Chapter 2

Not Okay

We explore how one Vermont high school is grappling with whether to fly the Black Lives Matter flag and whether to remove a mascot some say bears a disturbing resemblance to a hooded Klansman.

Illustration by Ryan Olbyrsh

Part I

Not Okay takes us inside Randolph Union High School in Vermont, where 95% of students are white. The high school is at the center of two linked battles that are tearing the community apart: whether to remove a mascot some say bears a disturbing resemblance to a hooded Ku Klux Klansman charging on a horse and whether to fly the Black Lives Matter flag. The community’s push to fly the Black Lives Matter flag came at a moment when the school’s principal expressed concerns about a surge in hate symbols, name calling and threats. A mother of two biracial students at Randolph Union describes the conditions that led her to fear for her children’s safety at school. Her son, Amir, says racially charged incidents and threats are so common he can hardly keep track. In this episode, students, parents and staff share their personal experiences illustrating Randolph Union’s struggle with racism and violence, and describe how they became change agents in their community.

Warning: The following account contains graphic descriptions that may trigger some listeners. Discretion is advised.

Released

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In part two of Not Okay, we return to Randolph, Vermont, as activists nationwide protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others by police and vigilantes. Randolph Union alumna Brittney Malik describes organizing the “We Demand Change” march through Randolph alongside fellow Randolph students and alumni. Another student, Zi Booska, reflects on a sinister warning from a fellow student’s parent, demanding he cease the student campaign to fly the Black Lives Matter flag and change the school’s Galloping Ghost mascot. The Galloping Ghost, depicted on a massive mural in the school’s gym, is a hooded figure on a white horse. Reminiscent of a KKK member, the mascot mirrors imagery featured in the racist, pro-Confederate film The Birth of a Nation. Amidst escalating tensions, Randolph’s principal, Elijah Hawkes, is conflicted: “I potentially have a fire here that can devolve into violence; do I really want to be throwing rocket fuel on it at this point in time?” What will happen when a battle erupts to remove the Galloping Ghost? Can educators protect students of color from ongoing racist threats?

Warning: The following account contains graphic descriptions that may trigger some listeners. Discretion is advised.

Coming

Upcoming Chapters

Chapter 3Baseless

Part 1

With exclusive secret audio recordings, this story goes inside a hate group. Their methods of recruiting and the ways they encourage violent, terroristic behavior are exposed. It’s also about one reporter who infiltrated their group and an international network prepping for the collapse of America.

Coming soon!


Part 2

Part two exposes the efforts by the hate group to develop paramilitary training drills and details how the FBI thwarted their violent plans. Using artificial intelligence we uncover patterns of paranoia and the methods of deception found in exclusive secret recordings.

Coming soon!