Our Dream Deferred

Our Dream Deferred

From long ago policy decisions to the ways unspoken social rules and the technology in our pockets shape our behavior, Our Dream Deferred scans across fields to find experts with deep insights into why we are the way we are as a country, how it impacts our ability to deliver the public good, and what it will take to change. Join co-hosts Tracy Wareing Evans and Karen Heller Key, national leaders in human services, a field that works to build communities where everyone thrives. A podcast of the American Public Human Services Association, Our Dream Deferred features discussions with brilliant voices from unexpected places whose insights and lived experiences help deconstruct the American story by illuminating what we’re up against, who has been left out of the narrative, and what counterforces can finally help fulfill our nation’s promise.


August 2, 2021 1 min

An overview & welcome to Our Dream Deferred. Find out how we will explore the American story, as inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem, Dream Deferred: “What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?”

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These past few years, as our country has become more fragmented, and longstanding biases have come into plain sight, we’ve searched for ways to understand what we’re experiencing more deeply and to benefit from perspectives that can help us envision a path forward. This week’s episode of Our Dream Deferred: Fulfilling the Nation’s Promise, we’ll cover the importance of narrative change and how to do it in a positive way, what we ca...

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October 26, 2021 42 mins

In this week’s episode of Our Dream Deferred: Fulfilling the Nation’s Promise, we’re in conversation with Derrik Anderson, Executive Director at Race Matters for Juvenile Justice. Derrik helps us reflect on the American Dream in the context of taking a frank look at the lived experiences of people of color in the United States. Derrik uses a historical lens to explore policies, their impacts on systems and institutions, and the bia...

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November 2, 2021 34 mins

Today we hear from Phil Howard, who is a professor of sociology, information and international affairs, and the author of Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives. Studying information infrastructure and social systems at the same time, he provides a unique and integrated perspective on the impacts of social media on modern life, and why it matters. By i...

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November 9, 2021 47 mins

Today we hear from Tim Snyder, the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Tim has written numerous books, including two that appeared on the New York Times best-seller list simultaneously, On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. Both volumes examine the rise of authoritarianism in the United States. As an historian special...

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November 30, 2021 49 mins

This week we hear from philosopher, writer, and professor C. Thi Nguyen. Thi is perhaps best known for his recent essay in Aeon magazine, Escape the Echo Chamber, that went viral at a time when many Americans are struggling to understand the interplay between social media and the rise of conspiracy theories. Our conversation with him is wide ranging, spanning from the gamification of social media to the difference between filter bu...

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December 14, 2021 58 mins

Today’s episode features Dr. Wendy Ellis, Assistant Professor of Global Health at The George Washington University and Founding Director of the Center for Community Resilience. Wendy is well known as a pioneer in our understanding of trauma and resilience – in our conversation she uses her expertise in health policy, her background as a journalist, and draws on her own lived experience to pull back the lens to help us see the syste...

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This bonus episode of “Our Dream Deferred” features a deep dive into a new podcast we are launching! APHSA is proud to premiere “Disrupt the Dialogue,” with APHSA co-hosts Tina Wright-Ervin, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant and Alexander Figueroa, Assistant Director of Learning and Development. It will be a place where leaders of color can share their personal experiences and insights regarding the effect that race has on th...

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July 12, 2023 52 mins

In this episode, we explore the importance of human-to-human contact and
the impact it can have on our lives. Our guest, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Levy Paluck, emphasizes the value of engaging with people around us in order to have a positive impact on the issues that affect us all.

We also discuss the need to examine norms,...

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As we kick off season 2 of Our Dream Deferred, co-hosts Tracy Wareing Evans and Karen Heller Key take a moment to reflect on their journey together and what brought them to their individual roles as advocates for positive social change. Episode 1 stories include family histories of taking on injustice along with recent changes in the world that have brought stark relief to issues of racial inequality and historic marginalization, t...

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August 9, 2023 48 mins

In this episode, we’re joined by Lilliana Mason, Professor of Political Science at Johns
Hopkins University's SNF Agora Institute, and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. Bringing together her unique blended expertise in political science and social psychology, Lilliana (Lily) digs into the details behind partisan animosity and the disturbing increase in extreme partisanship, especially changing attitudes...

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We’re joined by Dr. Crystal Hoyt, Professor of Leadership Studies and Psychology at the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond. Her scholarship looks at the intersection of human belief systems and social justice, and in this episode, she offers us a look into research she and colleagues have conducted that uncovers unseen influences on both individual thinking and on shared societal perspectives that in turn aff...

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In this episode, part one in a two-part episode, we welcome Nat Kendall-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at the FrameWorks Institute. A long-time collaborator with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), he introduces the insightful world of narrative framing and its potential power in driving cultural change.

Nat is an expert in psychological anthropology and communication science and des...

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In this episode, we continue our conversation with Nat Kendall-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at the FrameWorks Institute. A long-time collaborator with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), he introduces the insightful world of narrative framing and its potential power in driving cultural change. Be sure to listen to part 1 if you haven’t already done so!
Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #Ou...

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