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.

On Second Thought For Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jun 27, 2018
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Georgia's new hands-free driving law goes into effect Sunday, July 1. The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 673 earlier this year, and last month it was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This new law requires drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device is prohibited.


Airman Sadie Colbert / U.S. Air Force

Georgia's new hands-free driving law goes into effect Sunday, July 1. The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 673 earlier this year, and last month it was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This new law requires drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device is prohibited.


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Before the end of his term as Atlanta mayor, Kasim Reed announced the expansion of Piedmont Park. The Atlanta City Council recently approved the $100 million expansion. It would require $80 million from the private sector and $20 million would be given by the city of Atlanta.

 

 


On Second Thought For Friday, June 22, 2018

Jun 22, 2018
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Georgia has the nation’s third largest rural school population, but less than 30 percent of those students attend a big college or university. Part of the explanation is that students from rural areas are more likely to come from low-income households, and transitioning from a small town to a big city can both be daunting and financially nerve-racking for students thinking about college. We talked to Marjorie Poss, a guidance counselor at Pickens High School, about why students decide to stay close to home and how these fears can be overcome. We also spoke with Hannah Velcoff, a student who made the leap from Dawson County to New York University.


On Second Thought for Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jun 20, 2018
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June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


June is Pride Month. This year, Atlanta’s Pride Committee and the LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights are partnering with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited an equal rights movement in what became the LGBT community. We spoke with Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’s headlining a comedy show at the Fox in celebration of Pride Month.


On Second Thought for Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jun 19, 2018
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The history of Juneteenth goes like this: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But two years later, on June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas finally got the news that they were free. Now Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


Library of Congress

African-American history goes far beyond Black History Month in February. Today we talked about the presentation of history and how it’s changing and confronting new layers of truth. Recently, several museums and African-American exhibits have been built around the country.


 

Austin History Center / Austin Public Library

June 19 is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


On Second Thought for Friday, June 15, 2018

Jun 15, 2018
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The United Methodist Children’s Home reports there are more than 15,000 children in Georgia's foster care system — and that number is growing. But because of the increased need, UMCH has to say turn away children in need at least 40 times a week, so it reached out to churches for help. That's how Brett Hillesheim started fostering children. Hillesheim has fostered 18 kids within the past few years, and he now works with UMCH. 


A Seat at the Table / GPB

One of the biggest stereotypes about black Americans is “the absent black father.” A 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 72 percent of non-Hispanic, black women who gave birth were unmarried. However, being unmarried doesn’t mean the father isn’t involved. The CDC study also shows black men are more likely to be involved in their children’s lives compared to white men.


Courtesy Brett Hillesheim

The United Methodist Children’s Home reports there are more than 15,000 children in Georgia's foster care system — and that number is growing. But because of the increased need, UMCH has to say turn away children in need at least 40 times a week, so it reached out to churches for help.


On Second Thought for Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jun 14, 2018
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Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 

 


Simon Bierwald / Flickr

Collagically Speaking is a collage of audio work, consisting of different vibes of music. That’s according to Multi Grammy award winning Jazz musician, Robert Glasper. He assembled superband, R + R =Now.  

 

 


 

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According the United States Census Bureau, there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in America. In order to combat these issues with housing, popular TV shows like “Tiny House Hunters”are looking to create tiny homes as a solution.

  

The Chatham Savannah Authority for Homeless has organized the “Tiny Home Project” in order to fight this growing problem.

 


On Second Thought For Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jun 12, 2018
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and according to a new report, the number of people who take their own lives has risen substantially since 1999. Per the report, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older took their own lives in 2016. Georgia alone saw a 16 percent increase in suicides from 1999-2016. Emory University professor Nadine Kaslow and Doreen Marshall of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention say more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and according to a new report, the number of people who take their own lives has risen substantially since 1999. Per the report, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older took their own lives in 2016. Georgia alone saw a 16 percent increase in suicides from 1999-2016.


On Second Thought For Monday, June 11, 2018

Jun 12, 2018
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Every month approximately 374 girls are sexually exploited in Georgia. On average, they are 12-14 years old. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Atlanta office collaborated with nearly 40 local law enforcement agencies to rescue 148 missing children who had become victims of human trafficking. Some were as young as three years old.To learn more about Operation Safe Summer, we spoke with FBI agent Nathan Whiteman, who spearheaded the operation.


On Second Thought For Friday, June 8, 2018

Jun 8, 2018
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Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than half of them are women. Race, health and gender discrimination contribute to this disparity, but to learn about the economic history that led us to where we are today, we spoke with Diana Pearce and George Robb.


Social Security Administration

Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than half are women. Race, health and gender discrimination contribute to this disparity, but to learn about the economic history that led us to where we are today, we spoke with Diana Pearce and George Robb.


On Second Thought For Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jun 7, 2018
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Jason Reynolds didn't get through a whole book until he was 17. He's now a bestselling author, and he's trying to change the way young people feel about reading. Inspired by hip-hop, Reynolds now writes books to get young people to excited about reading. He has various awards to his name, including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teen and a National Book Award finalist designation for his book "Ghost."

On Second Thought For Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Jun 6, 2018
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The Georgia 2018 legislative session recently legalized the use of cannabis oil for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD affects about 31 million people in the United States. The disorder is often associated with veterans, but another group of heroes — first responders — also struggle with the disorder. According to one survey, one in 15 paramedics and EMTs has attempted suicide. Heather Harp, a paramedic in Atlanta, says she and her colleagues need more support in their battle against PTSD. 

On Second Thought For Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Jun 5, 2018
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Graduation Achievement Charter High School was founded in 2012 to help at-risk students earn their diplomas. But after six years of poor performance, Georgia’s first virtual charter high school — and only “alternative”  school within the state charter system — is shutting down. The last senior class graduates later this month. To learn more about the future of virtual and alternative charter schools in Georgia, we spoke with Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Vanessa McCray.

On Second Thought For Monday, June 4, 2018

Jun 4, 2018
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The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education made segregation of America’s public schools illegal. But decades before Thurgood Marshall argued for Linda Brown's right to attend the all-white school closest to her house in Topeka, Kansas, lawsuits brought by little girls and young women chipped away at the foundations of segregated education. New research finds their grassroots efforts paved the way for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) legal battle to integrate schools nationally.


On Second Thought for Friday, June 1, 2018

Jun 1, 2018
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“The Predator” is slashing its way back into theaters this fall. Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t be making a special appearance, but Shane Black, a supporting character from the 1987 movie is now the director. 

We sat down with the man under "The Predator" mask, Georgia-native Brian Prince.


WikiCommons

Just as we do at the end of every week, this Friday we brought together a group of three smart people to help us break down the week's news. 

  

On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott sat down with our Breakroom panel — Robbie Medwed, John Bush and Kathy Lohr to debate the topics Georgia is talking about. 

 


On Second Thought For Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018
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In a bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Alabama and six other states recently filed a lawsuit against it. The Obama-era program protects about 700,000 young immigrants from deportation. In Georgia, there are roughly 24,000 DREAMers, a term that describes undocumented immigrants whose family brought them to the United States as children, and who have grown up in the U.S. 

On Second Thought For Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May 30, 2018
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To many Georgians, barbecue is not just food. It's a lifestyle. Over the years, barbecue has evolved in the Atlanta area. Southern folks still grill out, but in recent years the cuisine has re-emerged as an integrated bond of multiple different cultures and communities. Over the next few months, we'll explore Georgia’s greatest barbecue joints and step into their kitchens to see what makes their food different. To start off our the series, we sat down with John T. Edge. He’s the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of "The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South."

On Second Thought For Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 29, 2018
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Here’s something you add to your burn book. "Mean Girls" is now a Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical. The musical is up for 12 awards. (That’s so fetch!) The play features an all-star cast of mainstays and breakouts, including Grey Henson, who is nominated for the Tony for best featured actor in a musical. Henson grew up in Macon and plays Damian in the show. The actor talked with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about life on Broadway and what it’s like working with Tina Fey.

Courtesy Grey Henson

Here’s something you add to your burn book. "Mean Girls" is now a Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical. The musical is up for 12 awards. (That’s so fetch!)

The play features an all-star cast of mainstays and breakouts, including Grey Henson, who is nominated for the Tony for best featured actor in a musical. Henson grew up in Macon and plays Damian in the show.

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