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The Podcasting Advocate

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Tune in, because Kimberly Mars ’23 is speaking out. Through her platform as a podcast host, she’s sharing her experience as a Black woman in America and working to amplify other diverse voices—all to create a more inclusive world.

“My main goal has always been to shed light on the injustices that Black people and people of color face constantly, while also working towards finding solutions,” says Pleasantville Political Science major Kimberly Mars ’23. Her podcast, The Root with Kim, focuses on her experience as a Black woman in America and serves as a platform to highlight and explore inequalities in the world around us.

“My podcast is open to people from all walks of life,” she says. “And I hope that after listening they will be more educated, have more of an open mind, and are more comfortable with having discussions about race and diversity within their communities.”

Kimberly got the idea for a podcast almost a year before she produced her first episode after realizing that the topics she talked about on her Snapchat really resonated with viewers. That realization combined with watching her favorite Black creators on YouTube develop a platform for themselves inspired her to get started. “Podcasting seemed like the natural next step and was as great way for more people to have access to my thoughts longer than 24 hours,” says Kimberly, referring to Snapchat’s ephemeral nature. 

“My favorite episode to record, so far, has been ‘Protecting Black Women.’ I recorded it back in June right after it was reported that Megan Thee Stallion had been shot. People, mainly men, on social media reacted to her injuries by making fun of her and it was heartbreaking to see,” Kimberly says. “I wanted to use my platform to show people that Black women are one of the most disrespected groups in the world and that we deserve just as much respect that everyone else gets, including men.” In the episode, Kimberly laid out several examples of how Black women, especially those in the entertainment industry, have been mocked by society while still being on the frontlines leading major movements.

Kimberly’s has had a passion for advocacy for as long as she can remember and attributes that passion in large part to her family, who taught her to treat others fairly and to use her voice to stand up for what’s right. During Summer 2020, as support for the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam across the nation, Kimberly attended her first protest and spent the rest of her summer raising awareness on her podcast about the many Black lives that have been lost due to police brutality, working to educate her community about white privilege, and how to stand in solidarity with people of color.

Here at Pace, Kimberly’s the secretary for Pleasantville’s Black Student Union where she’s worked with their Executive Board to organize rallies on campus, lead group discussions about race and diversity at Pace, and provide a safe space for BIPOC students to talk about their experiences. “Being in BSU has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made while being at Pace because it’s refreshing to be able to feel seen while attending a predominately white institution,” she says.

In September, while back on campus, Kimberly joined Pace students and student-athletes for their march against police brutality, walking from campus to the site where Pace student and football player Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr. was shot and killed by a Pleasantville police officer in 2010. It was an emotional and affirming experience for Kimberly.

“It was the first time I had been able to see such a large amount of the student body stand up and demand the need for change and really gave me hope that my generation will be the one to bring a real change in our country,” she recalls.

Advocacy is hard work and it takes time, effort, and a level of patience that can be difficult to have, especially after the national conversation has shifted away. Kimberly’s advice for people still doing the work: keep pushing.

“The work we’re doing is important and will be remembered long after we are gone, so if you are losing faith, take a moment to think about all of the people who are grateful that we are providing a voice for them,” she says. “Being an advocate can be stressful on your mental health, so don’t forget to take a step back and take time to make sure that you are okay.”

What’s next for Kimberly? She’s going to keep producing The Root with Kim and working towards a more inclusive and diverse University community at Pace. “I am hoping that by the time I graduate that I will be able to say that I saw a version of myself represented on the Pleasantville Campus in more ways than one and that incoming students of color will never have to go searching for that.”

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