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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': school choice, COVID long haulers, escalation of anti-Asian hate

Melody Vo and Jade Nguyen are local activists in the AAPI community and share their lived experiences of being Asian women in this month's episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma.

Focus: Black Oklahoma has been selected to participate in the Advancing Democracy cohort with the Solutions Journalism Network, or SJN. Our series, In A Confused State, will follow Oklahoma advocacy groups navigating new restrictions on freedoms in four areas: reproductive rights, voting laws, teaching history, and direct action/activism. This week we start the show with our latest in the series. Here, Dr. Nick Alexandrov explores school choice, the complicated history of the term and the reality of its execution in practice within the state's various private, public, and charter school systems.

Next, we look at the COVID-19 pandemic two years on. Oklahoma is set to begin a study looking into the long term effects COVID-19 is having on some who have contracted the virus. Dawn Carter has the story of how long-haulers or long COVID is affecting Oklahomans and what resources may help those affected.

We then look at a much different issue impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Escalation in anti-Asian language, violence, and hate crimes in the country continues, with incidents increasing over 300% in the last year. Contributor Lydia Jeong speaks with Asian American women who are grappling with the rise in aggressions against their communities.

We follow Shonda Little as she explored the Old Settlers Reunion in Cheyenne. For some, it is a chance to relive the glory days of the land run. For the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, though, it’s a painful reminder of all they have lost.

In our final story, we continue our examination of the lasting impacts of COVID. Jamie Glisson talks with local musicians who found themselves struggling to make ends meet, as well as share their talents with those quarantining at home.

Focus: Black Oklahoma is produced in partnership with KOSU Radio, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Tri-City Collective. Additional support is provided by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

Our theme music is by Moffett Music.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s executive producers are Quraysh Ali Lansana and Bracken Klar. Our associate producers are Nick Alexandrov and Vanessa Gaona. Our production intern is Smriti Iyengar.

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