Silence is Not an Option

Silence is Not an Option

America is in crisis right now. A lot of people want to help, but have no idea where to start. In our new podcast, we’re going to dig deep into the reality of being Black and brown in America, and explore what you can do to help find a path forward. We’ll have tough conversations with activists, artists, and thinkers about our nation’s deep racial divide. As we look for meaningful and lasting solutions, there is a lot to learn and unlearn. These conversations are going to be challenging—even uncomfortable—but they’re important. Because this time, we get to rebuild America together. Hosted by Don Lemon.


February 23, 2022 12 min

The death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 sparked a social justice movement that still reverberates today. In this special episode of CNN's 5 Things, Don Lemon examines why the killing initially struggled to make headlines, traces the rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the decade since, and shares why his conversations with Martin’s mother are among the most powerful interviews he’s ever done.

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For nearly 70 years, superstar actor and singer Harry Belafonte has used his platform to advocate for freedom and equality in America and around the world. Don Lemon speaks with Belafonte about his dedication to humanitarian causes, and how Belafonte has inspired Don to speak up about injustice. The star’s daughter, Gina Belafonte, and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz tell Don about Belafonte’s lifelong commitment to civil...

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July 8, 2021 31 min

Don’t call Eartha Kitt an “angry Black woman.” That’s how Eartha was portrayed when she spoke truth to power and criticized the Vietnam War and wealth inequality in front of President Johnson and the First Lady. The bold move cost her career opportunities and even prompted a CIA investigation, but she still came out on top. Don Lemon speaks with CNN's senior entertainment writer Lisa Respers France and Eartha's daughter, Ki...

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July 1, 2021 23 min

What would you risk to fight racism? In 2020, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream put paychecks on the line to speak up for Black Lives Matter and against their owner, former Senator Kelly Loeffler. It was an unprecedented match between players and owners, and the direction of U.S. politics hung in the balance. In this week’s episode, Don Lemon discusses WNBA player activism with sports and politics writer Jemele Hill, and the Atlanta Dream&#...

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Bayard Rustin organized the March on Washington and advised Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on direct nonviolent action, but this Civil Rights hero didn’t get his proper due at the time because he was gay. For this special Pride month episode, Don Lemon affirms Rustin's rightful place in history and explores how Rustin persevered despite personal attacks. Don and CNN National Political Writer Brandon Tensley discuss Rustin's li...

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June 17, 2021 20 min

When former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne saw a colleague put a handcuffed Black man in a chokehold, she said she knew she had to do something. Her intervention cost her job and her pension. On today’s podcast, Don Lemon hears from Horne and her lawyer, Harvard Law Professor Ron Sullivan, about that fateful day in 2006 and their ensuing legal battle that lasted until just months ago. And what does Horne’s case mean for nation...

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June 10, 2021 28 min

Everyone’s heard the story of Rosa Parks, but few know of Claudette Colvin, the 15-year-old girl who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a White passenger... nine months before Parks. So why wasn’t she the face of the movement? Don Lemon explores Colvin’s life and legacy with CNN anchor Abby Phillip and scholar Beverly Guy-Sheftall. And youth activist Anya Dillard shares what activists today can learn from Colv...

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Change doesn’t happen without taking risks, without fearless activists who stand up for what’s right even when it’s uncomfortable. This season, Don shares the stories of those who used their fame to shine a light on injustice like Harry Belafonte and Eartha Kitt. But you will also hear the stories of change makers who deserve greater recognition, like a teenager who took a stand on a Montgomery bus before Rosa Parks and the police ...

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February 11, 2021 33 min

The so-called Black National Anthem was composed in 1900, and it’s provided a soundtrack to Black life ever since. For this special Black History Month episode, CNN’s Don Lemon speaks with Rep. James Clyburn, historian Prof. Imani Perry, and Howard University choir conductor Eric Poole about the song’s history, cultural significance, and impressive staying power over the past century. Today, it’s more relevant than ever. 

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December 31, 2020 64 min

When Nikole Hannah-Jones was a high school student at a predominantly white school in Waterloo, Iowa, she complained to a teacher that the school newspaper wasn’t covering stories that mattered to Black students. He told her she had two options: stop complaining or start writing for the paper and telling her own stories. She joined the paper, launching what became a celebrated career writing for publications like ProPublica and The...

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November 19, 2020 28 min

A record number of Black candidates ran for office this year, representing not only their constituencies, but also the diversity of perspectives that exist among Black Americans. Don talks to two newly elected representatives, Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Cori Bush (D-Missouri), about their platforms, their strategies for Congress, and the future of Black politics. 

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November 12, 2020 22 min

Black women are largely responsible for electing America’s next president. They have been one of the Democratic party’s most reliable voting blocs for a long time. Why? Don talks with LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, about how their votes were earned in the 2020 election. Also, Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson discusses the excitement surrounding VP-elect Kamala Harris and her affiliation with Alpha Kappa A...

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October 29, 2020 34 min

Why stay where you’re not wanted? Some Black Americans are thinking about moving abroad to escape centuries of racial oppression and marginalization. Historian Kevin Gaines shares the long history behind this phenomenon. Don also speaks with author Tiffanie Drayton about her move from the U.S. to Trinidad and Tobago and why she considers herself a refugee.

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October 22, 2020 33 min

Why is still so hard for Black communities to vote in this country? Massive early voter turnout has led to hours-long waiting lines, and Black and other voters of color can expect to wait the longest. Voter protection specialist Josh Levin says that even after decades of legal battles over voting rights, communities of color consistently encounter barriers. Don also speaks with Carol Anderson, author and professor of African Americ...

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October 15, 2020 23 min

If injustice occurs in America no matter who is leading the country, is voting really as powerful as we say it is? Election day is so close, yet not everyone is convinced that voting will lead to meaningful progress. Activist Daud Mumin argues that we need more than just incremental change. And Don speaks with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown about whether elections are our most effective tool.

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September 10, 2020 31 min

School is back in session as protests and calls for racial justice continue across America. So how should parents and teachers talk to kids about this national reckoning? Don speaks with clinical psychologist and race relations expert, Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, about the right time talk to kids about racism and how to help them navigate a multiracial society.

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August 27, 2020 33 min

Amidst a summer of unrest and calls for social justice, Don talks with host of CNN's United Shades of America W. Kamau Bell about matters of the heart. More than five decades have passed since the US Supreme court protected interracial marriage in America. Both men are in committed relationships with partners of a different race, and they reflect on the conflict and comfort that can be found with a loved one during a national r...

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August 20, 2020 23 min

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, environmental protections, natural resource management and climate change are a big part of the conversation. Protecting the environment goes way beyond fuel efficient cars and polar bears, it also means improving living conditions for communities of color who often bear the brunt of environmental decline. Don talks to environmental justice advocate, Mustafa Santiago Ali about the envir...

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August 13, 2020 24 min

The NBA and Major League Baseball have restarted their seasons and NFL training camps are underway. As professional leagues and college teams navigate how to play safely during a pandemic, they are also confronting racial justice issues that plague American sports. Don talks to sports journalist William C. Rhoden about Black athletes, activism, and how much still needs to be done.

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August 6, 2020 21 min

Lately everyone has been talking about race, but Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson wants us to look at caste as well. We may associate that strict social hierarchy with India, but Wilkerson argues it has been present in the U.S. for over 400 years. She talks with Don about her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, and why she thinks race is just one part of a larger system that determines who is valued and who is di...

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