The Empowerment Zone

Dr Ramona Houston is focussing on all aspects of strengthening African American and Latinx communities.

In this show we zone in on Black and Brown empowerment: building economic, political, educational and social power; advocating for health, philanthropy and service; championing racial and social justice; critically analyzing current events and issues from our perspectives. We also spotlight and celebrate our history, (s)heroes, culture, institutions, organizations and events by creating synergies between our communities. We believe that by working together, we will increase our capacity and effectiveness in ushering in a better nation and world.

If you are interested in advancing the empowerment of the African American and Latinx communities, please subscribe on your favourite podcast app and join us twice weekly as Dr. Ramona Houston and her guests get into the zone to explore Black and Brown relations and our journey to empowering our communities.

Where to listen

All available episodes

Virginia Diaz-Laughlin

Women in Film-Making

For more than 30 years, Virginia Diaz-Laughlin has broken barriers in the film and video industry in production management. She has worked on commercials, feature films, television movies and syndicated shows. Feature film credits include “Rushmore,” “Apollo 13,” and my personal favorite “Selena.” Her most recent accomplishment is “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage […]

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Stephanie Lang

Is the history of your family and community valuable?

Join Ramona as she talks to Stephanie Lang about the importance and power of African Americans and people of color collecting, preserving and presenting the histories and stories of their families and communities. According to Stephanie, African Americans and other marginalized communities must be agents in making sure that their voices are heard and included […]

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Dr. Herman Turner

How do doctors address health disparities in the African American Community?

In this episode Ramona talks to Dr. Herman Turner about health disparities and his work with indigent populations. During their discussion Dr. Turner also explores his educational and professional experiences as an African American man in the STEM field. Listen to learn about the challenges as well as rewards of working with people who have […]

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Paula McClain

Are corporations serious about advancing diversity, equity and inclusion?

As a result of the “awakening” on racial injustice and disparities sparked by last year’s murder of George Floyd, companies and organizations are evaluating themselves internally to assess their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Many have announced their monetary and organizational commitments, but are they just illusions? What should be considered to ensure that […]

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Dr. Eddie Bonilla

Have communities of color worked together to advance social change?

Join Ramona today as she discusses activism among communities of color with Dr. Eddie Bonilla. In this episode Dr. Bonilla explores the far reaching influence of activists from a multiracial organization known as the League of Revolutionary Struggle, which existed from 1978-1990. The organization was led primarily by Asian American women but was attuned to […]

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Ramona Houston

How do you start a podcast?

I started my podcast with limited knowledge and technology. All I possessed was the idea. A friend and podcaster encouraged me, “Just jump in! You will figure it out as you go.” That is just what I did. Listen to this episode today as I talk about my journey to starting a podcast and how […]

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Family Matters

Join Ramona as she engages in an interesting conversation with her sisters Rhonda and Rhesa about their upbringing, relationship and philosophy on family. They attribute their loving, supportive and affirming relationship to great parenting and learning to respect one another. Enjoy childhood stories and more serious subjects on how these sisters work through their challenges […]

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Houston Sisters

Are History PhDs only valuable in the classroom?

There are so many careers that individuals with a Ph.D. in history can pursue. Historians possess a myriad of valuable skills and abilities needed in every sector of society. Listen to this episode where Ramona reads her compelling essay “Casting a Wider Net: History PhDs Change Your Perspective!” published in “Perspective on History, The Newsmagazine […]

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Shajmil Smith

Is being resilient a strength or a weakness?

Join Ramona as she talks to Shajmil Smith about Black Women and resilience. According to Shajmil, resilience is more than just pushing through. Shajmil argues that women must rethink resilience to ensure that it strategically and personally serves their interests. Shajmil also discusses her upcoming conference Rethinking Resilience to be held on May 22, 2021. […]

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Danylle Givens

Can dance be performative and transformative?

The performing arts, dance and healing go hand in hand in the experience of Abundance Dance Company. Abundance comes to create a space of healing for the dancer and audience through emotionally transparent, authentic, and innovative dance experiences. Listen to this episode as Ramona and Danyelle explore how dance serves as an invaluable tool for […]

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Atty. Francisca Fajana

Latino Justice, transforming society through litigation

Latino Justice, formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, uses litigation, advocacy and education to transform the American society. Their work primarily focuses on four issues: voting rights, criminal justice, economic justice, and immigrant rights. Join this impactful conversation today as Ramona talks to Atty. Francisca Fajana, who discusses her work in the […]

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Melvin Houston

Do you need a little motivation to help you reach your health goals?

At 81 years old, Melvin Louis Houston is a living testimony of health and wellness. A devoted educator, he passionately continues his 51-year coaching career. Listen to Ramona’s conversation with her Uncle Lou as they discuss his philosophy of creating a healthy lifestyle. Interestingly, during his interview you will also learn some Texas history. Uncle […]

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Rev. Tyrone McGowan

Does faith have a role in addressing social issues?

Racial and social justice are in the forefront in American society. Notably, millennials are leading the way in addressing many social challenges through the power of faith. Listen to Ramona’s interview with Rev. Tyrone McGowan today to learn how faith can be used as an act of resistance in the fight against two pandemics: COVID-19 […]

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Dr. Robin Chapdelaine

The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria

In this episode Ramona talks to Dr. Robin Chapdelaine about her recently published book The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria (Jan 2021). During this enlightening conversation, Dr. Chapdelaine discusses the historical intersection of economics, trade and labor to explain how and why children have been used for economic purposes. […]

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Michael Neal

How COVID-19 has impacted community colleges

Community colleges play an important role in educating unique populations in our society: first-generation, non-traditional, African American, Latino American, and working-class students. Due to COVID-19, enrollment at community colleges has significantly decreased for a variety of reasons. Listen to this interview with Ramona and Michael today to learn more about the value of community colleges […]

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Blanca Vargas

How can you become an impactful activist in your community?

Helping others is what community activism is all about. Blanca Vargas exemplifies this standard. A passionate leader in the metro-Chicago area and a long-serving member of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), Blanca has served in various leadership capacities throughout her life. Join Ramona and Blanca today as they discuss Blanca’s philosophy on community […]

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Robert Jackson

Lessons and inspiration from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

With the rise of hate and violence and the surge of voter suppression laws across America, our country needs individuals, organizations and leaders who will join the movement against hatred and divisiveness. Listen to this powerful discussion today as Ramona and Robert discuss the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963). […]

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Dr. Carolyne A. Opinde

How can nonprofits be more impactful?

Nonprofits focus on solving social challenges; however, many lack direction on how to achieve their goals. Through The NGO Whsiperer Dr. Carolyne Opinde has created a sustainability model for nonprofits: “Connecting People, Raising Funds and Impacting Lives.” Join Ramona and Dr. Opinde today as Dr. Opinde explains how she helps nonprofits to tap into human […]

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Victoria Archable

What is the difference between Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care?

There are distinct differences among the various types of care facilities for seniors. Many times families are not prepared to make important decisions about their loved ones. Join Ramona today as her guest Victoria Archable explains what makes senior care facilities different from each other. Understanding their offerings and services can help you to make […]

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Tracey Greene-Washington

Choosing Purposeful Alignment

Today Ramona talks to Tracey Greene-Washington about her new book Choosing Purposeful Alignment: The Messy Middle of Transformation. According to Tracey, during the transformation process of aligning with one’s life’s mission, many experience the “messy middle” of change. Listen to this insightful conversation as Ramona and Tracey discuss her new book, which seeks to inspire […]

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Dr. Garrick White

How can communities advance positive youth development?

Many people believe that today’s youth have no direction nor purpose. Dr. Garrick White explains that this challenge exists because of the absence of adults in the lives of young people. Join Ramona and Dr. White today as they explore the significance and value of adults being present with and investing in young people. Learn […]

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Gabriel Vaca

Latino Leadership and Business Success

Developing Latino leadership, growing Latino businesses, and promoting diversity have always been central to the work of Gabriel Vaca. His career has spanned entrepreneurship, a 24-year history in corporate America (UPS International), and leading the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Join Ramona today as Gabriel discusses his passion and work in developing Latino leadership and […]

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Raquel Ark

Grow your listening superpowers

Learning how to listen is a skill that can enhance your personal and professional life. In fact, listening is an essential skill, especially for leaders. Join Ramona today as Raquel Ark teaches us how to develop our listening superpowers. Raquel is a communication expert, coach, facilitator and podcast host of “Listen in with Raquel Ark.” […]

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Kenneth and AC Fields

How can entrepreneurs do business better?

Are you a business owner seeking ways to improve your outcomes? Technology is one of the solutions you can use to enhance opportunities and increase revenue. That is what IT-Henhouse is all about. Join Ramona as Kenneth and AC Fields explain how they help businesses by developing technology that improves performance. Partners in life and […]

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Dr. Patricia Parker

Ella Baker’s Catalytic Leadership

Ella Baker is one of America’s most impactful civil rights leaders. That is why you should join Ramona today as she talks to Dr. Patricia Parker about her new book Ella Baker’s Catalytic Leadership: A Primer on Community Engagement and Communication for Social Justice. As America enters another phase of social change, we can learn […]

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Dr. Karen Kossie-Chernyshev

And Still We Rise!: Black Women Scholars, A Conversation, March 31, 2021

And Still We Rise!: Black Women Scholars in the Ebony Tower Since 1965, is a conversation highlighting the educational journeys and professional contributions of Black women scholars at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). Join Ramona and Dr. Karen Kossie-Chernyshev as they discuss the upcoming summit, which will be held March 31, 2021, at noon […]

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Martina Jimenez

How do you become financially prosperous?

Martina Jimenez has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Early in her career she discovered the prevalence of minority wealth disparity and financial illiteracy. This epiphany led Martina to devote her carer to creating wealth for all and eliminating ignorance about money and wealth. Join Ramona for this insightful conversation as […]

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Adán Medrano

“Truly Texas Mexican”

Documentaries are a great way to document history and tell stories. Chef, author and film producer, Adán Medrano is doing just that through his new movie “Truly Texas Mexican.” The road movie weaves through Texas cities, naming the racism that erased Native American history and celebrating the food that kept alive the community’s living memory […]

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Dr. Carolyne A. Opinde

Women’s Empowerment Roundtable Summit, March 19, 2021

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, the International Women’s Think Tank (IWTT), the United Nations Association of USA, Atlanta Chapter (UNA-Atlanta), and the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Greater Atlanta) are hosting their virtual Women’s Empowerment Roundtable Summit: Achieving Global Goals, Best Practices and Lessons Learned this month. Join Ramona […]

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Dr. Chris Chappell

How do educators create impactful leaders?

The best educators are the ones who know how to tap into and bring out the immense potential of their students. Following in the footsteps of his professors and mentors, Dr. Chris Chappell is dedicated to building leaders through his work as an educator. Join Ramona today as she and Dr. Chappell discuss his methodology […]

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Janneh K. Wright

The Black Business Success Model

Janneh K. Wright is on a mission to build successful and profitable businesses in the African American community. He believes that businesses should be at the center of any economic development plan. Listen today as Ramona and Janneh dissect the challenges facing black businesses and suggest strategies for overcoming them in order to build thriving […]

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Cristina Morales

How do you build a healthy marriage?

All of us want to have a healthy relationship with our significant others, but conflict often makes that difficult. Christina “Tina” Morales is on a mission to help couples turn conflict into a means to connect. Listen today as Tina and Ramona talk about ways couples can work through conflict in order to build and […]

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Bryon Jennings

Part II – Does Dave Ramsey’s financial plan really work?

A champion of financial empowerment and wealth-building, Bryon Jennings has become a regular guest on this podcast. In Part II of his discussion on Dave Ramsey’s financial plan, Bryon challenges some of Ramsey’s ideas and suggests alternatives for building intergenerational wealth. Although he is not a financial planner, Bryon presents some unique ideas that he […]

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Lydia Camarillo

How Congressman John Lewis ushered in Latino political empowerment

This month we celebrate not only Black History Month but the birthday of one of America’s treasures, Congressman John Lewis. Join Ramona in this fascinating interview with Lydia Camarillo, who discusses the little known legacy of John Lewis—his role in building the political power of the Latino/a community. As Lydia explains, “Congressman John Lewis taught […]

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Richard J. Martinez

How can leaders operate as healers and uniters?

Current leadership in the United States has the dual challenge of unifying the communities they serve and ending systemic racism within their spheres of influence—no small feat. Today Ramona talks with leadership development trainer Richard Martinez, who explains the importance of communication and messaging in leading social transformation. Listen and learn from Richard how to […]

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Pierre Campbell

Topic: Do You Know Your Value?

Leadership coach Pierre Campbell is on a mission to bring out the best in others. Join Ramona today as Pierre inspires us to believe in ourselves and our abilities. In this energetic discussion, Pierre provides his “Simple Intelligence” strategies on how to build our confidence and recognize our value in order to achieve our fullest […]

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Alexis Scott

Celebrating the history of the Atlanta Daily World

Founded in 1928 by W.A. Scott, the Atlanta Daily World became the first successful African American-owned daily newspaper in the United States. Join Ramona in this inspiring discussion as Scott’s granddaughter Alexis Scott discusses the rich history of the newspaper and its impact on African Americans, Atlanta and the country. Alexis became the paper’s publisher […]

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The Power of Being Different

Dyscalculia is an unknown math learning disability. Many students refer to their struggles in mathematics as “needing a tutor,” “not applying oneself,” or “not being efficient in math.” Due to unawareness, students struggle and are forced to make life decisions that alter their futures. In today’s discussion Ramona talks to Dr. Stacy Roberson about dyscalculia. […]

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Dr. Richard Reddick

The Wages of Blackness

When handling issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, mentorship, and community engagement, frequently black professionals assume many of these responsibilities; however, they are rarely compensated for their contributions. Join this enlightening conversation as Ramona’s guest Dr. Richard Reddick discusses “cultural taxation.” Dr. Reddick is the inaugural associate dean for equity, community engagement, and outreach for […]

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Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez

Embracing the Full Latino Experience

Latinos of African heritage encounter many challenges with identity when living in the United States. Many are confronted with choosing between being African/African American or Latino/a. The truth is that Afro-Latinos identify with both identities. Why should they choose? In this insightful discussion, Ramona talks to Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez about Afro-Latinidad and Dr. Reid-Vazquez’s research […]

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