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This edition: New York Puerto Ricans and "La Gran Migracion"

Episode Details

Original tape date: January 13, 2014.

First aired: January 15, 2014.

With Martin Luther King Day coming up, airport workers, who are mostly low-paid and people of color, are asking that Monday be a paid holiday. What the security guards, cleaners, and others at JFK, Laguardia & Newark airports want most is a living wage. Joining Brian, Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union; and also, Shareeka Eliot, terminal cleaner at JFK airport. Connecting via Skype, Steven Pitts, co-chair of Berkeley’s Center for Labor Education and Research at the University of California.

Next, Puerto Ricans in the United States. It’s not your father’s diaspora any more. A decade ago, half the near 8 million Puerto Ricans lived on the island; half lived stateside. Today a million more live here than in Puerto Rico, which is down to 3.5 million. How come? And how are they faring here in health, education, work? Is New York City still the mecca? Joining us, Hunter College professor Edwin Melendez, co-editor of “The State of Puerto Ricans 2013,” and director of Centro, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Then, time for Public Intellectual, where we look at new research with the power to change minds and public policy. Today, a paradox. According to a new study, despite political skepticism, American citizens are increasingly taking part in the political process. The key, according to study co-author Elizabeth Bennett, is to first express disdain for the broken system and then jump in.

Finally, epigenetics. Do we need to un-learn our high school biology? Evolutionary theory itself may need to "evolve." To shed some new light on how life moves forward are Lehman College Department of Philosophy chair, Massimo Pigliucci. And joining via Skype from Vermont, David Dobbs, a science journalist who recently turned up the heat on the evolutionary debate with his article about the "Social Life of Genes."

Guest List

Elizabeth Bennett Co-Author, Ph.D. Candidate, “The Civic Imagination”, Brown University

Shareeka Elliot Terminal Cleaner, JFK Airport

Hector Figueroa President, Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union

Dr. Edwin Meléndez Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College/CUNY

Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D. Chair, Dept. of Philosophy, CUNY-Lehman College

Steven Pitts Co-Chair, UC Berkeley Labor Center

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