Stand Up Speak Up
Episode 60: Letters on Sex Trafficking.

Episode 60: Letters on Sex Trafficking.

April 20, 2020

Human trafficking is a hard conversation to have, as most of us would like to think we have nothing in common with people who sell other people or those that exploit humans in any way. But, the reality is that this is a thriving business throughout the world, in every country, state and many communities that otherwise seem safe and quiet. In this episode, we try to get into the minds of the players in the sex trade - from the pimps that find and exploit people, to johns that buy sex, to people involved and forced into the trade. 

 

Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy

Co-Host : Matt Cundill

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producers: Danielle Gallagher, Jessica de Bruyn

Editors: Cesar Del Castillo & Matt Cundill

Episode 59:  How does he do it? David Bernstein: Homeless youth to Harvard University.

Episode 59: How does he do it? David Bernstein: Homeless youth to Harvard University.

November 27, 2018

Dr. David Bernstein is a well respected, highly educated professional who has held appointments at Yale University School of Medicine, where he completed his doctoral internship, and Harvard University Medical School, where he completed his postdoctoral residency in Forensic Psychology in the Department of Law and Psychiatry.  Anyone who has come into contact with him can be forgiven for thinking that this highly intelligent professional probably grew up in a life of privilege which enabled him to go to the best schools. 

But the reality is this strong advocate for working to correct the Foster Care System is himself a product of it.  David’s life started as an abandoned child, discovered on a New York City park bench in his infancy.  He became a Ward of the State, going from foster home to foster home, often running away from the abusive situations where he actually felt safer living on the streets or in abandoned buildings.

The Foster Care System is often been referred to as a vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.  It’s known to be difficult to leave the world of poverty, teen pregnancy, sex abuse and crime behind.  Those who manage to escape its harsh grip rarely look back.  But David Bernstein did.  He has confronted his past and is trying to make a better future for those who currently follow in his foster care footsteps.

He consults with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  He’s an expert in threat assessment and violence, able to tap into the instincts he honed as a child growing up homeless.

Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn

Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder

Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder

Music: What You’re Mad Of by Kayla Diamond http://www.slaightmusic.com/music-we-dig#!kayla-diamond

Episode 58:  Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 2

Episode 58: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 2

October 23, 2018

This is the second part of a two part series featuring the charismatic founder of The Club Kids, Michael Alig.  The Club Kids were a group of young, flamboyant New York City underground dance club personalities in the late 1980s and early 1990s, who were also heavily involved in the drug culture.

Alig spent 17 years behind bars for his part in a brutal drug induced murder in 1996 when he and roommate Robert "Freeze" Riggs murdered a third roommate, drug dealer Andre "Angel" Melendez, using a hammer.  They poured drain cleaner down his throat and kept the lifeless body of their roommate in their apartment for days before finally getting butcher knives to dismember him, disposing of the body in separate locations in the river. That murder and the partying lifestyle that led up to it was the subject of the movie, Party Monster, starring Macauley Culkin as Alig. 

In this second part Alig recounts his relationship with his mother, discusses what kind of person he would like to be in a relationship with, talks drug use, and also his creative plans for the future.

Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn

Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder

Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder

Episode 57:  Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 1

Episode 57: Michael Alig: From Club Kids to Convict & Back – Part 1

October 23, 2018

Michael Alig is a complex character.  He’s the charismatic founder of the Club Kids, a group of young, flamboyant New York City underground dance club personalities in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They wore outrageous costumes and were on the scene to be seen, setting an artistic standard for the fashion-conscious youth culture.   But they were also part of the drug culture, with many of the Club Kids becoming addicted.

The party-hardy heavy drug use caused a spiral in Alig’s life.  In 1996, he and roommate Robert "Freeze" Riggs killed a third roommate, drug dealer Andre "Angel" Melendez during an argument over drugs.  Alig and Riggs brutally murdered Melendez with a hammer.  They poured drain cleaner down his throat and kept the lifeless body of their roommate in their apartment for days before finally getting butcher knives to dismember him, disposing of the body in separate locations in the river.  But they were eventually caught, partly due to Alig’s bragging about it openly.  He spent 17 years behind bars.

Now a free man and back in New York, we catch up with Alig as he tries to rebuild his life.  In this first part of a two show series, Michael discusses the notoriety he’s achieved, both as the founder of the Club Kids and also his incarceration for murder, plus he delves into his life behind bars and his attempts to creatively turn his life around.

Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn

Production Editor & Sound: Peter Anthony Holder

Narrator: Peter Anthony Holder

Music: Evil I Know by Ascot Royals http://www.slaightmusic.com/music-we-dig#!ascot-royals

Episode 56:  Devin Price: Recovery – Relapse - Recovery

Episode 56: Devin Price: Recovery – Relapse - Recovery

September 28, 2018

We first met Devin Price in Episodes 45 and 46 of the Stand Up Speak Up Podcast, when he took us through his road to addiction, becoming a drug dealer and pimp and his eventual arrest. After serving three years in prison, he had returned to his hometown to start over and we ended on an optimistic note with Devin getting a new job and restarting a relationship with his mother, Linda, who had also started her own recovery. 

In this follow-up episode, we speak with Devin after a relapse that put him back into rehab. He tells us how one bad decision lead to slipping back into the world of partying and drugs that he and Linda had both tried to leave behind. As Devin decided to check himself back into rehab, he began keeping an audio diary of his final days before entering treatment and the aftermath once he was released.

Devin’s struggle is not over. He speaks to our host, Karla Stephens-Tolstoy, about trying to connect with his children, who have been put into the foster care system and are eligible for adoption. He also speaks to us about Linda’s relapse and how addiction continues to affect all of the members of his family.

Host: Karla Stephens Tolstoy 

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producer: Jessica de Bruyn

Production Editor & Sound: Cesar Del Castillo

Narrator: Matt Cundill 

End Music: "The Best Is Yet to Come" by Ascot Royals (https://www.ascotroyals.com)
 
We want to thank Ascot Royals for the donation of this song, which speaks about overcoming adversity like that Devin has faced. Find their latest single, "Evil I Know" on iTunes, Spotify and places where music is sold.
Episode 55:  Bursting the Bubble on Police Corruption.

Episode 55: Bursting the Bubble on Police Corruption.

August 30, 2018

Kelly Donovan is a whistleblower. Her story begins working for a major bank, marrying a police officer, then deciding to become a police officer. 

After only a few years, Kelly began to learn about internal inconsistencies, and unethical and unlawful decisions being made without any guiding policy or legislation.  In 2016, she addressed the issues with the Board, the oversight body of the police service, and as a result faced reprisal and was further silenced. She researched the prevalence of the issues and just how often police whistleblowers are silenced, while police leaders avoid any accountability.

After involving all legislated oversight bodies to no avail, Kelly resigned in June, 2017.  Upon her resignation, she released her Report of Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppression of Whistleblowers; sendin the report to all MPPs and MPs in Ontario and the media. Kelly has since published the report on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.

The she started her own business, Fit4Duty™ to educate employers, policy and lawmakers about the risks of having purely perfunctory vision and mission statements.  Too many Canadians work in a toxic environment due primarily to poor oversight and autonomous decisions made by inadequate management.

In this episode - you’ll hear what drove Kelly to start the business and what needs to be done to end the corruption.

Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy

Producer: Stand Up Speak Up Apparel

Co-Producer: Evan Surminski

Editor &Narrator:  Matt Cundill

Episode 54:  Trust Me When I Say There Is No (Hero) In Heroin Part 2

Episode 54: Trust Me When I Say There Is No (Hero) In Heroin Part 2

August 22, 2018

In the first part of this two part podcast series interviewing Frank, an addict who has abused drugs from the age of 12, he told us the origins of his addiction and how sniffing glue as a child turned into full on heroin addiction as an adult. By his own admission Frank has done some terrible things, including using his child’s stroller to steal from shops so he could fund his addiction.

Along the way he has survived attacks from gangs of drug dealers, a punctured lung, septicemia, stab wounds and a knee infection that left him wheeling around, scoring drugs in a wheelchair. Time and time again the need to satisfy his addiction was always powerful enough for him to overcome any illness.

Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
Co-Producer: Kris Mulliah
Editor &Narrator:  Dave Wheeler at SafetyNet
Episode 53:  Trust Me When I Say There Is No (Hero) In Heroin

Episode 53: Trust Me When I Say There Is No (Hero) In Heroin

June 28, 2018
Franky Frank runs the My Cold Turkey Detox website where he shares the story and updates about his struggle overcoming drug abuse, primarily heroin and crack. His sister filmed his struggle as he detoxed cold turkey at her place in Sweden after 30 years as a chronic long term addict. Franky Frank - not his real name - is now in his forties, in recovery and is our guest on the podcast to tell us how, despite having fallen many times in the past, cold turkey detox does work for some.
 
In this first of a two-part series, Frank explains how be became addicted by the age of 12, and how that was the beginning of a lifelong struggle. 
 
Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
Co-Producer: Kris Mulliah
Editor: Joel at East Coast Studio
 
Episode 52:  Life is Easy, Living is Hard

Episode 52: Life is Easy, Living is Hard

June 12, 2018
Erica has endured a lifetime of trauma marked by a difficult upbringing, abusive relationships, an addiction to phone sex, attempted suicide, and a number of diagnosed mental health issues. 
 
Recently, we heard of a website called writeaprisoner.com. While Erica is not a prisoner herself, she has turned to the site in what seems to be a way of coping with her own past, and actually fell in love with a man on the inside, who turned out to only be using her. 
 
Erica’s story highlights yet another case of neglect and having nowhere to turn, nobody who believed her, when she needed it the most.
 
Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
Editor and Co-Producer: Joel at East Coast Studio
 
Links: 
 
Episode 51:  Rehab #9: The Rob Rawlings Story

Episode 51: Rehab #9: The Rob Rawlings Story

May 30, 2018

Rob Rawlings is working hard to break the cycle of drug addiction in his family.

Despite his father’s abrasive nature and drug use, Rob continued to seek approval as his son. 

At the age of 14, Rob himself was introduced to drugs. It was only a matter of time before he tried opiates, and then heroine. To feed his addiction, Rob was led to a life of crime, he’d even steal from his own family. 

Now, at 43 years old, Rob is in rehab for the 9th time, but feeling optimistic - and says he’s in the best recovery home yet. 

In this episode, Rob shares his story, and we’ll hear what he’s planning to do with life after recovery. 

 
Host: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy
Editor and Co-Producer: Joel at East Coast Radio Creative
 
Links:
 
 

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