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The Culture Connect podcast, hosted by Daniel James II, highlights South Carolina’s minority communities with the aim to improve their quality of life, highlight opportunities, and provide resources.
From the Blue Ridge mountains to the foothills, the Piedmont to the Sandhills, the swamps of the Pee Dee to the coastal shores of the Lowcountry “The Culture Connect” brings forward the voices of the forgotten, stories of the unheard, and the realities of the often-marginalized residents of the Palmetto State.
We do not shy away from the issues that most affect them – issues related to education, housing, criminal justice, food insecurity, and more. We cut through the noise to get to the root of issues so that we can achieve real solutions to problems plaguing minority communities.
Yet, we are not only focused on their trials. We are also unapologetic about sharing their successes and highlighting those who make our communities sources of pride: small business owners, teachers, nurses, agricultural workers, elected officials, and those who were incarcerated. These are the individuals who embody our state motto: Dum Spiro Spero – for while they breathe, they hope!
A new season of The Culture Connect podcast with host Daniel James II is back with a new look and inspiring guests!
Episode 1, Part 1: The Culture Connect: Celebrating 30 Years at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs
Season 2 of The Culture Connect Podcast kicks off with Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta, Native American Affairs Program Manager Jerry Francis, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs Program Coordinator Christine Currie!
In part one of the two-part episode, host Daniel James II explores the Commission's 30th Anniversary theme, "Building Bridges and Closing Gaps," through the work of the agency's program managers and coordinators and takes a look at what's next for the State's official agency dedicated to the economic prosperity of all ethnic minority citizens of South Carolina.
Episode 1, Part 2: The Culture Connect: Celebrating 30 Years at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs
In part two of the first episode of The Culture Connect, host Daniel James II continues the discussion on the Commission's 30th Anniversary theme, "Building Bridges and Closing Gaps” with Hispanic Latino Affairs Program Manager Alex Tovar and African American Affairs Program Coordinator Ashley Owens.
Episode 2: TCC Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: Mrs. Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges
#HispanicHeritageMonth kicks off September 15th and in recognition of the month, Daniel James II sat down with Mrs. Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges for a new episode of The Culture Connect!
A Latina, a proud wife and mom, Tanya is the Executive Director and Founder of Latino Community Development Corp. – a non-profit meeting the needs of Hispanic and Latin populations in South Carolina. For the past decade, Hodges has offered translation and interpretation services, financial literacy, business development tools, and essential needs for families during times of personal, natural, and global crises. Her passion has been to see minority families build wealth, seize opportunities, and experience the fulness of their possibilities.
The Culture Connect podcast highlights South Carolina’s minority communities with the aim to improve their quality of life, highlight opportunities, and provide resources. Be sure to subscribe or follow us so that you can stay aware of new episodes. #thecultureconnectsc #BuildingBridges #closinggaps
Episode 3: A Celebration of Filipino Heritage: Mrs. Elen Callahan
Let’s celebrate Filipino Heritage in America this coming October! The Culture Connect meets Mrs. Elen Callahan, vice president of Filipino American Association of Greater Columbia (FAAGC), South Carolina. Serving the Midlands for over 30 years, FAAGC has been a source of support, community, culture, and hope for Filipinos coming to South Carolina.
Catch this episode with Callahan where she discusses with host, Daniel James II, Filipino dance, traditions, her mother Priscilla’s food, hardships, opportunities, and the enormous contributions of Filipino people to South Carolina’s history & culture!
Learn more about how you can celebrate #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth at www.faagc.com.
Episode 4: A Celebration of Native American Heritage: Chief Lamar Nelson
Appointed to serve in 2020, Chief Nelson succeeded Dr. William Goings, bringing over 40 years of archaeological experience and multigenerational indigenous heritage to the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina.
Tune in as Chief Nelson and Host Daniel James II discuss the Chief’s Native American ancestry, his grandparents, his career as a tribal archaeologist, his election to Chief, and the prospect of a Native American Research Museum coming to South Carolina.
Episode 5: Civil Rights Historian Dr. Bobby Donaldson on Preserving Our Stories
On the next episode of The Culture Connect Podcast, host Daniel James II talks to professor, civil rights historian, and African American scholar, Dr. Bobby Donaldson. Get ready for a discussion about Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters, and his work in highlighting South Carolina’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
To learn more about Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters, visit https://www.columbiasc63.com/.
Episode 6: A Celebration of Black History Month: Poet and USC Professor Nikky Finney
#BlackHistoryMonth will bring us a burst of creativity! Tune in as we talk with poet and USC professor, Nikky Finney, about her upbringing in the South, and her journey as director of the Ernest A. Finney, Jr. Cultural Arts Center, named after her father, the South Carolina Supreme Court’s first African-American justice.
Listen to the episode: YouTube / Spotify
Episode 1: Dr. Delores Dacosta, Executive Director of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (July 2022)
Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta is a native of Awendaw, SC. She has more than 35 years in public service which includes 20 years of experience in federal policies and regulations. Dacosta was Chief of Staff to former Congressman Henry Brown, Jr. and Regional Director to U.S. Senator Tim Scott. Dr. Dacosta discusses her journey from growing up in Awendaw to leading the state's official state agency briding the gap between ethnic minoritiy communities; the role the Commission plays in ensuring the future for minority youth; and what South Carolinians have to look forward to in the next year from the Commission.
Episode 2: Mr. Tim Waters, Owner of Sav-a-Lot in Florence, SC (August 2022)
Over a million South Carolinians live in food deserts, which are defined as places that lack access to fresh, healthy foods. Learn about Mr. Tim Waters' journey to build his store in a food desert in downtown Florence to give underserved families a place to shop for healthy food. For more information about Sav-a-Lot, visit https://savealot.com/grocery-stores/florence-29506-21326/.
Episode 3: Mrs. Evelyn Lugo, President and Founder of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (September 2022)
In this episode, we speak with Mrs. Evelyn Lugo, President and Founder of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Lugo came from Puerto Rico along with her husband, and decided that Greenville, South Carolina would be the perfect place to continue raising their two sons, college and high school students at that time. It was shortly after she started working for a local credit card processing company that she found many Hispanic business owners experiencing problems interacting and doing business with the rest of the business community. Looking for ways to help the business community, Mrs. Lugo found that there was no Hispanic Chamber in South Carolina and worked to create the first Hispanic chamber in the state. For more information about the SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, visit https://schcc.org/.
Episode 4: Dr. Louis Whitesides, Vice President and Executive Director of SC State 1890 Research & Extension (October 2022)
In this episode of The Culture Connect podcast, we speak with Dr. Louis Whitesides, Vice President and Executive Director of SC State 1890 Research & Extension. Dr. Whitesides discusses the impact of the 1890 Research & Extension program on the community, the program's new facility opening in Charleston and technological advancements in agriculture. For more information about the 1890 program, visit https://scsu.edu/research-outreach/1890-research-and-extension/.
Episode 5: Dr. Wenonah Haire, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director of the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project with the Catawba Nation (November 2022)
In this episode of The Culture Connect podcast, we speak with Dr. Wenonah Haire, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director of the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project with the Catawba Nation. Haire received the 2022 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation. For more information about the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, visit https://catawbaculture.org/.
Episode 6: Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr., President of Denmark Technical College (January 2023)
In our next episode of The Culture Connect podcast, we speak with Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr., President of Denmark Technical College. Dr. Todd discusses his career experience, his passion for young people, his legacy, and more with host Daniel James II. Dr. Todd serves as Denmark Technical College’s 9th president, having assumed the helm of the institution on January 13, 2020. Dr. Todd's extensive record in higher education includes Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wiley College (Marshall, Tx); Vice Provost and Associate Vice Provost at Norfolk State University (Norfolk, Va.); and adjunct instructor at Georgia State University at Perimeter College (Decatur, Ga.). During his tenure at Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.), he served as Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Leadership and Student Development, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, and faculty member. Dr. Todd was named the 2021 recipient of the “Shining Star Award” from the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and the 2022 CEO of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners. To learn more about Denmark Technical College, visit https://www.denmarktech.edu/.
Episode 7: Mr. Cecil Williams of the Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum (February 2023)
Before 12 years of age, Cecil Williams’ camera had captured the petitioners in Clarendon County as they lit the torch of freedom. In 10th grade, he photographed Thurgood Marshall coming to Charleston for the Briggs case, and again one year later, speaking at Claflin. In 1955, he became the youngest-ever JET Magazine photographer. In 1960, upon being thrown out of a New York press conference, he became JFK’s favorite lensman. In this episode of The Culture Connect, Daniel James II visits the Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum to talk to the founder and Civil Rights photographer about his life, his impact on the Civil Rights movement, the museum located in Orangeburg, SC, and more. To learn more about the museum, schedule a visit or take a virtual tour, visit https://www.cecilwilliams.com.
Episode 8: Benedict College President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis (March 2023)
In our next episode of The Culture Connect podcast, we speak with Benedict College President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis!
In recognition of #womenshistorymonth, we talked to the first woman to serve as president at Benedict College about the impact and importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, academic advancements on campus, preparing students to get and create jobs, and more.
Dr. Artis has received more than 300 awards and recognitions, including being named Female HBCU President of the Year by HBCU Digest (2018), being named to Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s "Top 35 Leading Women in Higher Education (2019), and being named "President of the Year" by Higher Ed Dive (2020).
Dr. Artis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from West Virginia State University. To learn more about Benedict College, visit https://www.benedict.edu/.
Episode 9: Mr. Lester Young, Founder of Path2Redemption (July 2023)
On our next episode of The Culture Connect, we talk to Path2Redemption founder Lester Young. Young discusses his "path to redemption" and holistic approaches to assisting formerly incarcerated individuals. For more information about Path 2 Redemption, visit https://path2redemption.org/.