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.

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday says Georgia is discriminating against Puerto Rican driver’s license applicants. The lawsuit, filed by Kenneth Caban Gonzalez, says that his documents were seized and an inspector there made him answer questions that residents of other states did not have to answer. Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, political science professor and Jorge Vasquez of the Latino Justice Agency join On Second Thought to talk about the lawsuit. 


The new head of the American Academy of Pediatrics is from Fayetteville, Georgia.  Meet Dr. Sara Goza and hear about her recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border and her concerns about the health of migrant children detained there.


LaRaven Taylor/GPB

"The Freeze" is a welcome diversion at sweltering Atlanta Braves games. Wearing a full body leotard, the sprinting mascot races fans between innings of Atlanta's major league baseball games. He gives fans a giant headstart while managing to win ⁠— most of the time. 

One of the faces behind the mask this year is Durran Dunn. Dunn is a Jamaican sprinter who's competed in track and field championships around the world while representing the U.S. and Jamaica. On Second Thought producer La'Raven Taylor managed to catch up with Dunn and brought back this audio postcard.


The world has six fewer North Atlantic Right Whales after a summer of loss for the endangered species. Four of the animals have died in the last week alone, and three of them were of breeding age.

The whales are Georgia's state marine mammal, and biologists are alarmed these deaths bring the species even closer to extinction. Clay George is a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He's among those monitoring the numbers, and he spoke with On Second Thought about the dwindling population, the role of the Georgia coast in the whales' life cycle and the origins of their name.


Old Town Road launched Atlanta artist Lil Nas X to the top of the charts for thirteen weeks making it the potential 2019 "Song of the Summer." It started on the “Hot Country” chart and was pulled by Billboard when executives decided it wasn’t country. Georgia Tech professor and music journalist Joycelyn Wilson gives her take on what makes it the arguable “song of the summer.”


National Archives

One hundred years ago, Americans were adjusting to life after a destabilizing world war. The Spanish influenza decimated communities, fears of Bolshevik-style communism ran rampant and hundreds of thousands of returning veterans were competing for jobs and housing ⁠— including African Americans confident that fighting abroad earned them the right to freedom at home. 

Throughout the summer of 1919, the war between nations gave way to a war between races. Mobs targeted and lynched black Americans. 


The first day of July marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and when many laws take effect. The record-setting $27.5 billion state operating budget also kicks in, complete with money for a new voting system and pay raises for teachers, school staff and state employees. 

Stephen Fowler, GPB's political reporter, joined On Second Thought to talk about new laws taking effect.


U.S. lawmakers are still debating the merits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Mexico was the first country to ratify the proposed NAFTA replacement, and Canada is expected to follow suit.

A group of University of Georgia professors estimates that the state would lose nearly $900 million if the USMCA is adopted.

On Second Thought heard from Jeffrey Dorfman, one of the co-authors of the University of Georgia report.


Suzanne Jackson has lived a creative life. She's known for her visual art - but is also a poet, dancer, writer, radio host and has a master's in theatrical set design from Yale University.

Telfair Museums in Savannah is revealing a 50-year retrospective of Jackson's work. It's called, "Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades." The exhibition will begin showing this Friday. Jackson spoke with On Second Thought about her life, work and how art has always been a part of it all.

 


David Kaminsky

Suzanne Jackson has lived a creative life. She's known for her visual art - but is also a poet, dancer, writer, radio host and has a master's in theatrical set design from Yale University.

 

Telfair Museums in Savannah is revealing a 50-year retrospective of Jackson's work. It's called, "Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades." The exhibition will begin showing this Friday. Jackson spoke with On Second Thought about her life, work and how art has always been a part of it all.

 

On most residentially-zoned lots in American neighborhoods, it is illegal to build anything other than a single-family home. In Sandy Springs, 85% of the residential land allows for only detached, single-family homes. As Savannah updates its historic zoning laws for a modern world, residents of a newer city aren’t all ready for change.

On Second Thought explored the broader implications of the debate over ordinances in Sandy Springs with New York Times’ Writer Emily Badger and Evelyn Andrews of Reporter Newspapers.


Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. According to Apartment List, the city ranks third in the nation — with a nearly 6% rise in evictions between 2015 and 2017. 

Earlier this month, On Second Thought spoke with Brooke Gladstone about a reporting series NPR's On The Media created with the Eviction Lab at Princeton. Our conversationon the series called, "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis" garnered a lot of feedback from listeners so we decided to do a follow up, while getting a landlord's perspective.  

 


Brandon Chew / NPR

Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. According to Apartment List, the city ranks third in the nation — with a nearly 6% rise in evictions between 2015 and 2017. 

Earlier this month, On Second Thought spoke with Brooke Gladstone about a reporting series NPR's On The Media created with the Eviction Lab at Princeton. Our conversation on the series called, "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis" garnered a lot of feedback from listeners so we decided to do a follow up, while getting a landlords perspective.  


Neighbors are still missing their newly retired mailman.

Floyd Martin was a beloved mail carrier who worked the same route in Marietta for nearly 35 years. So beloved, in fact, that when he retired a few weeks ago, the community he served so well started a GoFundMe page to send him to Hawaii. Delta Air Lines pitched in too — providing airfare. 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

June 20 marks World Refugee Day. The United Nations defines refugees as people forced to flee their native countries "because of persecution, war or violence." On Second Thought covered a variety of aspects of the refugee experience in Georgia. 


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.


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