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  • Andy Valeri; Big Beef Productions

Looking To Higher Ground - The 'Julia' Episode

Higher ground, something we could all use finding a little more, especially amidst the turbulent floodwaters of some pretty profound historical changes these days. Though that needed ground very much entails the more personal, the more spiritual variety as well.

This episode offering of IAH is a program I’ve always thought to myself as the Julia episode, as it originated out of the experiences of participating in my dear departed friend Julia Reichert’s community memorial celebration the one held in her hometown of Yellow Springs last May.

Higher ground - I couldn’t help but feel that’s where Julia’s spirit was serving to help take everything and nearly everyone who attended and participated in those celebratory events at that time.  

The fact that this episode goes public now almost exactly a year ago to the day from that experience is another of those underlying synchronicities that seem to keep showing up in regards to this production endeavor. As like the previous edition in the series ('Rome Roam'), the program was produced and slated for release with no consideration as to its more immediate situational relevance. And certainly long before this ongoing devolution into authoritarianism hit the proverbial fan in this country, as is happening on college campuses right now across the nation.

I can’t help but think about what Julia would be doing now, if still here with us in this material world, as she was in earlier years and in better health. It was half a century ago the last time there was this kind of state violence being so egregiously inflicted upon unarmed students calling for - demanding - a better world to for everyone to grow up and into, one where mass murder and ruling power’s subservience to the merchants of death didn’t rule our collective roost (those ‘masters of war’ as Dylan called them).

At the time of the killing of students at Kent State and Jackson State, Julia and her compatriots took to the microphones of their local radio station WYSO and used our public airwaves as a space for connection and communication, a place for honest conversation and even organizing as to how our communities could and should respond to these authoritarian assaults against our American rights and freedoms.

It was a galvanizing period of awareness and inspiration to action, which I feel was instrumental to Julia’s lifelong use of media as a means towards not only better understanding the struggles of the disenfranchised among our societies, but how to help shape paths forward so that they, and we, could all reach some higher, more just, more equitable grounds.

I have zero doubt Julia is traversing that higher ground now among all of its awe and grandeur. May her fierce spirit for life, not just for the experiencing of her own but for all peoples and all beings, continue to inspire those of us still here to continue the work at hand.

(Julia on the air at WYSO FM, Antioch College, 1970-71)

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