a podcast about starting out & starting over that brings listeners inside a day at work


Selected sneak peeks from the forthcoming show.

The Sounding Line will be available wherever you listen to podcasts this Spring

The Sounding Line will be available wherever you listen to podcasts this Spring

TEASER: Lisa on choosing a career in activism

"It propelled me to want to be an activist for life."

I reached out to Lisa a few months back when I realized that the student voices I was capturing were not representative of the spectrum of young people whose paths have been challenging in the most extreme way. I wanted to speak with someone who has worked directly with youth who are incarcerated.

It's been about 15 years since Lisa and I were reading bel hooks and Howard Zinn at Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet, one of LA's magnet high schools designed to desegregate the city. It should come as a surprise to no one who knows us that Lisa and I both count our high school experience as a major influence in our career trajectories.

In this small moment from our conversation, Lisa talks about the mentors she met during this time and how they helped her shape her vision for a career as an activist.

As an activist today, Lisa talks the talk and walks the walk (and I can't wait to share more of her story when we release season one later this year). She works to reform systems and policies on behalf of people who have gone through our criminal justice system. She does so by shifting mindsets within the business world and by expanding career opportunities. Lisa introduced me to Kent and Joe, two activists who experienced incarceration as teens and whom Lisa has mentored and worked with. Check out their clips in the previous posts.

Abra Sussman

When Kent was honorably discharged from juvenile detention after five years in and out of the incarceration system he also faced deportation. This is the story of his remarkable encounter with an ICE agent.

I interviewed Kent along with Lisa and Joe, three criminal justice reformers. Both Kent and Joe draw on their personal experience of incarceration to advocate for policy changes as well as to mentor youth facing the same roadblocks.

There's SO much more of Kent's story to share in the forthcoming podcast including how mentoring and career opportunities played a significant role in his ability to return home and make a difference. For instance, in only four years, Kent has earned his green card, had his record expunged, been appointed to multiple state and local advisory committees, and made an impact on young men also on their way out of prison...

...one of those men is Joe. Listen to a moment from Joe's story in the previous post.

*As a note - Kent, Joe, and Lisa's reflections for this podcast are entirely their own and are not intended to represent their organizations.

Abra Sussman

Joe is an advocate for criminal justice reform. By the age of sixteen he had been incarcerated seven times. 

I met Joe alongside Kent and Lisa for a conversation about their lives and work. All three are part of a movement to reform our criminal justice system.

Reuniting with Lisa, a high school classmate, was true kismet. You'll hear more in upcoming posts about her path to her current role in which she is doing no less than changing the world. It was Lisa who introduced me to Kent and Joe who are transforming their stories into advocacy. Both Kent and Joe spent the majority of their teen years in juvenile camps. They spoke to me candidly about their childhood, the normalcy of gangs in their communities, the sense of belonging they provided, and how their "passion for their gang" was reinforced through the violent culture of our juvenile detention centers where staff often turned a blind eye.

To say that the challenges they have faced were enormous would be an understatement. And yet, during the time leading up to their release, they met mentors who recognized their strengths and connected them with career opportunities. As Lisa would say, to give them not a second chance but "first fair chance." After his own release, Kent mentored Joe while he prepared for life back at home. Joe now serves in the very same position that Kent filled. More on Kent's story to come (spoiler: he's a bit of a superstar).

It was extraordinarily difficult to chose a moment to share from Joe's story because his wisdom and honesty could fill many, many books. In this brief clip, Joe describes why he mentors incarcerated youth.

*As a note - Kent, Joe, and Lisa's reflections for this podcast are entirely their own and are not intended to represent their organizations.

Abra Sussman
Teaser: Julio on Football

Meet Julio, a high school sophomore featured on The Sounding Line (working title: Every Day Magic). Julio loves football and aspires to play the sport professionally. But not because of celebrity. Or salary. Or ego.

To find out why, listen below.

Stay connected for the full episode soon to be released on Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts.

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Abra Sussman
Teaser: Julio on Teaching

Glimpse inside our vocal recording studio and listen to Julio describe why he's curious about becoming a teacher. Julio is a high school sophomore and host of upcoming episodes of The Sounding Line (working title: Every Day Magic). We paired him up with Josh, a master teacher to observe his classroom and pick his brain about becoming a teacher.

You can learn more about Julio and Josh in episodes of our podcast coming soon to Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts.

Abra Sussman
Teaser: Jazmin on Genetic Science

Jazmin is another candid and brilliant student featured on The Sounding Line (working title: Every Day Magic).

Listen to a brief part of our conversation about why she is passionate about genetic science.

Stay tuned for full episodes featuring her story and her career ambitions.

Abra Sussman
Mini Episode: Marcelo and Civil Engineering

Meet the wise and wonderful Marcelo, the first student I interviewed for The Sounding Line (working title: Every Day Magic). Special thanks to Evan Schaeffer for the sweet tunes at the top and bottom of the show. The tracks are "Turnaround" and "Bright Side" courtesy of the artist and Free Music Archives.

Our first full episode can be found soon on Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts. To find out when, stay connected by following me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Abra Sussman