Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on KUOW | Saturday, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on KUOW2

Humankind presents the riveting stories of everyday people who have found real purpose in life. Living by their principles they make a profound difference in the quality of life in their communities.

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  • Friday, January 31, 2014 9:00pm
    "Reducing the risk of bullying is wonderful but it goes hand in hand with something you want to increase, which is a sense of responsibility for other people, a commitment to kindness, to putting the needs of other people first and a sense that a community -- a shared identity -- is as important as anything achieved by individuals within the community. And the reason I say that is because outlawing bullying or eradicating it would be much more meaningful and would be much more successful if it came in the context of these more positive attributes or commitments that a school could make. So for me the question is, what could schools do to be kind communities?" -- Susan Engel, Director, Williams College teaching program "I absolutely believe that you can teach kindness. And one of the biggest motivators is to have a peer group where that's the norm. And I actually think most children are kind. There's always going to be a few kids that seem very hard to reach and have very dark ideas about relationships and other people. But that's not most children. Most children are very compassionate and eager to spend time with each other and happy kids with pro-social ideas. I think one of the things that would make the most difference in terms of teaching kindness is for those kids to stand up a little bit more for those values that they already have." -- Marlene Sandstrom, Professor of Psychology, Williams College Although being teased and picked on are typical challenges for kids growing up, the effects can be traumatizing when a child is relentlessly bullied. The most common targets of bullying are young people who are perceived as gay, or who are disabled or overweight. But any kid who is singled out for harassment may feel overwhelmed, sometimes resorting to self-destructive behaviour. Surveys show that most young people feel that schools do a poor job of intervention when bullying occurs. In this program we hear the story of a disabled middle school student who was taunted for her limp and for having been born in another country. And two educators from Williams College, Susan Engle who directs the Teaching Program, and Marlene Sandstrom, professor of psychology, explore how "teaching kindness" and altering the school environment to promote community, may be the best preventive measure for school bullying. Complete program length: 29 Minutes
  • Friday, January 24, 2014 9:00pm
    How does a person sort through the divided loyalties of love for a brother and the need to stop violence? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? What does it take for the victim of a violent crime to reach a point of forgiveness? Is the death penalty appropriate for grave offenses? "We've got to take back the ideal of justice, we've got to take back this principle of human dignity. We've got to take it back from vengeance, from hatred, we've got to say: look, we're all in this together. We are human beings." -- David Kaczynski In a remarkable contrast within one family, we meet social worker David Kaczynski, who in early 1996 had a "dark night of the soul" when he realized that his older brother Ted was the "Unabomber," a serial murderer. Supported by his wife, and later by his mother, David felt compelled to notify federal authorities, leading to his brother's arrest. The prosecutor later called him a "true American hero." Deeply thoughtful and idealistic, David today devotes most of his time working to eliminate capital punishment (his brother was spared the death penalty in a plea agreement). Complete program length: ~1 hour
  • Saturday, January 18, 2014 9:00pm
    "What is similar between the downturn today and the Great Depression is a sense of anxiety. We all know that the Great Depression came to an end, but the people who lived through it did not know that." -- Prof. William Leuchtenburg, Univ. of North Carolina, author of "In the Shadow of FDR" "I think people are already asking themselves, 'What is important in life? You know, what is truly important, and how much is enough? And where am I going to put my time and energy? I'm seeing a lot of people making decisions, life changes, and they didn't want to. They weren't asking to be laid off. But now that they are...people are really reprioritizing. They're really re-calibrating." -- Dr. Nancy Molitor, American Psychological Association "This country has had so much adversity in its past and we've always been able to rise above it as a population, as a people." -- An ordinary passenger recorded at an airport From deep recession to global warming, terrorism to pandemic illness, a remarkable confluence of challenges calls America to summon its inner strengths. But this is not the first time our nation has faced a heavy burden. Historically, how has America risen to the occasion of adversity and bounced back? An inspiring, thought-provoking program-- hear historians, archival audio from FDR to Obama, psychologists and stories of ordinary Americans. Among those featured: - Prof. William Leuchtenburg: author and historian of the FDR era featured in many Ken Burns films - Selma Johnson: lost her home and business in recent hard times, is now bouncing back - Stephen Flynn: Council on Foreign Relations fellow on strengthening communities for preparedness - Prof. Barbara Fredrickson: Univ. of North Carolina psychologist on the new science of human resilience - Nancy Molitor: Therapist who has counseled people under financial strain Complete program length: 1 Hour
  • Friday, January 17, 2014 9:00pm
    "When I write, I come up to a studio on a hill above my house. There's no phone in there. I don't look at my email. I just get something done for an hour or two. Then I go down to my office, where all my distractions live, and I deal with the full day's catastrophe of whatever it may be. And I think that that's a strategy that we need to be more intentional about. " ---- Daniel Goleman Author, "Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence" Daniel Goleman, former NY Times science correspondent, and author of "Emotional Intelligence," discusses the importance of having mental focus -- and how easily we can become distracted. Staying focused is essential not only for high performance in worldly activities. It is also a necessary condition of reflection, to gain depth of understanding. If we want to develop meaningful perspective on a subject we're studying, or a task at hand, or to understand ourselves, the ability to concentrate is indispensable, and that requires persistent focus. This program discusses the challenge of staying focused in our high-tech world, where an endless flow of new information can divert our attention. Brain functions that provide different levels of focus are covered. Also: we consider the benefits of focusing on positive emotions and personal virtues. Complete program length: 29 Minutes
  • Friday, January 10, 2014 9:00pm
    "Somebody must have sense enough to meet hate with love. Somebody must have sense enough to meet physical force with soul force. If we will but try this way, we will be able to change these conditions and yet at the same time win the hearts and souls of those who have kept these conditions alive -- a way as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth, as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. There is another way." --Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to archival sound from the civil rights movement, we hear interviews with King associates Dr. Vincent Harding, a King speechwriter and first director of the King Center in Atlanta; Dorothy Cotton, who served as Education Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Rev. John Cartwright, a theology classmate of King. The second segment provides reflections on Rev. King's inspiration for non-violent change, Mahatma Gandhi of India. Again, archival audio is blended with fascinating remarks by Gandhi's grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi, who as a troubled youth was tutored for an hour each day by his famous grandfather. He was interviewed at the University of Rochester, where Dr. Gandhi directs the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Arun Gandhi Vincent Harding Dorothy CottonMore information and teaching guides can be found at the sites Luther King, Jr., and the Power of from a Birmingham Jail curriculum materials Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr."Loving Your Enemies" (includes audio excerpts) Were You the Day Martin Luther King Died? Asked these questions, some DoD personnel who are old enough to remember responded similarly and as if the day is branded in memory... Complete program length: 1 Hour