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July 26, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Nearly 15 percent- which comes out to more than 46 million people in this country- are considered to be living under the poverty line. That means these people are surviving on about $24,000 a year. In New York State, the average resident spends more than that, annually, on housing alone. So, the question is reasonable: When faced with such a high cost of living- Is poverty something that can be eradicated? Turns out, the idea isn’t so far-fetched. Roosevelt Institute scholar Dorian Warren and author of How To Truly Eradicate Poverty joins us to share the steps that he believes could help put poverty behind us.

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Episode
July 26, 2016 at 5:39 am

Tonight, with the Republican convention in the rear view, Democrats are now gathering in Philadelphia to begin their own convention and anoint Hillary Clinton for President. But while the anticipation is building, party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz was met with heckling and disruption as she gave a speech this morning. She will be stepping down as soon as the convention wraps, amid pressure from the WikiLeaks emails release, one of which show staffers discussing how to weaken Sanders’ support by referencing his faith, as well as Hillary’s campaign saying the Russian government may have orchestrated the debacle. Is this an omen for what is to come, or will the Democratic party pull it together? How will Bernie Sanders react when he takes the stage tonight? We speak to New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who was the chair of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in that state, about the tumultuous first day of the Democratic convention.

Next, America has the largest prison population in the world, and in New York City, 4000 people are locked up in jail, although they haven’t been convicted of any crime. They remain there, awaiting trial, not because their crime demands it, but because they simply cannot afford to pay their bail. In a new documentary titled Limbo, three prisoners tell their story and the high price they are forced to pay as a result of our country’s bail system. Filmmaker Razan Ghalayini and senior planner at Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections Insha Rahman join us to talk about the broken criminal justice system in America and whether it discriminates against the poor while costing us $9 billion a year.

Then finally, who said STEM skills were best learned in a classroom? Mohonk Preserve is breaking the status quo for STEM kids and taking their lessons outside, using the natural environment to reinforce science, math, technology and engineering programs. MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan takes us to the preserve and shows you how the program is taking kids from areas like Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, making them comfortable with the outdoors, and melding it with their interests in STEM.

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Clip
July 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

America has the largest prison population in the world, and in New York City, 4000 people are locked up in jail, although they haven’t been convicted of any crime. They remain there, awaiting trial, not because their crime demands it, but because they simply cannot afford to pay their bail. In a new documentary titled Limbo, three prisoners tell their story and the high price they are forced to pay as a result of our country’s bail system. Filmmaker Razan Ghalayini and senior planner at Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections Insha Rahman join us to talk about the broken criminal justice system in America and whether it discriminates against the poor while costing us $9 billion a year.

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Episode
July 22, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, today is day 4 of the GOP Convention in Cleveland, and we continue to keep you updated on what’s happening in C-Town. Among tonight’s bill of speakers is American football star Tim Tebow, Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Ivanka Trump, and the Republican presidential nominee himself, Donald Trump. We’ll talk to New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick ahead of all the excitement tonight and get the latest.

Next, Synthetic Marijuana, commonly known as K2, has had a recent surge in overdoses here in New York. Between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, many plans to crack down on the drug are being proposed, with serious consequences to those selling it. On top of that, Senator Chuck Schumer confirmed that he’s planning on introducing legislation to outlaw more than 20 substances found in the makeup of the drug. K2 overdoses are nothing new, in fact, 6,000 patients were treated at New York City hospitals since 2015 due to overdosing. But now, a video shot in Brooklyn earlier this month depicts dozens of K2 users and public officials were worried by what they saw, leading to police raids of stores and bodegas believed to supply the drug. New York Daily News writer Graham Rayman has been covering this epidemic as it develops, and he’s here to comment on the latest.

Next, between the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and police officers in both Dallas and Baton Rouge, the question remains of how to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gap between law enforcement and communities of color. The NYPD is no exception to the question, and they are turning to the people they protect for the answer. In the Fall of 2014, the NYPD started a small pilot program with 54 body cameras for officers, which is expected to expand to an additional 1,000 body cameras on officers. But before officers are outfitted with these cameras, the NYPD is offering a questionnaire as a joint initiative by the Policing Project at NYU’s School of Law. The survey will allow New Yorkers to give their input on how they think cameras should be used, with the hope that it will foster a better relationship between the public and the police. Director of the Policing Project, professor Barry Friedman stops by to talk about the pilot program and the questionnaire.

Then finally, high school students have to tackle many hurdles to get to college, but some students face bigger challenges than tests and homework. Recently, a group of college-bound high school graduates were celebrated for achieving academic success while being in the homeless system. MetroFocus Contributor Andrea Vasquez takes us to the celebration that honored 100 homeless high school graduates who overcame instability at home to excel in school.

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July 21, 2016 at 6:26 pm

High school students have to tackle many hurdles to get to college, but some students face bigger challenges than tests and homework. Recently, a group of college-bound high school graduates were celebrated for achieving academic success while being in the homeless system. MetroFocus Contributor Andrea Vasquez takes us to the celebration that honored 100 homeless high school graduates who overcame instability at home to excel in school.

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Episode
July 20, 2016 at 5:25 am

Tonight, from the drop of the gavel, catch the highlights of yesterday’s GOP convention and what to look forward to tonight as the focus shifts to the economy. This morning, Melania Trump is in the midst of a plagiarism controversy after giving a speech that was very similar to one Michelle Obama gave in 2008. Tonight, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Kentucky Senator and majority leader Mitch McConnell, Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and more are set to speak as Donald Trump tries to unite the Republican party. We have the latest, and you won’t want to miss it. We’ll speak with Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, who is a lead GOP fundraiser in New Jersey and an official fundraiser for the Trump campaign.

Next, the 2016 Election is said to be the most polarizing Presidential race in over 20 years. In the end, it will be up to the people to decide who gets to move into the White House, but who are American voters, and what issues are they concerned about? VICE reporter Abdullah Saeed and two co-workers, Martina de Alba and Wibert Cooper, set out on a road trip across the country to find out. They documented their journey in an ongoing series called “VICE DOES AMERICA.” Abdullah and Martina join us to talk about their trip and what they learned from it.

Then finally, Motown was a sensational genre of music during the 1960’s and 70’s that produced an impressive roster of stars from Stevie Wonder, to Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes, and more. All these artists had a hand in creating the musical soundtrack that played an important role in the racial integration of pop music. Behind all that, was a legendary label named Motown Records, founded by Berry Gordy Jr., who would go on to produce song after song that would top charts and be featured in the four time Tony nominated Motown the Musical, which recently returned to Broadway for a limited run. Gordy joins us with the musical’s director, Charles Randolph-Wright, to talk about the show and why it’s still relevant today.

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Episode
July 15, 2016 at 5:32 am

Tonight, in the age of iPhones and constant contact with the internet, technology has made it easier for people to record interactions with police. In fact, there is a decades-old consent decree preserving the right to do just that. But now, a New York City man named Ruben An is in the midst of a legal battle after he recorded a conversation between three officers and a man on the sidewalk in July 2014. An was held in jail for 15 hours and charged with obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. A year later, the case went to trial and the jury found An not guilty on all counts. Now, An is filing a lawsuit to affirm that he was in the right the day he was arrested, and that the arrest violated his constitutional rights, on top of issuing a permanent injunction that would bar the NYPD from interfering with or retaliating against citizen videographers. Tonight, Ruben An’s attorneys on this case, Joshua Carrin and Cynthia Conti-Cook join us to discuss this unique case. Next, food waste is perhaps one of the biggest problems in the world that people are not talking about. You may not realize it, but statistics show the average American throws away over 20 pounds of food each month. With about 15 million children living in food insecure households nationwide, new programs are now being adopted in communities across the country to make sure leftovers end up on dinner plates – and not in landfills. New York City is no exception. As part of our ongoing reporting initiative, Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, we’re taking a look at this problem with help from The Huffington Post, which recently launched a campaign called “Reclaim” to cut down on food waste. Then finally, meet the man who raised a generation and redefined comedy television in the 70’s. Norman Lear is best known for his hit shows like All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son; titles that laid the groundwork for a new era in sitcoms and created a format that would be reused for countless other shows. Lear is now the subject of the newest American Masters installment, Norman Lear: Another Version of You, and he takes some time out to sit down with us and discuss the documentary.

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Episode
July 08, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment claim against her former boss Roger Ailes, one of the most powerful media executives in America. Tonight, Gretchen gets real and shares in detail about her past personal journey as the victim of the sexual assault she was subjected to as she built her early career in television. Next, every June, the New York Yankees reach out to shine a spotlight on five people, families, or organizations that are giving back to the community and impacting them in a positive way. This year, one of the honorees Alvin Irby has been recognized for starting a non-profit called Barbershop Books, which helps young boys connect and get excited about reading. We were invited to help tell that story and get in on the fun as a group of school children were surprised by several Yankee players at a Harlem Bookshop. Then, more and more families are turning to New York City’s homeless shelters as an affordable housing crisis grips the region. In fact, the city’s 2016 Social Indicators Report shows that nearly 65,000 people entered city homeless shelters in 2015, and more than two thirds were families with children. Now, the NYC Department of Social Services has partnered with WNET Public Media to open a children’s waiting room in the homeless services intake center. MetroFocus contributor Andrea Vasquez takes us to the new space, designed to let children play and learn while their parents undergo the long process of entering the homeless system. Finally, every once in a while, a band comes together and redefines an entire genre of music that influences a generation. In the 50’s, there was the Four Seasons, in the 60’s there was the Beatles, and in the 70’s there was the Ramones, and they took punk to another level. The band took shape in Forest Hills, Queens, and their 1976 debut album titled simply “The Ramones” launched a career that spanned two decades. Although the four original Ramones from Forest Hills have since passed away, their music and their fans live on. Now, the Queens Museum is displaying their art and other memorabilia in an exhibit called “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: The Ramones and the Birth of Punk.” We take you through the exhibit and talk about the illustrious career of these punk rockers.

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MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jody and John Arnhold, the Tiger Baron Foundation, the Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Metropolitan Media Fund, Laura and Jim Ross, the Dorothy Pacella Fund, in memory of Vincent Pacella and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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