial and gender discrimination to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA launch its Apollo missions to the moon. 

An Atlanta native, single mom and Georgia State University doctoral student will follow in their footsteps this summer.


courtesy of Dr. Vernard Hodges

Later this year, two Georgia veterinarians will star in a reality TV show on National Geographic.

The Critter Fixers will follow the lives of doctors Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson. Hodges and Ferguson both run and operate Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospitals in Byron and Bonaire. 


Public health is a topic that is generally overlooked until a community experiences a crisis. The CDC Foundation recently launched the second season of its podcast Contagious Conversations, which highlights the issues and innovators of public health today. On Second Thought spoke with podcast host Clair Stinson.


When it comes to the 2020 elections, big name Democrats are making a major play for Georgia. Biden, Booker, Beto and Buttigieg – and those are just the candidates who are in the state this week. We hear how the visiting hopefuls pitched themselves to Georgia voters.


Brandon Chew / NPR

Construction cranes poke through the skyline across metro Atlanta. It's a testament to growth and efforts to draw new companies and residents to call the region home. Not so visible are the millions of Americans being thrown out of their homes. It's a problem throughout the country.

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University found nearly 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016. NPR's On The Media partnered with The Eviction Lab for a four-part series called The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis.


La'Raven Taylor

Not all superheroes wear capes, jump over buildings or hail from Wakanda. And if you're near downtown Atlanta, you may run into non-traditional superheroes: known as the W-Underdogs. The non-profit works with at-risk kids by rescuing dogs in the neighborhood.

Data from the Atlanta Humane Society report 70 million homeless animals in the U.S. Only one out of every 10 dogs find permanent homes. The W-Underdogs have rescued about 400 of those pets. Gracie Hamlin is founder of the program. She joined On Second Thought to talk about the organization.


The official start of summer is just around the corner. Whether you are headed to the lake or the beach, it’s the perfect time to pick up your next favorite summer read.

On Second Thought asked a group of Georgia independent bookstore owners to recommend their favorite big hits and hidden gems for summer. Jessica Osborne from E Shaver in Savannah, Janet Geddis from Avid Bookshop in Athens and Frank Reiss from A Cappella Books in Atlanta all shared their picks for the season.


Finding a doctor can be especially difficult in many Georgia counties. For LGBTQ patients, it can be even worse. A first of its kind clinic in Savannah is working to ease that difficulty. As a part of LGBTQ Pride Month, On Second Thought checked in with the Starland Family Practice, a routine family medical office with a focus on LGBTQ patients, celebrating its one-year anniversary.

 

Brandon Earehart is the clinic’s owner and physician assistant and Dr. Raymond Martins, the clinic’s physician, joined us from our studio in Savannah to talk about the unique medical issues facing the LGBTQ community and how clinics work with insurance companies to get patients the medicines they need.


La'Raven Taylor

When Jared Yates Sexton’s grandma researched their family tree, she discovered a long line of “scofflaws, debtors, drunkards and out-and-out criminals.”

The working class men he grew up with in Linton, Indiana, could never quite get ahead, especially as industrial jobs dried up.

But at home, their power was absolute. Often maintained by violence, intimidation and a rigid masculinity that was toxic to their families, communities and selves.   


Starland Family Practice

Finding a doctor can be especially difficult in many Georgia counties. For LGBTQ patients, it can be even worse. A first-of-its-kind clinic in Savannah is working to ease that difficulty.

As a part of LGBTQ Pride Month, On Second Thought checked in with the Starland Family Practice, a routine family medical office with a focus on LGBTQ patients, celebrating its one-year anniversary.


The state of Georgia — and the country — is divided over so-called "heartbeat" bills and other new state laws restricting abortion. Many are confused about who could be prosecuted and what, exactly, constitutes a violation of the law.

On Second Thought leaves the flashpoints of politics behind and attempts to get some clarity on the legal questions raised by HB 481.

 


Ross Terrell/Georgia Public Broadcasting

This month, GPB launched its "Full Plates" series, looking at hunger in Georgia. One in six Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't always know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity is often linked to access — in rural communities, as well as neighborhoods in and around metro Atlanta.

More than a third of metro Atlanta is considered a food desert. Ross Terrell met one Atlanta resident who's working to overcome a lack of reliable transportation, which is one barrier for some residents to access fresh, healthy food. Terrell visited On Second Thought to discuss the problems and solutions surrounding food deserts in Georgia's largest city.


The Goat Farm, an arts community and compound in Atlanta, recently announced a $250 million transformation. Anthony Harper, founder and co-owner of The Goat Farm, joined On Second Thought to share what the expansion will entail, and what it means for the Georgia arts scene.


Drive through almost any neighborhood in Macon-Bibb County and you're apt to spot some houses with crumbling facades, shuttered windows and overgrown lawns. They're among the county's nearly 4,000 unoccupied properties. Most of them are only in poor or fair condition, but more than 400 are in such bad shape they need to be demolished.


Food insecurity is a pressing issue nationwide, particularly in Georgia. The latest estimates put Georgia among the ten worst states for food insecurity among aging populations, and 1 in 4 children in the state lives in a food insecure household. 

Josephine Bennett is assistant news director for GPB News. She found that Georgia is the first in the country to create a state plan for addressing hunger among seniors. She joined On Second Thought from our Macon bureau. 


The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra

The Atlanta Jazz Festival gets underway this weekend. The annual event is one of the country's largest free jazz festivals. Among the featured is Atlanta-based band, The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra. Trumeter Russell Gunn leads the group. 

He stopped by On Second Thought to talk about the band's latest album, Get It How You Live and the group's natural mashup of traditional jazz, rhythm and blues and southern hip-hop. 


Alchemy Sky Foundation

State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20 percent of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Alchemy Sky Foundation is an Atlanta organization that helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire."

 


The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra

The Atlanta Jazz Festival gets underway this weekend. The annual event is one of the country's largest free jazz festivals. Among the featured is Atlanta-based band, The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra. Trumeter Russell Gunn leads the group. 

He stopped by On Second Thought to talk about the band's latest album, Get It How You Live and the group's natural mashup of traditional jazz, rhythm and blues and southern hip-hop. 


A'Lelia Bundles

Madam C.J. Walker died 100 years ago this month.

In the early 20th century, she cemented her legacy by creating a hair salve designed for African American women. Her contributions to black beauty products are still felt in Georgia and across the country. 

GPB's Morning Edition host Leah Fleming spoke with Walker's great-granddaughter, A'lelia Bundles. Bundles is also a black hair and journalist. 


State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20% of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

The Atlanta organization Alchemy Sky Foundation helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire." Jaye Budd, a musician and founder of Alchemy Sky Foundation, and Marcus McCreaery, an Army veteran with the project, joined On Second Thought to share details about the experience. 


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