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Introducing Government Grilled Cheese Podcast and Blog Posts

Hello, welcome and thanks for tuning in. If you are listening to my voice right now, that means I finally took the leap of faith and launched Government Grilled Cheese Podcast. This introductory episode will be an opportunity for you to learn about me your host R. Deril, and why I created Government Grilled Cheese Podcast. So, without further a due let us get started.

My name is R. Deril. I am an urban sustainability planner and writer. I am proudly from Southeastern San Diego, where I grew up one of six kids in a community riddled with drugs and gang violence. During our childhood, my siblings and I faced challenges like spending time in the foster care system. When we were placed back in the care of our mother, we continued to faced challenges to accessing quality academics, economics, and health care. I was one of two siblings to graduate from a traditional high school, and by the time I was twenty-seven two of my siblings past away as very young adults. Throughout my education and experience in community organizing, I began to realize the challenging experiences my family was having were not isolated.

In California, only fifty percent of students who experience foster care graduate from high school (Fensterwald, 2017).Like the experiences my siblings and I had, many of them are not receiving the individual resources they need to succeed academically. Also, mental illness is an increasingly widespread issue with kids and adults committing suicide at a rate of 45,000 per year in the United States (The National Institute of Mental Health, 2018). In 2007, with no option for any mental health care resources, my brother was one of those 45,000. My youngest sister died receiving care for a non-life-threatening medical need, which reflects the statistics of Black patients dying in far greater numbers than their white counterparts, regardless of socioeconomic status, after receiving this care.  Many studies show Black people get less access to surgical interventions, diagnostic tests, medical services, and less optimal interventions than white folks (Geiger, 2002).

Seeing and experiencing these outcomes first hand has always motivated me to pursue a career that improves the outcomes of academics, economics, and health for underserved and underrepresented communities. Many systems that facilitate access to resources for academics, economics, and health are outdated and sometimes are operating within an infrastructure that was built to be inequitable and un-inclusive. This can only be changed when we intentionally build equitable and inclusive infrastructure that seeks the most optimal intersectional outcomes for the individual, the environment, and the economy.

As a first-generation college student, I attended California State University Dominguez Hill and earned my bachelors in Negotiation Conflict Resolution and Peace-building with a minor in Africana Studies. Through undergraduates, I acquired applicable knowledge of conflict management, stakeholder management, negotiation, resolution, and mediation techniques. Learning these techniques was centered around a policy development approaches that focused on including marginalized social groups like women, African Americans, and Native American demographics in the decision-making process. After undergrad, I attended Antioch University for graduate school and attained my M.A. in Urban Sustainability. In my master's program, I was able to explore how built infrastructure impacts outcomes for the individual and the urban environment. I also developed a foundational approach to analyzing and developing the urban landscape through ecosystems thinking, urban infrastructural designs, and the development of sustainable urban economies.

My education and experience has helped me understand one thing very clear and that is Individuals access the world around them through the infrastructure that is within the built and natural environments. How accessible and efficient the infrastructure is in the built environment, reflects the considerations, or lack of considerations for social and environmental justice. I created Government Grilled Cheese Podcast and Articlesto explore how infrastructure facilitated by local, state, and federal entities affect outcomes of social mobility, academics, economics, and health. My goal is to examine how different examples of built infrastructure play out in these areas for marginalized communities. This podcast will explore how individuals and organizations are holding government entities accountable for infrastructure and its outcomes. This podcast will also look at how some of these individuals and organizations are facilitating infrastructural design in order to improve these outcomes, while providing avenues for listeners to get involved. Government Grilled Cheese will do this through a 5-segment program.

1. Sankofa: Our Sankofa segment will give a historical example of a situation that reflects built infrastructure which affected the outcomes of social mobility, academics, economics, and/or health for a marginalized group.

2. The Table: The Table segment examines some of the stakeholders directly involved in or affected by the outcome of the infrastructure.

3. Here and Now: Connects historical examples to current examples of the same issue. It also aims to give examples of innovative ideas and development projects currently being designed to address the infrastructural needs on the issue.

4. Call to Action: These are interviews with community activists, organizations, and agency representatives to help understand the work that is happening and some of the ways Government Grilled Cheese PodCast listeners can get involved.

5. Continuing the Conversation: This segment, will tell you how to find Government Grilled Cheese on social media outlets, so that you can like, subscribe, and join the conversation. We encourage you to share what you learned and how our stories on Government Grilled Cheese impact you. Throughout the week we will respond to, and ask questions related to the most recent PodCast. PodCast episodes along with a written copy in the form of an article, will be available at

So, to you all nice to meet you and thanks for tuning in.

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