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Need to Know

Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. & Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

It started as an effort to unify African American writers throughout the Rochester region. Now, one writer calls it “a movement,” that enables authors of color to connect with the community and encourage young people to turn their thoughts and imaginations into stories. The efforts of the upcoming Rochester Black Author Expo, now in its 4th year, begs the question: how can teaching about black writers impact young people? On this edition of Need to Know we’ll also learn how African American literature is influencing generations of all ages?

In a city dealing with severe poverty, crime and a challenged education system, some young people in Rochester might think a life beyond all of that is hopeless. However, a new film project premiering on May 10th is showcasing the resilience and tenacity of a city and its residents. As we’ll learn on this edition of Need to Know, it’s all in the hopes of helping at-risk youth create hope beyond what they may see.

Rochester is a city with its share of challenges. However, a new film project is highlighting Rochester’s resilience...for good reason. On this edition of Need to Know, the work to renew hope in the lives of some city residents who need it most.

Also on the show, what started as a book expo has launched into a movement. What’s being done to encourage literacy, writing and a deeper study of African American literature in Rochester classrooms.

Why does there seem to be so much hype around passion projects and side hustles nowadays? A new series on Need to Know explores that question. We’re introducing viewers to people from the Rochester region with careers they love, but also side hustles or unique passion projects that they say, in the midst of the daily grind, brings balance into their lives.

When was the last time you looked beyond a yard sign to really get to know the candidates running for a judicial seat in your town, city or county? These happen to be the types of races that, at times, fly under the radar. But, they shouldn’t and the guests on this edition of Need to Know help explain why. Host and producer, Hélène Biandudi Hofer, is joined by the GOP judicial candidates in this year’s Monroe County Family Court race.

It’s an election some admit they don’t generally watch too closely, but the candidates running for election want people to pay attention. On this edition of Need to Know, why this November race should be on your radar.

Also on the show, we’re kicking off a new series highlighting the unique, sometimes mysterious, and other times quirky “double lives” of people in our community.

It was renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead who said: “The young, free to act on their initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown.” How does that happen? Some might say it begins with young people sharing their perspectives on the issues splashed across news headlines. Over at WAYO Radio’s Fresh Perspectives program, the teens driving that show say it also involves celebrating and highlighting their peers while starting a dialogue that impacts their community. We learn all about their work on this edition of Need to Know.

It’s been called a “gavel gap.” That term refers to a lack of diversity in American courtrooms. In so many words it means a number of American judges do not represent the people they serve whether by race, ethnic background or gender. That stands true for Monroe County as well, in particular when it comes to the focus of this edition of Need to Know: Family Court. The Monroe County Democratic Committee and a group within the organization is working to change that and it could happen this fall.

Two candidates in the race for Family Court judge will make history if elected this fall. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll discuss the gap they’re working to fill and why they say it matters.

Also on the show, we’ll learn how a radio program is promoting conversations among young people about the issues that concern them.

A new film follows the journey of three women in the Rochester area. They’re all mothers and they’ve all served time behind bars for opioid and heroin-related crimes. Opioids from Inside is a partnership between WXXI, Blue Sky Project and PBS World. It examines the challenging path to sobriety while also showing the painful effects of addiction on families and communities. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn more about the ripple effect of this crisis through the perspectives of those featured in the film.

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