Almost thirty years ago, President Bill Clinton formally declared the “President's Initiative on Race” with the goal of jumpstarting a national discussion about race. Arguably, there ended up being more conversation about the initiative than the actual discussions he’d hoped it would inspire.

In 2016, former Boston mayor Marty Walsh ushered in a similar citywide race conversation.

Last month, GBH announced a multifaceted program to spark a new public conversation about the nation’s race history and, specifically, the idea of reparations. GBH President and CEO Susan Goldberg joins Under the Radar to discuss the importance of the new “Reckoning and Repair” initiative.

“Somewhere between 70% and 80% of Black Americans whose families have been here since before 1900, you know, have a history that ties back to being enslaved,” Goldberg said. “And so this is a very personal conversation for many Americans. And yet it's also a conversation that a lot of people feel really afraid to discuss.”

She added that GBH can help bridge that gap by hosting thoughtful, in-person conversations, as well as by through podcasts like What Is Owed, documentary films, radio and website stories.

“I think our role is to help people in a really politicized, very fractured time have reasoned, thoughtful, intelligent conversations about tough issues, whether it's reparations or politics or climate change or any of the myriad issues that we face as a country,” she said.


Susan Goldberg, president and CEO of GBH