Give 5: Podcasts to Diversify Your Playlist


give fiveRochester Mom is starting a brand new resource series called Give Five. The idea of Give Five is simple. We are inviting you to Give Five minutes to read through each of these posts. The series will provide you with ideas, resources, lists, and suggestions on specific topics. We acknowledge that giving five minutes is just the start…a small step in a bigger journey we can all take to become allies to our BIPOC friends, family, and neighbors.

This series is intended to be a resource for YOU and your families. Topics will vary but all will be helpful as we work towards anti-racism and expand and diversify our understanding of race and diversity. Some resources will be collaborative with Rochester Mom writers, and for others, we’ll look to YOU! We want to know what you have learned on your own journeys and what resources have helped you along the way. Our goal with this series is to be a conduit of information: pulling together resources to help one another. We are learning ourselves and it’s been a challenging yet beautiful process. Will you join us?

Here, we are introducing some podcasts, many of them hosted by people of color, and highlighting some specific episodes that focus on anti-racism. As a reminder, this is in no way a comprehensive list–just a starting point!

Code Switch (NPR)

Code Switch is a podcast hosted by journalists of color, Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby who “examine issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity through frank one-on-one discussions and incisive non-fiction” ( This podcast is posted weekly since 2016 and they were recently announced as one of Apple Podcasts Shows of the Year for 2020. 

Episodes to dip your toes into:

It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders (NPR)

A weekly podcast hosted by a very charming Sam Sanders who “interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention” ( Listeners also get a chance to call in and share good moments from their week. 

Episodes to dip your toes into:

Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)

This podcast is hosted by DeRay Mckesson who is a social activist and organizer. The first half of each episode starts with him and his colleagues sharing a current news article that didn’t get enough attention in the media. They pose great questions and calls for further action. Mckesson usually wraps up the second half with “deep conversations with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders” (Apple Podcasts).

Episodes to dip your toes into:

Undistracted (The Meteor)

This weekly podcast is hosted by Brittany Packnett Cunningham who I first heard as a contributor on Pod Save the People podcast and was so excited to hear she started her own show. Packnett Cunningham, “aims her focus on the most pressing issues of our time through the lens of intersectional feminism” (Apple Podcast).

Episodes to dip your toes into:

1619 (The New York Times)

This podcast is a 6 episode miniseries hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. The series starts with the year 1619 when “a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia” and proceeds to depict how our nation’s history of slavery has touched every aspect of our society, 400 years later (


This daily podcast is hosted by Jenn White and has “a name inspired by the First Amendment*, 1A explores important issues such as policy, politics, technology, and what connects us across the fissures that divide the country” ( Most episodes host a panel of experts to explain and dive deeper into these relevant topics.

Episodes to dip your toes into:

On Purpose with Jay Shetty (Jay Shetty)

This daily podcast listens in on the host Jay Shetty as he has “fascinating conversations with the most insightful people in the world”. His goal for this podcast is for “wisdom to go viral” (Apple Podcasts).

Episodes to dip your toes into:


Nice White Parents (New York Times)

*Honorable Mention (not by BIPOC but an important podcast for white parents to listen to).

A 5 episode mini-series focusing on the issues of our education system and systemic racism by taking an even closer look at a specific school in New York. “If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents” (Apple Podcasts). This podcast is produced by the same people who made Serial. They are excellent story tellers and keep you hooked while exposing the issues.


This is by no means a comprehensive list! Just a place to get started. What are you listening to?

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Erica was raised in Stillwater, MN and never thought she would leave the Twin Cities area. However, this extroverted librarian was on the hunt for a new challenge. At the end of 2018, she convinced her high school sweetheart, their two-year old son Milo, and their three cats to move to Rochester. She has been having a wonderful time exploring the area and later sharing her treasured finds with loved ones. In her spare time, Erica is constantly binging audiobooks and podcasts, wrangling her toddler, working on sassy embroidery and trying out new recipes (but dreads the clean-up). She has decided her new life’s goal is to convince friends and family, one by one, to move to the charming city of Rochester. Follow Erica on Instagram @ericarossmn