Simone St. Pierre Nelson (all pronouns) is an 18-year-old writer and audio producer who is passionate about radio, education justice, and police and prison abolition. Simone produces and teaches with RadioActive Youth Media at KUOW Public Radio, hosts a podcast amplifying youth organizers for Student Voice, and was an intern and facilitator for the Seattle-based National Center for Restorative Justice. Simone lives with their family in Issaquah, Washington, and is headed to college in California in the fall. When Simone isn't teaching and making radio, you can find them playing dungeons and dragons or walking their dog.
BrownTown and Simone discuss the power of youth radio in this episode that includes three (3) full audio stories produced by and featuring teens incarcerated in Seattle. In April 2021, Simone, David, and Caullen worked with the teens to create the featured stories in a two-day workshop with KUOW Radioactive Youth Media. They discuss the importance of authentic narratives in media creation, intergenerational youth programming, and uplifting justice-involved youth while navigating inequitable social conditions and the institutions that reinforce them. Collectively, BrownTown and Simone unpack their personal proximity to these themes, the pitfalls of adultism, and zoom out to compare and contrast the obvious stark differences and invisible similarities between restorative justice and the carceral system; and commissary and capitalism.
As creators of media who work with younger people and were, of course, younger people ourselves, how do we make spaces not only accessible to youth of various ages but also create sustainable conditions where they can thrive and we can build together? From an abolitionist lens, how does this lend itself to making presence outside of normative, hierarchical structure that we may have been brought up in? Here's their take.
Audio stories from 'They can never lock your mind up.' Three stories from juvenile jail (in order of episode and article):
RadioActive Youth Media is where young people discover public radio journalism and gain access to the skills, community and institutional resources that spur their growth as media makers. Through their stories, listeners of all ages gain a deeper understanding of young people whose voices are rarely heard by the greater public (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
CREDITS: Intro song World in My Hands by Saba ft. Smino and Legit and outro song Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro and Kiera Battles. Episode photo by Megan Sobchuk.
Special thanks to KUOW RadioActive for letting BrownTown amplify the youth stories!