Environment and Social Change

VOA – CONNECT
EPISODE # 225
AIR DATE: 05 06 2022
TRANSCRIPT

OPEN ((VO/NAT/SOT))
((Banner))
Because She Loves Music
((SOT))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

Creativity is the ability to self-manage and create your own life. And that’s what democracy is all about. And so, for me, arts education is fundamental to being able to instill democratic ideals in the next generation.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Cleaner Air Block by Block
((SOT))
((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

Data collection is important because it really
allows us to see signals that are
really important to the communities. In West
Oakland, that’s an area that is surrounded by freeways and it has residential but also industrial areas within the community. And so, we can see what parts of the community are overly
impacted by these particular sources?
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

In the Studio
((SOT))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

It helps me unwind at the end of the day. It helps me express my creative and artistic side and I love it.
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A

((PKG)) BECAUSE SHE LOVES MUSIC
((TRT: 08:40))
((Topic Banner:
Because She Loves Music))
((Reporter:
Faiza Elmasry))
((Camera/Editor:
June Soh))
((Map:
Washington, D.C.))
((Main character: 1 female))
((Sub character: 1 female))
((NATS/MUSIC))

((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

Music is joy. It’s joyful. And I feel like whatever orchestra I’m standing in front of, whether it’s my orchestra or another orchestra, I want all of us to be able to rekindle that joy that we all first felt, you know, as young students starting out in the business.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((Text-over-Video:
Conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson was invited to lead the National Symphony Orchestra in a Family Concert, the world premiere of Because.))
((NATS))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

This is my first time with the National Symphony here at the Kennedy Center. They’ve been incredibly generous and really wonderful to work with. Often when you do programs like this that involve a lot of technical back and forth. There are actors on stage. There are visuals being projected. So, there’s a lot of moving parts in addition to just the music making. And so, just their patience, their diligence, their really willingness to throw themselves into this work and into the spirit of it, I’ve been so grateful for.
((NATS: Jeri Lynne Johnson and Narrator))
Jeri:
She can just come on. They are tuning. Tuning, tuning, tuning.
Narrator: This is how it happened.
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

Because this piece that we are presenting is based upon the book of the same name, Because, which was written by Mo Willems, very famous children’s book author, and illustrated by Amber Ren.
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

The book itself is about the way that beauty gets passed on from one generation to the next because people are inspired.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS: Clapping & Narrator & Music))
Narrator: This is how it happened.
Music/Narrator: Because a man named Ludwig [Beethoven] made beautiful music,
Music/Narrator: a man named Franz [Schubert] was inspired to create his own.
((NATS))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

And then as we progress, we see that because Schubert wrote this symphony and so many people wanted to hear it, how orchestra performances can be put together.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS: Music and Narrator))
Music/Narrator:
Because many others loved and practiced their instruments, there were enough musicians.
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

So, there’s all these elements about how a concert works so that when children come to a concert, they’re aware that there are ushers who are making sure that the seats are ready. There are people who are facilitating the lighting.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS: Narrator))
Narrator:
Because someone’s uncle caught a cold, someone’s aunt had an extra ticket for someone special. Because the usher helped the aunt and her special guest, they found their seats.
((NATS))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

In this process, we see then a young girl who gets invited to this concert quite by accident and she falls in love with the music that she sees on stage. And because she was at this concert, she then is inspired to become a composer and a conductor and share her gift of music with the world that will then inspire another child who’s in the audience, hearing her music.
((NATS))
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

The music that has been composed for this that represents the new music of the young girl is written by a really wonderful composer, Jessie Montgomery. And she had wonderful assistance in the arrangement by Jannina Norpoth. So, it’s a really collaborative effort bringing this project to life.
((NATS))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

When I got the email from the Kennedy Center asking to participate in this project and I was like in the quiet car on the train. And I was like, I kind of like screaming because I had, I have a, now a six-year-old daughter and I had bought this book for her when she was four and I would read it to her. And so, I knew this book when they said it and I love it so much because this story was my story. I was inspired by a concert to become a composer and conductor. And so, I really identified with this. And so, I was so honored and excited to be a part of this project.
((NATS))
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

I started out as a pianist at the age of four. I studied piano at a very young age. I’ve always loved music. And I was really lucky to have some family friends of my parents take me to my first orchestra concert. I’ll never forget. It was in Minnesota. That’s where we were living at the time.
I’ll never forget it was a beautiful Beethoven symphony. I don’t remember which one it was but I just fell in love with the music. I fell in love with the spectacle and the power of seeing all of those musicians playing different instruments in different ways, making music together. I did not see a piano on the stage. And so, like in my seven-old-brain, I kind of figured, “Okay, if I want to make that music, I have to do what I see the man on the stage doing, waving this stick around.” And so, that’s how I just, I decided right then I wanted to be a conductor.
((NATS))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

I think that leadership is serving others. And so, my job as the conductor is literally to allow the music to come through me and to share that with the musicians and to create a space that allows them, for the music to also come through them.
((NATS: Jeri Lynne Johnson))
Jeri Lynne: And because I love conducting so much, I enjoy teaching other young people how to conduct. And so, at this point, I’d like to ask if there is any mildly enthusiastic young people out there in the audience too, who might want to come up and get a conducting lesson with the National Symphony Orchestra?
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

Not just music but the arts in general are really critical. I think for a lot of years, people probably felt that teaching the arts in public schools may have been a luxury. It’s not a core skill like reading and writing and arithmetic and science. But I think one of the things that we see very, very recently is how important creativity is to critical thinking skills, to social-emotional development. And also to give children a sense of agency, that they have the ability to identify their emotions and thoughts and express them constructively in a way that allows them to make their way through society in a variety of institutions. This is how we begin to very gently and softly teach children how democracy works. Creativity is the ability to self-manage and create your own life. And that’s what democracy is all about. And so for me, arts education is fundamental to being able to instill democratic ideals in the next generation.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS: Jeri Lynne Johnson))
Jeri Lynne: Come on up. I have three batons. Okay.
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

I hope for the families coming to the Because event is that they leave feeling inspired to wave a pencil or a baton or something around and just feel the power of music in themselves and think about how they might be able to express that. You know, it isn’t necessary for everyone to be a world-class violinist or you’ve been studying piano for 20 years. If you love music and you want to just sing or clap your hands and express yourself any way you want to.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS: Jeri Lynne Johnson))
((Jeri Lynne Johnson
Conductor/Founder, Black Pearle Chamber Orchestra))

We don’t own Beethoven. We don’t own Schubert. We don’t own Montgomery. This is something that belongs to all of us.
((Courtesy: The Kennedy Center))
((NATS))
That is how it happened.

TEASE ((VO/NAT/SOT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Hyper-Local
((SOT))
((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

I think the data is revolutionary because we really can see
what is happening on this block, what’s happening on that block over there, what’s happening in this neighborhood where there
happened to be maybe a lot of trucks that travel through the neighborhood
or particular other sorts of sources.

BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))

BLOCK B

((PKG)) CLEANER AIR BLOCK BY BLOCK
((TRT: 07:20))
((Banner:
Cleaner Air Block by Block))
((Reporter/Camera:
Aaron Fedor))
((Producer:
Kathleen McLaughlin))
((Editor: Kyle Dubiel))
((Map:
San Francisco, California; West Oakland, California))
((Main characters: 3 female))
((Sub character: 1 male))
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Davida Herzl
Co-founder & CEO, Aclima))

What I realized, I think growing up in a family of
entrepreneurs, sort of measure what you manage was a
mantra in business.
((Courtesy: Aclima))
And yet, when it comes to climate
change, we’re actually missing the measurement infrastructure to understand where
emissions are coming from and who they’re impacting. So, we set out to solve that.
((Davida Herzl
Co-founder & CEO, Aclima))

We now know that we have a climate crisis and that
emissions
have added up to global levels that are historic and unsustainable.
But all of those emissions come from local sources. And so, we have to understand them at the local
level in order to be able
to take action to address them.
((Courtesy: Aclima))
And so, hyper-local monitoring enables us to understand where
those pollution hotspots are and enables us to take really
targeted action to address those sources of emissions and to protect communities and protect public health at that local
level.
((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

Our mobile sensor network is fascinating in that involves
a
lot of different aspects of science and technology, all the way from how we design the device, which incorporates a
number of sort of the less expensive, small scale sensors that really allow us to shrink big
research equipment down to a small scale that you can use in cars to how do we get, how do we design that device and how do we operate the device, so we can get the kind of
data and data quality we need, all
the way to then how do you design, how do you
sample within a car while the car is moving?
And then, where do you send the cars to make sure that you’re getting what we call a
representative sample on any particular road or street or partof town?
((Davida Herzl
Co-founder & CEO, Aclima))
One of the things that we’ve done over the course of the
years is partnered, really deeply,
((Courtesy: West Oakland Indicators Project))
with environmental justice organizations and advocates. And Ms. Margaret is one of the nation’s
leading advocates. And several years ago, we teamed up
with her to do a groundbreaking
study that, for the first time, proved that air pollution is hyper-local, that it
can vary from one block to the
next by up to 800 percent. And the data that we generated with her and
with other academics in West Oakland was really
groundbreaking. It was the first time that that had ever
happened.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Ms. Margaret Gordon
Co-founder & Co-director, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project))

I come from a family of activists, always involved in union,
neighborhood stuff, the church, school, March of Dimes or
something.
((Courtesy: West Oakland Indicators Project))
Well, I also have asthma and two of my grandchildren have
asthma and one son. The Block by Block, came was a question
that we asked EDF [Environmental Defense Fund]. We asked that first because we knew that
((Courtesy: West Oakland Indicators Project))
all of the air monitors from the institutions such as Bare Air
Quality, five stories up. So, it’s not at the ground level where people are. It’s not at
your front door and it’s not your… How did, how do you detect was at the ground level, at the sidewalk,
and then also into your house?
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Courtesy: Aclima))

((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

I think the data is revolutionary because we really can see
what is happening on this block, what’s happening on that block over there, what’s happening in this neighborhood where there
happened to be maybe a lot of trucks that travel through the neighborhood
or particular other sorts of sources. Restaurants for instance or what not versus this other neighborhood which might just be
single-family homes and parks. And they might only be few
blocks away from each other. Our sensor devices measure a number of pollutants and it’s
really unique about our system. We measure with our device
six different pollutants: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, PM 2.5 [particulate matter], nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen monoxide. Those are all either criteria pollutants as identified by the EPA
[Environmental Protection Agency] or are climate pollutants like CO2. We also
measure, in addition to those, in separate units that we
combine into a single sort of
system, if you will, methane and ethane, very important climate pollutants that can also indicate
sources of perhaps natural gas leaks or other sorts of
signals like that as well as a pollutant we call black carbon.
Black carbon is a type of particle that is black but what it really measures
is diesel pollution, that the
black plume that comes out of like a heavy-duty diesel truck or a bus. That particular pollutant has health effects. It’s considered a carcinogen by the World Health
Organization.
It also has climate effects in that it actually
heats our environment.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

This type of data collection is important because it really
allows us to see signals that are
really important to the communities. For instance, in West
Oakland, that’s an area that is surrounded by freeways and it has the port on one side.
In addition, it has residential but also industrial areas within the community. And so, we can see, on an individual block level or set of block levels, what parts of the community
((Courtesy: Aclima))
are overly
impacted by these particular sources. The results from our
our mobile sensor platform really shows us how different
things can be
from one block to a next.
In our initial mapping in
the West Oakland area, we saw
differences in concentrations from one block to the block right next door that were
between five and eight times higher. That’s huge.
((Ms. Margaret Gordon
Co-founder & Co-director, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project))

The way we’ve been able to use the data is
((Courtesy: West Oakland Indicators Project))
pushing the city of Oakland to change policy around
housing, where you place housing.
((Courtesy: West Oakland Indicators Project))
My hope for West Oakland is that we have the same level of air quality as they have in
the hills of Oakland, same level they have in Piedmont.
((Melissa Lunden
Chief Scientist, Aclima))

As a scientist, what I’m sort of ultimately really excited about is the sort of big
picture view that our data can help inform.
You know, this view of pollution, you know, in all of these areas and how it
can help us really get a feel for our atmosphere and how we can
((Courtesy: Aclima))
…how we can make things better. How we can improve our climate.
How we can improve our planet’s health. How we can
improve our own health. How we can move from the lungs of the planet to our very
own lungs because it’s all connected.
((NATS: Davida Herzl and Driver))
((Davida Herzl))
And do they test all the new equipment with you or…?
((Driver, Aclima))
Yes, yeah.
((Davida Herzl))
You are the guinea pig.
((Davida Herzl
Co-founder & CEO, Aclima))

I think, we have the opportunity to bring radical transparency on a problem that has never really been seen at this scale before. We’re literally making the
invisible visible. Doing that, I think, there’s an opportunity to really quickly change the game on climate, on air pollution
and to finally fix these problems that are impacting so many
millions of people around the world.
((NATS/MUSIC))

TEASE ((VO/NAT/SOT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Gifting a Smile
((SOT))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I love it because you have flexible hours. You get to help people every day and you can see instant results.

BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))

BLOCK C

((PKG)) PASSING ON THE LOVE OF BALLET
((Previously aired May 2021))
((TRT:
04:12))
((Topic Banner:
Gift of Dance))
((Reporter:
Faiza Elmasry))
((Camera/Editor
: Adam Greenbaum))
((Map:
Aldie, Virginia; Fairfax, Virginia))
((Main character: 1 female))
((Sub characters: 2 female; 1 male))

((NATS))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I started dancing ballet when I was around, maybe,
((Courtesy: Dr. Nicole Rivera))
seven years old. And I feel really passionate about it. It has been a part of my life ever since.
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

When you fall, when you do something wrong, you have to keep going. You have to keep trying. I just want to stay healthy. It helps me with flexibility. It helps me with balance and being more grounded. Being balanced makes me a better doctor, a better wife and mother.
((NATS: Dr. Rivera and patient))
Dr. Rivera: Hello.
Patient: Hi. How are you?
Dr. Rivera: I’m doing well. How are you?
Patient: I’m doing good.
Dr. Rivera: Please come in.
Patient: Thank you.
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

It’s been almost eight years.
((NATS: Dr. Rivera and patient))
Dr. Rivera: So, you can take your mask off now.
Patient: Okay.
Dr. Rivera: And we’re just going to do a quick exam and checkup today and cleaning at the end, okay?
Patient: Alright.
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I always knew I wanted to be a dentist since I was, maybe, I guess, same time I started to dance ballet.
((NATS))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I love it because you have flexible hours. You get to help people every day and you can see instant results.
The patient comes in with pain and you do a procedure and you help them and they leave with a smile. And you get to do that every day.
((NATS))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))
I was practicing ballet twice a week but recently I had a baby. So now I’m doing it fewer times a week, maybe, once a week. It helps me unwind at the end of the day. It helps me express my creative and artistic side and I love it. It taught me motivation, dedication. For sure, it helped me with posture because, you know, in dentistry, you have to be, your back needs to be straight.
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I wanted to pass my knowledge in ballet to someone that wants to achieve the same benefits I did from my early ballet classes.
((NATS))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I’ve been wanting to do this for a really long time. Now, that I opened my practice, I found like this is a great time to do it. My practice name is Aldie Dental Care. So, I named it the Aldie Dental Care Scholarship.
Right now, we’re only doing it with the Virginia Ballet and School Academy.
((NATS))
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

The winner of the scholarship is Victoria Vangroll, and she dances at that academy and she teaches there as well.
((Dina Fadeyeva
Virginia Ballet Company and School))

She’s our advanced student. She’s 16 years old.
((NATS: Dina Fadeyeva))
Dina Fadeyeva:
Arms right. Working.
((Victoria Vangroll
Recipient, Aldie Dental Care Scholarship))

Nicole has definitely helped me. She’s told me a few times that even if I don’t pursue dance professionally, the rules I learn in dance and ballet, like always keep dancing
((Courtesy: The Virginia Ballet Company and School))

because it’s good for your body.
((NATS))
((Victoria Vangroll

Recipient, Aldie Dental Care Scholarship))
I like the precision of it and like working hard.
((NATS))
((Victoria Vangroll
Recipient, Aldie Dental Care Scholarship))

I would like to do ballet professionally and I do have a sort of plan of how I’m going to do that.
((Courtesy: The Virginia Ballet Company and School))
((Victoria Vangroll

Recipient, Aldie Dental Care Scholarship))
I would like to go to Boston and dance or anywhere that would accept me. I don’t really have any preferences.
((NATS: Dr. Nicole Rivera))
Dr. Nicole Rivera:
And I hope you continue to dance for a really long time.
((Victoria Vangroll
Recipient, Aldie Dental Care Scholarship))
Nicole definitely inspires me, you know, to help others. And the fact that like she got this money together and gave this scholarship out when money is tighter this year than it has been in past years, and she was still willing to give when those people wouldn’t give.
((Dr. Nicole Rivera
Dentist, Owner, Aldie Dental Care))

I just plan to continue doing it for years to come. Maybe, this year, we started with one student. Later on, we’ll probably do two students and so on, so that more people can benefit from it.
((NATS))

CLOSING BUMPER ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect

NEXT WEEK ((VO/NAT/SOT))
((Banner))
In Coming Weeks
Connect With: Guy Williams
((SOT))
((Guy Williams
Baker))

I lost my brother last year on like a few weeks at his birthday. He died at age 22. And he had just found out he had a daughter. That’s the most upsetting because he had just found out he had a one-year-old daughter and he just went back to Texas and was talking all about it and this happened. That was the most difficult moment because, yeah, it’s hard. It’s my little brother. It’s my little brother.
((Banner))
Just Listen
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Alisha Edmonson
Co-Owner, Byrdland Records))

It’s a tangible thing and I think we live in a very, a world that has a lot of untangibles. So much of what we do and exists is in our phones. There’s an intent from the artist behind vinyls. So, the record, the record sleeve, the book that’s inside of it, there’s usually a story. There’s usually all the lyrics are in there. It sounds better so when you’re experiencing vinyl, you can feel the bass.
((NATS/MUSIC))

CLOSING BUMPER ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect

BREAK THREE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))

SHOW ENDS

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