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October 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Dealing with big oil, poachers and gunfire is nothing new to animal rescue missions in Africa. But while much attention has been paid to the real possibility that elephants and rhinos could be extinct within two decades, wildlife experts may have let giraffes slip through the cracks to suffer their own “silent extinction.” One particularly committed giraffe researcher, however, has not ignored their plight, and with his family and extended rescue team, has committed himself to relocating and protecting these long-necked-leaf-eaters before it’s too late. PBS Nature’s executive producer, Fred Kaufman joins us with a look at the series’ new documentary Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants which shines a light on the efforts to protect these threatened animals.

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Episode
October 20, 2016 at 5:35 am

This election has been full of insults, name calling, bullying, vilification of whole factions of society, allegations of illegal cover-ups and conspiracies, threats, and lewd talk of sexual prowess and even assault. All this could leave you wondering if there has ever been another presidential race as nasty as this war for the White House being waged between Hillary Clinton […]

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October 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

60 years ago, The Open Mind made its first broadcast with its founding host, Richard D. Heffner. In the decades that followed, the PBS program encouraged non-adversarial face-to-face conversations; a far cry from the on-air confrontations that are so common in modern day political discourse. Time may have quickly come to pass, but the integrity, power, and impact of this […]

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Episode
October 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, last Friday, we brought you the story of Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent Harlem in the State Senate. To the disgust of many, Girodes told NBC 4 I-Team’s Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace that he wanted to hand out “Kool-Aid, KFC, and Watermelons” at a campaign event. The predominately black community did not react well to Girodes’ attempt to win votes, and his comments were met with public outrage. But by nightfall on Friday, Girodes was arrested. Why was this Republican politician cuffed and put in the back of a squad car? Tonight, we have the rest of the story, and you won’t want to miss it.

Then, nearly 60,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters every night, according to the most recent statistics from City Hall. That number is up 18 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office two years ago, but city officials say congestion in shelters would be much worse if not for large investments in homeless programs. For many people on the streets, part of the problem is that they don’t know where their families are or how to contact them. That’s where Miracle Messages steps in. The organization uses videos and social media to track down and reunite the homeless with their families. The group’s founder, Kevin Adler, joins us tonight to talk more about the city’s homeless problem and the miracles his organization is facilitating every day.

Next, becoming a ballerina is no small task, but becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre was all but impossible. Misty Copeland’s rise in ballet was the result of breaking through years of physical and psychological barriers, including the racism that is still prevalent in the dance today. Over the years, Misty has become a voice in the dance world; an inspiration for those who she says inspired her. “The little brown girls. I just feel like every performance, every time I’m given an opportunity to be seen and given a voice, it’s them I’m representing, it’s them I’m speaking for.” And Misty encourages them to chase their dreams of dancing en pointe, no matter their shape, size, or color. MetroFocus’ William Jones sits down with Misty Copeland to discuss her work with the American Ballet Theatre and how she uses that opportunity as a platform to encourage young girls to keep dancing, no matter what the rest of the world says.

Finally, there was once a time in China when government officials could get away with rape by claiming their victims were prostitutes. Those victims were not just adult women but included underage girls and those times, are no more. when six elementary school girls were allegedly sexually abused by their principal in southern China, activist Ye Haiyan, known as Hooligan Sparrow, started a protest that gained international attention and inspired a documentary that followed her advocacy for women’s rights and sex workers. Filmmaker Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about her POV documentary Hooligan Sparrow and shares how the film transcended its original intentions when the Chinese government got involved and tried to stop production. What began as a personal plight against China’s sex industry became a scorching expose of China’s surveillance state; a state that preyed on its underage girls.

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October 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Nearly 60,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters every night, according to the most recent statistics from City Hall. That number is up 18 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office two years ago, but city officials say congestion in shelters would be much worse if not for large investments in homeless programs. For many people on the […]

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Episode
October 15, 2016 at 5:02 am

Tonight, New Yorkers in Harlem are furious with Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent their district in the New York State Senate. These feelings ignited after the candidate made promises to serve racially stereotypical food at a local campaign event. Residents of New York’s 30th District, a primarily Black community, are making it completely clear that they don’t approve of the Girodes’ comments to serve “Kool-Aid, KFC and Watermelons.” NBC 4 I-Team Investigative Reporter, Sarah Wallace broke the story and tonight, joins us to tell us more.

Then, what once was a place for New Yorkers to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in the middle of a bustling Manhattan has now become the dangerous backdrop for a number of robberies, assaults, and gang violence. Cell phone robbery and brutal assaults by roaming gangs have been on the rise in Central Park, with multiple incidents reported in the past month. This week, a woman in the park was robbed and assaulted before she managed to get away during an attempted rape. Her alleged assailant was arrested two days later after authorities tracked him down by using the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app. Luckily, that story has a better ending than most, but the public still remains on edge as these crimes become a trend, despite the fact that police say crime is down for the year in Central Park by about 35 percent. New York City Park Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft joins us to make sense of the statistics and share how the police plan to ensure the public’s safety.

Finally, tensions are hitting an all-time high in police forces across the country as countless videos come to light showing police shootings of unarmed black men. As Americans grow more irate over daily headlines, the debate over the use of force has come to the forefront of policing. Some veteran cops are even admitting to feeling uneasy when they don their badges, but what is the next generation of this occupation thinking? Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones heads to Monroe College in the Bronx where their criminal justice program is moving away from textbook learning in favor of putting their students on the virtual front lines.

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October 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Tensions are hitting an all-time high in police forces across the country as countless videos come to light showing police shootings of unarmed black men. As Americans grow more irate over daily headlines, the debate over the use of force has come to the forefront of policing. Some veteran cops are even admitting to feeling uneasy when they don their badges, but what is the next generation of this occupation thinking? Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones heads to Monroe College in the Bronx where their criminal justice program is moving away from textbook learning in favor of putting their students on the virtual front lines.

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Episode
October 04, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, for one night only, America’s political focus will shift from presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to their vice presidential picks, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Tomorrow night, these vice presidential candidates will take center stage at Longwood University in Virginia for their first and only debate before the election in November. In the past, vice presidential face-offs haven’t always been as momentous as the presidential debates, but in a race as contentious as this, is tomorrow’s debate going to be one to watch and will it have an impact? Amy Holmes, a political analyst for the polling company Rasmussen Reports, and former Newsday columnist Ellis Henican join us with a preview of the showdown.

Next, last week’s presidential debate clearly displayed the bitter hatred between candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the contention witnessed during the 1968 debates. Liberal Gore Vidal and Conservative William Buckley were bitter political enemies that the media followed closely during the two presidential conventions. The resulting fireworks between the ideological opposites would change political media coverage and shape it into the blood sport it is today. Tonight, Director and Producer Robert Gordon joins us to discuss his Independent Lens documentary, Best of Enemies, which examines these men and their rivalry and the film “Best of Enemies” before it airs tonight on PBS.

Then, it’s been over 15 years since Amadou Diallo was brutally killed by four New York City police officers in February of 1999. Although his name may be a forgotten headline for some, his mother Kadiatou, the message that was ignited by her son’s death is as important as ever. In fact, Kadiatou is worried that the country is headed in the wrong direction. She has said, “What is going on here is like many years ago…We’re going backwards, so each time I relive my tragedy.” And the same is true for the countless other mothers of unarmed, black men that lost their lives at the hands of the police, including Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and many others. In this installment of Listening In, we take you to a panel discussion including Kadiatou and the mother of Eric Gardner where they discuss healing New York City’s communities and putting an end to events like the ones that claimed the lives of their sons.

Finally, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. It’s a time of year when many in the Jewish community come together at their local synagogue for prayer, self-reflection and a greater sense of community. But for some, it’s physically impossible to make a trip to the synagogue. And for others, the attendance fees for holiday services may well be unaffordable. In an effort to reach more of their community, one synagogue on Long Island has gone high tech, and we take you there to see how they’re making the high holidays more accessible.

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October 03, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. It’s a time of year when many in the Jewish community come together at their local synagogue for prayer, self-reflection and a greater sense of community. But for some, it’s physically impossible to make a trip to the synagogue. And for others, the attendance fees for holiday services may well be unaffordable. In an effort to reach more of their community, one synagogue on Long Island has gone high tech, and we take you there to see how they’re making the high holidays more accessible.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross, and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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