To commemorate Working People’s 200th episode, we have a special installment of our series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) recorded in the summer of 2021 as part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine for “The Wisconsin Idea.” In this episode, Alvarez talks with longtime artist, activist, and registered nurse Susan Simensky Bietila in Milwaukee. Hearkening back to the episodes we published in the first season of Working People, this is an extended conversation that traces the incredible, winding path that Simensky Bietila has taken in life, from growing up in the projects in New York to drawing and collaging for The Guardian, the radical US newsweekly, during the height of the Vietnam War, to protesting at the Wisconsin State Capitol in 2011 during the Wisconsin Uprising.

Additional links/info below…

Permanent links below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org):

  • Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez, Hannah Faris, Alice Herman, Cameron Granadino, Eleni Schirmer (research consultant), John Fleissner (research consultant), John Yaggi (research consultant), Harvey J. Kaye (research consultant), Jon Shelton (research consultant), Adam Mertz (research consultant)
Studio: Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank, Kayla Rivara, Jules Taylor

The Wisconsin Idea is an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and In These Times.


Transcript

The transcript of this interview will be made available as soon as possible.

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv