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Behind the Blue

Some stories require a little more – a little more discussion, more context, more depth and breadth. That’s the idea behind “Behind the Blue” – a weekly podcast created by UK Public Relations and Marketing. It is designed to explore through probing interviews the in-depth the stories that make UK the university for Kentucky and that have impact across the institution, the Commonwealth and, in some cases, the world.
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Now displaying: February, 2019
Feb 28, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2019) – Science is all around us — pushing, pulling, exerting opposing forces that keep the universe in balance. The University of Kentucky and featured guest speakers from around the region are gathering once again to take a weeklong look at practical science in casual settings during this year’s Everything is Science (EiS) Festival: Opposites Attract.

Everything is Science: Opposites Attract is a week of paired presentations, lectures and demonstrations that take a closer look at the yin and yang of science. Taking place March 4-8 at participating local restaurants and bars, the festival aims to demonstrate how science is happening all around us and not just in research labs.

On this episode of Behind the Blue, Vincent Venditto, an Assistant Professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, and second year Pharmacy student Jarrod Cremeans talk about the development of the festival, what it means to bring these discussions into such casual settings, and how attendees can get a no-pressure introduction to the everyday science that is happening all around them.

Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

Feb 26, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2019) – Throughout U.S. history, college students have often been catalysts of change. In the 1960s they led sit-ins, rallies, marches and demanded change on their campuses and in their communities. The University of Kentucky’s campus was no different. There were issues on campus, and a group of black students took up the mantle of creating a more inclusive and equitable community.

Jim Embry, a 1974 UK graduate, got involved in civil rights activism at 10 years old as a member of Northern Kentucky CORE. His mother was the chapter president and took him to meetings and picket lines. A fire was lit within him that ignited a life-long passion for social justice. Embry was among the UK students who founded the Black Student Union which presented to President John Oswald a list of demands. From that meeting came a lot of big changes including the integration of the basketball team, the institution of diversity programs, the creation of African American history courses, the banning of the song “Dixie” and rebel flags at athletic events and an end to off-campus housing discrimination.

While serving as the BSU president, Embry fought across Kentucky for social and environmental justice. After attending Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta, he helped to organize the annual Martin Luther King Day march in Lexington. His activism eventually led him to Detroit to work closely with Grace Lee Boggs as the director of the Boggs Center. As director, Embry helped create a vision for the Greening of Detroit and established urban gardens. He continued that work when he returned to Lexington in 2005 and founded Sustainable Communities Network.

Change is rarely linear, it’s often cyclical and the issues faced in the past must be battled again. That sentiment has held true for addressing and combatting discrimination on campus according to current president, Tsage Douglas. Douglas, a junior double-majoring in public health and foreign language and international economics, leads the UK Black Student Union with the same passion and fervor Embry had all those years ago and still has.

Douglas appreciates the changes that have taken place at UK since its founding, since it was integrated and since all those changes took place thanks to Embry. But, she came to UK to help it reach its full potential as an inclusive, affirming and diverse campus community. She, and other current members of the Black Student Union, have their own demands: more transparency, increased recruitment of black faculty and staff, increased financial aid for black students and the creation of a black student advisory council. As of today, the black student advisory council has been established and she and other student leaders are working with administrators on the other three goals.

On this week’s episode of Behind the Blue, Embry and Douglas engage in a thought-provoking discussion about their role as change makers, their leadership of the Black Student Union and their vision for the campus community and beyond.

Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

Seventy years ago, Lyman T. Johnson forced open the doors of the University of Kentucky by becoming the first African-American student. He, along with countless others, opened a door and created a path for us to follow. It’s the idea that anyone -- regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, what they believe, how they identify themselves, or where they are from – can find a place at the University of Kentucky. Yet, our story demands that we acknowledge that progress on this path has not been a straight line. There have been moments where we have, as an institution, not honored our aspirations. Those moments provide a compelling reminder that building a community of belonging is a journey, not a project. This month, as part of Black History Month, we are chronicling the stories of the trailblazers, innovators and champions, who bravely stepped forward or are prodding us ahead today. Their stories speak to us and guide us still.

Feb 25, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2019) — This year marks the 70th year of integration at the University of Kentucky, due to the efforts of Lyman T. Johnson, who broke the color barrier with his successful legal challenge in 1949.

As progress has been made since that time, more can be and will be done.

On this edition of the "Behind the Blue" podcast, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sat down with UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications intern Aaron Porter Jr. and discussed the importance of Lyman T. Johnson's historic action, the progress the school has made, and more room for improvement in the areas of belonging and diversity on UK's campus.

Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

Seventy years ago, Lyman T. Johnson forced open the doors of the University of Kentucky by becoming the first African-American student. He, along with countless others, opened a door and created a path for us to follow. It’s the idea that anyone -- regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, what they believe, how they identify themselves, or where they are from – can find a place at the University of Kentucky. Yet, our story demands that we acknowledge that progress on this path has not been a straight line. There have been moments where we have, as an institution, not honored our aspirations. Those moments provide a compelling reminder that building a community of belonging is a journey, not a project. This month, as part of Black History Month, we are chronicling the stories of the trailblazers, innovators and champions, who bravely stepped forward or are prodding us ahead today. Their stories speak to us and guide us still.

Feb 18, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2019) – 

A lifelong fan of the University of Kentucky, DeBraun Thomas moved to Lexington from the San Francisco area several years ago to attend UK.

At UK, he continued to explore his love for music and radio. But he also expanded his interest in student and community activism. After completing his studies, he took a position at UK’s WUKY public radio station, while playing in, and promoting, local bands and the Lexington music scene.

Fueled by a passion for history and making community change possible,  he also began exploring the contradictions and challenges associated with statues at Cheapside Park in the heart of downtown Lexington. The site was home of one of the country’s largest slave markets prior to the Civil War. After the war, statues were erected of Confederate-era leaders.

Over the years, the statues periodically sparked dialogue and debate. But it wasn’t until Thomas and others forced the conversation, that change happened.

The co-founder of the group Take Back Cheapside, Thomas helped lead a community conversation over 18 months that culminated in the removal of the statues in 2017. They are now housed at the Lexington Cemetery.

“Lexington has showed the nation a path to a respectful resolution of a difficult issue, and DeBraun Thomas helped us every step of the way. He calmly and persistently helped our city do the right thing,” former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told the Herald-Leader. “ DeBraun is the kind of leader our city needs.”

In this edition of Behind the Blue, Thomas discusses his time at UK and what he learned, the process that led to the removal of the statues, his passion for music and his continued interest in community activism and dialogue.

Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of “Behind the Blue, “ email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu (mail to: BehindTheBlue@uky.edu) or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

Feb 4, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 4, 2019) – If you walk across the University of Kentucky campus and ask someone if they know Emmett Burnam, that person may get a puzzled look on his or her face and say ‘no.’ However, if you ask someone if they know “Buzz” Burnam, you’re likely to get a quick nod and a smile, followed by ‘I sure do!’

In the fall of 1969, Emmett “Buzz” Burnam traveled the short distance to the UK campus from his native Winchester, in Clark County, to enroll in classes and compete for the Wildcats on the football field. Half a century later, he is a longtime fixture in the Office of Enrollment Management, as Director for Diversity Undergraduate Student Recruitment.

For this edition of the Behind the Blue podcast, UKPR’s Carl Nathe sat down with Burnam to talk about what UK was like when he arrived 50 years ago, what things have changed for the better, and what hopes he has for the future of the university he loves so much. 

Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of “Behind the Blue, “ email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu (mail to: BehindTheBlue@uky.edu) or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

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