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Shadow Politics

Shadow Politics is a grass roots talk show giving a voice to the voiceless. For more than 200 years the people of the Nation's Capital have ironically been excluded from the national political conversation. With no voting member of either house of Congress, Washingtonians have lacked the representation they need to be equal and to have their voices heard. Shadow Politics will provide a platform for them, as well as the millions of others nationwide who feel politically disenfranchised and disconnected, to be included in a national dialog.

We need to start a new conversation in America, one that is more inclusive and diverse and one that will lead our great nation forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century. At Shadow Politics, we hope to get this conversation started by bringing Americans together to talk about issues important to them. We look forward to having you be part of the discussion so call in and join the conversation. America is calling and we're listening… Shadow Politics is about America hearing what you have to say. It's your chance to talk to an elected official who has spent more than 30 years in Washington politics. We believe that if we start a dialog and others add their voices we will create a chorus. Even if those other politicians in Washington don't hear you — Senator Brown will. He's on a mission to listen to what America has to say and use it to start a productive dialog to make our democracy stronger and more inclusive. If we are all part of the solution we can solve any problem.

Weekly Show
BBS Station 1
6:00 pm CT
6:55 pm CT
2 Following
Broadcasting Date

Guest, Phil Portlock

Guest Name
Phil Portlock
Guest Occupation
Photographer, Film Maker & Social Justice Activist
Guest Biography

Phil Portlock retired from Metro, where for 29 years he was a photographer chronicling such things as the construction of the transit system.

Phil hadn’t had his first camera very long when he went to the  Washington National Cathedral to see the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver a sermon titled “Remaining Awake During a Great Revolution” on March 31, 1968.

After King's assassination, Phil saw parts of his hometown aflame and walked through DC taking pictures. And then got into his car and drove to the National Arboretum. Seeking peace — and seeding it — became part of Phil’s life.

He became active with the Poor People’s Campaign and a student of the civil rights movement and the legislation that resulted from it: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Voting is the way citizens — Black and White, young and old, native-born and immigrant — make their voices heard.

In 2013 the Supreme Court considered the case of Shelby County v. Holder, which sought to strike down parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. For 29 days, Phil and his wife, Pat Sloan, held a vigil outside the court, urging the justices to leave the protections in place. On June 25, 2013, the court declared that Sections 4(b) and 5 of the act were unconstitutional, relaxing federal oversight of jurisdictions with a history of voter suppression. It would be harder to vote, but even more important, Phil and Pat decided.

Phil Portlock and his wife Pat Sloan put together a documentary on how Black Americans gained the vote after the Civil War, saw it threatened by Jim Crow laws and violent voter intimidation and protected by the 1965 act, only to see it threatened anew.

Phil delivered “Voting Rights: The Struggle to Be Counted” in libraries, churches and on campuses. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, he started offering his voter education seminar online. Phil and Pat spent every Sunday evening since early August 2020 remotely offering a whirlwind history of African American voting rights in the United States — and the recent threats to it.