Podcast: ‘Black Immigrants in the Whitest State’

A new episode of Feet in 2 Worlds' podcast series "A Better Life?" examines the racial disparities of the coronavirus in Maine.

by and | October 11, 2020

Courtesy of "A Better Life?" and Feet in 2 Worlds.

Editor’s Note: The Maine Monitor is pleased to share the podcast “A Better Life?,” as a media partner. This episode focuses on the immigrant experience of COVID-19 in Maine. The podcast is a product of a Feet in 2 Worlds, a project of the New School in New York City. 
Maine has one of the lowest rates of coronavirus infection in the country, but Black residents of Maine are at a disproportionately high risk of becoming infected by COVID-19. A new episode of Feet in 2 Worlds‘ podcast series “A Better Life?” released on Oct. 8 examines the reasons for this disparity, the widest of any state. The episode, “Black Immigrants in the Whitest State,” focuses on Maine’s rapidly growing African immigrant population, and why Black Mainers are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The episode explores the connection between the pandemic and economic disadvantages experienced by Black people in Maine, notably migrants from African countries including Somalia, Angola, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In conversations with two prominent Mainers of African descent, we look at Maine’s history of racial discrimination, including hate crimes and police abuses committed against Black people, as well as Maine’s historic connections to the Ku Klux Klan, beginning in the 1920s.

“A Better Life?” is hosted by Zahir Janmohamed and produced by Mia Warren. Both Janmohamed and Warren are the children of immigrants. Janmohamed lives in Portland.

 

Zahir Janmohamed

Zahir Janmohamed

Zahir is a Zell Writing Fellow at the University of Michigan, where he completed an MFA in fiction and received awards for his fiction, non-fiction, poetry and playwriting. He is also the co-founder of the podcast "Racist Sandwich," which was nominated for a James Beard award in 2019. His articles have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Nation, Guernica and many other publications. Prior to beginning his writing and journalism career, he worked in the U.S. Congress and at Amnesty International.


Zahir Janmohamed

Mia Warren

Mia is an independent audio producer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. She's the co-creator and executive producer of "Feeling My Flo," a podcast for tweens all about menstruation. Previously, she was a broadcast and podcast producer for StoryCorps, the national oral history project, and a reporter at Marfa Public Radio in far-west Texas. Mia got her start in audio storytelling in Lima, Peru, where she documented stories in the Japanese Peruvian community on a Fulbright fellowship.


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