UC Irvine students give Black voices a platform through podcast, web series

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two UC Irvine students are giving Black storytellers a platform to share their experiences through a podcast and web series.

UC Irvine seniors Tatum Larsen and Sydney Charles are the co-hosts of The Welcome Table web series and Black Fam 2.5 podcast.

"We wanted people to know that these people are human. They have problems and everyone is really going through the same things especially if you're a person of color. There's a specific set of problems that are unique to specific communities," Charles said.

The goal is to offer Black perspective.

"I definitely felt a little bit lonely being a black female on a campus like UCI, can be a bit isolating just because there's so little of us," Charles said.

According to the school's Office of Institutional Research, at UCI, only 3.4% of undergraduate students identify as Black or African American. That number is even lower across Orange County - 2%, according to the 2019 U.S. Census.

Inspired by their advisors, own experiences with discrimination and current events, the two literary journalism majors ran with their project.

"To explore why there was such a low percentage of Black students on the UCI campus and then following the events of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, we expanded our coverage from more school-related topics to more wide-reaching topics," Larsen said.

Among those are Black mental health, the Black Lives Matter movement, Black womanhood, disparities Black communities face during the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of Black representation in the media.

"By giving them a mouthpiece it gives them the space to actually tell the truth that might not be so digestible. It's just what it is. It's the truth and might actually bridge some understanding in the long run," Larsen said.

Black Fam 2.5 is on its second season. You can catch the entire podcast here or The Welcome Table here.
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