The Breakdown with Shaun King

The Breakdown with Shaun King

By The North Star

Join Shaun as he unpacks the most important stories of injustice, racism and corruption, but also tells you who's fighting back and how you can support and join them with practical action steps.


Ep. 296 - Does the 15th Amendment really give African Americans the right to vote?

The ratification of the 15th Amendment was seen as a huge milestone for the liberation of African Americans, but does it really do all we so often say it does? Shaun doesn't think so, actually. Listen and learn. While The North Star takes a sabbatical week, we've decided to rerun the top 5 most listened to episodes of The Breakdown. Here is one of them.
12/08/2023m 59s

Ep. 295 - Grief and Mortality

Mortality is something every person deals with, but few talk about. On today's episode, Shaun shares a personal message about the emotions that come with loss, and how he deals with them.  While The North Star takes a sabbatical week, we've decided to rerun the top 5 most listened to episodes of The Breakdown. Here is one of them.
11/08/2016m 1s

Ep. 294 - Are you going to vote?

Did you know that the majority of Americans don't vote? Today I ask you to not only commit to voting, but commit to being an informed voter that brings others with you.  While The North Star takes a sabbatical week, we've decided to rerun the top 5 most listened to episodes of The Breakdown. Here is one of them.  ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
10/08/2017m 47s

Ep. 293 - MLK 360

While The North Star takes a sabbatical week, we've decided to rerun the top 5 most listened to episodes of The Breakdown. Here is the first. The words and legacy of Dr. King have been reduced and sanitized in so many ways. Today Shaun King plays 5 very special audio clips of Dr. King that you have likely never heard before and breaks down why they are so very important. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
07/08/2025m 27s

Ep. 292 - Last night we had 2 historic victories and 1 crushing defeat

I learned a long time ago that victories come so rarely, that you have to celebrate them when you have them. Last night two brilliant candidates won essential elections, but another brilliant candidate lost as well. Let me unpack and explain all three races. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
05/08/2014m 2s

Ep. 291 - Make Change!

It's here! My brand new book, Make Change, is now available in bookstores worldwide. Today, I want to share a short story of failure and the major pivot that we made as a result. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
04/08/2021m 1s

Ep. 290 - Hear me read the first excerpt from my new book, Make Change

Tomorrow is a huge day for me as I await the release of my new book, Make Change. Today I want to read an excerpt from it for you. If you have not yet ordered it, please do so now at ok? ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
03/08/2021m 31s

Ep. 289 - Let’s Help Elect Jacquie Esser

Most people think of Hawaii as a perfect paradise, but it faces the same systemic issues as the rest of the country, including mass incarceration. That’s why Jacquie Esser is running for lead prosecutor, to bring about desperately needed change. Let’s help get her elected! ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
30/07/2016m 41s

Ep. 288 - 10 Ways to Defund the Police Today - Part 2

Yesterday we shared our first 5 ways to defund the police and make America safer at the same time. Today, we conclude with the final 5 ideas. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
29/07/2013m 23s

Ep. 287 - 10 Ways to Defund the Police Today - Part 1

Alex Vitale is one of my favorite scholars in the country on how and why we must defund the police. He recently listed 10 ways we can do that safely. Today I'll break down the first five. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
28/07/2020m 46s

Ep. 286 - What do mass incarceration and the coronavirus have in common?

The United States is experiencing a failure of both systems and personnel. It's not one, but both. And as a consequence, the single most famous stat for mass incarceration is now the exact same as this horrible new stat for the coronavirus. It's because the stats are produced by the same source. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
27/07/2014m 19s

Ep. 285 - Why we must all stand with the most hated Black woman in America

Kim Gardner is my hero. She's the lead prosecutor for St. Louis and has more courage in a day than most of us will have in our lifetime. Because of that, she has now become one of the single most hated Black women in America to the conservative white establishment. Today let's hear from Kim directly and plan on supporting her in every way we can. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
24/07/2028m 43s

Ep. 284 - She needs to be the new District Attorney of Detroit

Meet Victoria Burton-Harris - a badass woman who is running to be the new District Attorney of Detroit. It's one of the single most important races in the country and she needs our support. ----- If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
23/07/2030m 26s

Ep. 283 - Unpacking the Tension Between Symbols, Systems, and Substance

I see a battle unfolding of some people saying we need to stop focusing on art and symbols and put all of our focus on systems and substance. I understand the critique. But let me try to unpack and explain how symbols support systems. It all matters.
22/07/2018m 15s

Ep. 281 - My honest, transparent thoughts on anti-Semitism in 2020

Today I want to take a moment to really share my heart and soul about anti-Semitism in 2020. I also want to tackle the questions I have received about why more Black people are not fighting against it right now. I think I understand at least part of the answer. It's capacity. Let me unpack and explain it.
20/07/2035m 13s

Ep. 280 - The one major change in policing that Democrats & Republicans agree on.

Over 25% of all people killed by American police were having a mental health emergency. In some states, it's over 50%. Every study out shows that a super-majority of Americans want somebody other than police showing up to mental health emergencies. Let's talk about how we get it done.
17/07/2020m 58s

Ep. 279 - Happy Birthday Honey

Today is Rai's 39th birthday! We're out celebrating but I wanted to tell you about a big organizing victory we had this week!
16/07/2016m 15s

Ep. 278 - Louisville arrested and charged 100 peaceful protestors with felonies, but still won't arrest the men who murdered Breonna Taylor

The hypocrisy is on full display. It has now been nearly 4 months since Breonna Taylor was murdered and not a single soul in the whole state of Kentucky can find it in them to arrest and charge a single police officer. But last night, 100 peaceful protestors were charged with felonies for sitting down with their legs crossed. This system can clearly charge who it wants, when it wants. If you listen to The Breakdown and want to help support the work we do, consider becoming a member of our Patreon at for exclusive members perks and early access to content.
15/07/2013m 27s

Ep. 277 - Joe Biden needs to go back to the drawing board on his justice plan.

Joe Biden just released the 2.0 version of his policy plan for criminal justice reform. He refuses to end qualified immunity and refuses to stand for the legalization of marijuana. It's literally worse than the 1.0 version of every leading presidential candidate. He needs to go ahead and work on plan 3.0. This isn't good enough.
14/07/2017m 34s

Ep. 276 - Can you be a prison abolitionist and still fight for the arrest of the men who murdered Breonna Taylor?

A healthy debate is underway between the purists in the abolitionist community who are arguing that the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor should not be arrested or sent to prison and others of us who believe that we can completely dismantle the unjust systems of our country while simultaneously using the current laws to the best of our ability. Let's talk about it.
13/07/2022m 40s

Ep. 275 - A hard conversation about Robert Fuller, lynching, and mental health

Today I want us to talk about the hanging death of Robert Fuller. It was just officially ruled a suicide. I've looked at the results. I need us to understand that it can be simultaneously true that we live in a constant state of racial terror AND we have real mental health challenges that we need to discuss. Today, I want to tear down some walls and have an open conversation with you about all of it.
10/07/2031m 15s

Ep. 274 - Let's help elect Sybrina Fulton

The world knows her as Trayvon Martin's mother. And she embraces that. But Sybrina Fulton is more than her greatest moment of pain. Now, after 7 years of fearless advocacy for victims of gun violence and racial injustice, she's running for office in Miami! Let's help make that happen!
09/07/2016m 57s

Ep. 273 - If you live in these states, I am BEGGING you to take the coronavirus seriously

Over 130,000 Americans have already died from the coronavirus. Now, it is surging across the country. Today, more than anything else, I am begging you to take it seriously. I've seen the costs up close and personal. Trust me - you don't want this thing in your life.
08/07/2018m 35s

Ep. 272 - The true costs of white fragility & toxic masculinity

Did you see the video of the white man LOSING it on an elderly woman working at Costco because he was asked to wear a mask? That rage and that fragility were familiar. We've seen it all before. Today, let's talk about the true costs of white rage, white fragility, and toxic masculinity. It's deadly.
07/07/2018m 50s

Ep. 271 - An alternative to police that is already working well!

30 years ago, a group of people in one American city decided that they could do a better job than police at handling mental health and homelessness. So they built the solution and hundreds of thousands of 911 calls are now routed to their team. Listen and learn more. We can do this nationwide.
06/07/2016m 7s

Ep. 270 - A profound conversation with 3 District Attorneys

On Wednesday we launched Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commissions in 3 of America's largest cities. Today you can hear from the DA's who will be helping to lead the process.
03/07/2032m 11s

Ep. 269 - We are the most incarcerated nation in the history of the world

Today I want to teach you one simple fact. It is the foundation for most of the work that I do. And I need you to understand the size and scope of the problem we're facing. The United States is the single most incarcerated nation in the entire history of the world.
02/07/2011m 7s

Ep. 268 - Today we are launching the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission

The thing we call the justice system in this country is not broken. It's firing on all cylinders. So we must build new systems and new pathways to justice. Today, we are beginning just that. Learn more and join us at
01/07/2015m 33s

Ep. 267 - We Don't Need Police in Schools

It costs hundreds of millions of dollars. They have not stopped a single school shooting. And the police are brutalizing Black, Brown, and Native American children from coast to coast. They are handcuffing and arresting them. We must interrupt the school to prison pipeline. Here's how.
30/06/2018m 8s

Ep. 266 - Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement has DOUBLED. Now what?

Studies show that support for the Black Lives Matter Movement has doubled since 2016. Even a majority of white people now say that they support the movement and its goals - which is groundbreaking. But what are we going to do with this momentum? Let's talk about it.
29/06/2013m 52s

Ep. 265 - How can you support the movement? Support transformational candidates!

Shaun wants to introduce us all to one of his favorite people currently running for office: Cori Bush. On today's episode, he interviews Cori so that we can hear for ourselves what makes her so special. And even though she is running for office in Missouri, you can volunteer for her campaign WHEREVER YOU ARE. Let's go! CoriBush.Org
26/06/2020m 25s

Ep. 264 - A private Facebook group of law enforcement officers is literally plotting to kill me.

For my own safety, and the safety of my family, I had to expose this today. Here I include their names, their death threats and plans, and more. Who are you supposed to turn to in a moment like this? Police? The NYPD? The FBI? We felt like exposing them publicly was our best tool today.
25/06/2014m 16s

Ep. 263 - Change is Coming to the Democratic Party

Last night breakthrough leaders won elections across the country in the Democratic primaries. That's great news! But why is the Democratic Party fighting against them tooth and nail? Let's talk about it!
24/06/2024m 44s

Ep. 262 - The Crisis of Christian Whiteness

Yesterday I started a firestorm by saying that statues of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus-figure should be taken down just like the monuments of slaveholders. The problem is that for tens of millions of white people, it's necessary for that Jesus, that Savior, to be white. And it has been used as a tool of oppression for hundreds of years. It's a problem.
23/06/2019m 4s

Ep. 261 - I need you to know this one stat about American policing

Last night, I read a brand new study on American policing and it has one stat that I think is the single most important stat of the year in American policing. I need you to learn it. I think it's so big that it will become a household stat that all of us who want serious change will memorize and quote from this point forward.
22/06/2017m 45s

Ep. 260 - The most amazing justice breakthrough you've never heard of

Something is happening in San Francisco that is truly revolutionary. I honestly didn't think it was possible. It's never been done before. But now we must do it all over the country.
18/06/2015m 32s

Ep. 259 - How I get through overwhelming days

Today I want to share a life lesson. I use it the best I can. Sometimes I fail, but this lesson has helped to keep me and my family whole for at least 10 years. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.
16/06/2012m 38s

Ep. 258 - We don't have the luxury or privilege of only working with Democrats to fight for change

In many states where we've fought for justice, every single person in power was a Republican. We had to work with them. And sometimes we got results. Other times, everybody in power was a Democrat, and we got nothing. We have to be willing to work with whoever is in power to fight for change. Period.
15/06/2018m 7s

Ep. 257 -

We need you to know Sean Monterrosa's name. You might be tired, but we still have to fight when we're faced with such blatant injustice. Sean was unarmed, non-violent, and on his knees with his hands up when Vallejo Police Officer Jarrett Tonn shot him five times through the windshield of his car. Join us as we fight for justice for Sean.
12/06/2013m 41s

Ep. 256 - So many badges hide bigots

For today, we are revisiting a throwback episode from June of 2019 where Shaun breaks down a Buzzfeed and Injustice Watch study called "Good Day for a Chokehold". The report gives us quantifiable proof that many American police are closet bigots by diving into the social media posts of thousands of officers. Shaun draws historical lines between past, present and future to break down exactly what we're up against.
11/06/2015m 12s

Ep. 255 - Defund the Police

Thousands of you asked Shaun to break down what it means to defund the police, so today, in simple terms, Shaun wants to unpack and explain it for you. Shaun supports it and thinks you should too.
10/06/2015m 34s

Ep. 254 - I need you to hear our new podcast Sick Empire

Sick Empire is a brand new podcast that showcases the experiences of New Yorkers who operate daily within the epicenter of the COVID-19 health crisis. On today's episode of The Breakdown, Shaun formally introduces you to Sick Empire, and invites you to listen to the first episode. This is the most timely, important podcast out today -- join the conversation.
09/06/2034m 42s

Ep. 253 - Tear them all down

In our current uprising around the world, people are tearing down monuments to racism, bigotry, white supremacy, and slavery. They should all be torn down - including those of Washington and Jefferson in the United States.
08/06/2012m 29s

Ep. 252 - I will respond to the lies with receipts one last time.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have tried my best to ignore the constant lies about me, my work, my teams, our fundraising, and more. Today I will respond, with receipts and details, one last time. After that, you can lie about me, but that's on you.
06/06/2050m 55s

Ep. 251 - No Knock Warrants Must Be Banned. Here's Why & How.

The men who murdered Breonna Taylor must be held responsible. But we must change the laws and policies that caused her death in the first place. One way to start right now, is banning no-knock warrants. Let me break it down and give you action steps for today
03/06/2013m 32s

Ep. 250 - Join today

Today, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt and I are launching The Grassroots Law Project and we need all hands on deck. Join us now @ and let's take our first action steps together
02/06/207m 16s

Ep. 249 - From Tulsa to Minneapolis - Why History Repeats Itself

Ninety-nine years ago today, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the most beautiful, prosperous, wealthy Black communities in the world was destroyed by terrorists. Today, with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, protestors across the globe, and the 1921 destruction of Black Wall Street in mind, Shaun teaches a lesson on how and why history repeats itself.
01/06/2017m 22s

Ep. 248 - Having an abolitionist worldview

It's not enough to do good here and there. What do you believe about the world? What is your philosophy? Because that's what drives your actions - or lack thereof. Let's talk about it.
29/05/2016m 51s

Ep. 247 - We must become abolitionists

The systems and structures we are fighting against aren't a little corrupt, they were fully built to oppress us. They should be completely abolished. Let me tell you what that means for us in 2020 and beyond.
28/05/2021m 33s

Ep. 246 - Knowing How It's Built, So That We Can Tear It Down

Today Shaun wants to teach you what may be his most important lesson on how we can actually abolish the systems and structures of mass incarceration and police brutality. We often fail in these attempts, because we don't actually know what we're tearing down. It's not one system. And we are choosing to believe that's good news. It's 30,000 microsystems. Let us explain.
27/05/2016m 34s

Ep. 245 - The single most underrated civil rights issue of our time

Listen to today's episode on what Shaun thinks is the single most underrated civil rights issue of our time. It's the local budget of your city and county and how much of it is going to law enforcement. Did you know that the LAPD takes up over 50% of the whole Los Angeles General Fund? It's outrageous. And we have to fight back to make these budgets actually reflect what we need.
25/05/2020m 30s

Ep. 244 - Thank You.

On today's episode of The Breakdown I want to take a minute to thank all of you for your hard work and support as we fought for justice for Ahmaud Arbery. We must celebrate the small victories, but keep on pushing.
22/05/2012m 38s

Ep. 243 - New Info on the Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

Today we are beginning to learn how so many people knew Ahmaud was in their neighborhood. We also have new info on the shooter, Travis McMichael.
21/05/2015m 9s

Ep. 242 - How are you doing?

Today is a special check-in episode of The Breakdown. I'll tell you how I'm doing, and what I'm trying to do to manage the stress of the time we are in, but I also want to hear from you.
20/05/2015m 35s

Ep. 241 Listen to these 4 clips of Malcolm X

Today would've been the 95th birthday of our dear Brother Malcolm X. I want to play four of the most powerful clips of his speeches and interviews. They are also painful, because they shouldn't even be relevant anymore, but he literally could've said these things yesterday. Listen and learn.
19/05/2019m 4s

Ep. 240 - Georgia must arrest William Roddie Bryan

Georgia should've already arrested William Roddie Bryan. But what we know is that we only get the justice we fight for. On today's episode, Shaun reveals new information about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and gives us new action steps to take.
18/05/2012m 33s

Ep. 239 - Video Walk-Through of Breonna's Shooting & Talking with Essential Workers

On today's episode of The Breakdown Live, Shaun walks through the extended details of Breonna's case and gives on update on Kenny's story as well. He then interviews Senate candidate Charles Booker, and does a very special segment with essential workers who are on America's frontlines. The Breakdown Live is an extended video version of The Breakdown Podcast. To see the video that accompanies this audio, you can go to
15/05/201h 30m

Ep. 238 - Kenny Walker is a hero and also needs our help

Kenny Walker was Breonna's boyfriend, and he is a hero. On the night police broke into his home, in plain clothes, unannounced, when he and Breonna did nothing wrong, he used his legally owned firearm to protect his family. Now he's foolishly being charged with attempted murder. This cannot stand.
14/05/2012m 44s

Ep. 237 -

Today is a day of action. On this special action steps episode of The Breakdown, Shaun gives us clear action steps and marching orders for how we stand with Breonna Taylor and her dear family. Let's go!
13/05/2016m 23s

Ep. 236 - Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor

Nearly one month ago today, Breonna Taylor was brutally shot and killed by police in her own home as they executed a drug raid at the wrong address for a person they had already arrested earlier that day. Our fight for justice for her begins today.
12/05/2016m 55s

Ep. 235 - Why we can't let up

Thanks to millions of you, we’ve achieved so many of our Action Steps for Ahmaud Arbery, but we can’t let up. Not at all. One man is still on the loose and we have more things worth fighting for. Let me tell you what’s next.
11/05/2015m 40s

Ep. 234 - The Breakdown LIVE - Deep dive into Ahmaud's case

Today was the second episode of The North Star's new weekly video livestream - The Breakdown Live. It is an extended video version of this podcast which will feature interviews and more. On this episode, Shaun did a deep dive into Ahmaud's case and ends with Action Steps.
08/05/201h 46m

Ep. 233 - It's OK to cry

Today I am just checking on you. We are overwhelmed and I want you to lean in and grieve. It's OK to cry. It's ok to be angry. Let me talk you through it then let's walk or run together this weekend. Love you all.
07/05/2014m 44s

Ep. 232 - Ahmaud Arbery was lynched.

After a shocking video of Ahmaud Arbery lynching was leaked, Shaun updates us on the grave injustice that occured in Brunswick, Ga and gives updated action steps. We need EVERYONE on deck!
06/05/2016m 47s

Ep. 231 - New legislation from AOC to protect small businesses

Mega businesses are using the coronavirus crisis to take public money and then demolish vulnerable small and medium sized businesses. New legislation that we should all support halts all mega-mergers during the crisis. Today I unpack why we should all care.
05/05/2014m 20s

Ep. 230 - American police have pushed people too far

This weekend was one of THOSE weekends where police were so brutal, in so many places, for no good reason, almost exclusively against Black folk, that it's clear to me that we are crossing a line where people are not going to take it much longer.
04/05/2021m 28s

Ep. 229 - How are millions of people supposed to pay their rent today?

Across the country, millions of Americans are not going to be able to pay their rent today. We knew this day was coming. Just agreeing not to evict them this month is too little. Rent needs to be forgiven and covered by the government. Today I share a way to pay for it as well.
01/05/2016m 51s

Ep. 228 - & 770-800-0689

Please go to that website and call that number right now. We need ALL HANDS ON DECK as we begin the fight for justice for Ahmaud Arbery.
30/04/2014m 15s

Ep. 227 - Was Diddy right about forcing Joe Biden to have an agenda for Black people?

Yesterday in an interview w/ Naomi Campbell, Diddy spoke on how presidential candidates needed to have a strong agenda for Black people. I agree. We'll talk about that, a new bill being proposed in Congress, and I'll give an update on the Ahmaud Arbery case.
29/04/2021m 13s

Ep. 226 - We're demanding justice for Ahmaud Arbery

2 months ago two white supremacists murdered an innocent Black jogger in Brunswick, Georgia in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon. We're demanding justice.
28/04/2014m 15s

Ep. 225 - #CouchCommencement for Fashion Institute of Technology

During this pandemic, I've struggled to figure out how to best help everyday people. One way that I am trying to help is by speaking at funerals across the country. Another, is by speaking at high school and college graduations. I've agreed to nearly 50 so far. Today I spoke at the graduation of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Here's my short address to the students.
27/04/2010m 38s

Ep. 224 - Trump may be the single dumbest President in American history

We are in a global pandemic and the President of the United States literally suggested that we should inject ourselves with disinfectant to kill the coronavirus. It may be the single dumbest, most dangerous moment of his presidency. Also, today is a dubious anniversary for the KKK. Shaun unpacks and explains both stories.
24/04/2019m 6s

Ep. 223 - Are you racist?

Now that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, this classic episode - which was first released on the day Dr. Ibram Kendi's book "How to be an Anti-Racist" came out - is more relevant than ever. The global pandemic that we're living in has crystallized who has privilege. Asian-Americans have become the target of countless acts of hate as bigots blame the coronavirus outbreak on them. Take time, as you're sitting at home, to ask yourself to what extent you are currently benefiting from racist structures & systems.
23/04/2015m 15s

Ep. 222 - Cuomo's inaction cost Leonard Carter his life

Leonard Carter had been granted parole after serving 30 years in prison. Advocates begged for him to be released. Cuomo ignored the calls. Leonard, with just weeks left on his sentence, died from the coronavirus.
22/04/2018m 14s

Ep. 221 - The Eulogy of Lucille Marie Scott

A few weeks ago, as thousands of people began dying across the country from the coronavirus, Shaun noticed the despair as people posted that they could not even have a traditional funeral to grieve. Since Shaun had been a pastor for many years, he offered to perform eulogies or prayers for any families who needed it. Today was the first - for a great woman - Lucille Marie Scott.
21/04/2011m 29s

Ep. 220 - The Taylor Swift Test for Police Brutality

This weekend, 33 year old Steve Taylor, a beloved father and son, was murdered by police at a Walmart in San Leandro, California. When Shaun hears about these horrible cases of police brutality, he runs the situation through, what he calls, the Taylor Swift test. Listen in as he breaks down what the Taylor Swift test for police brutality is.
20/04/2012m 33s

Ep. 219 - Who and what are you fighting for right now?

Listen, I know during this pandemic you are fighting for your own survival. We all are. But I need you to understand that policies are being passed (and ignored) all over the country and what we do and do not fight for will inform what our government does during this time. Also, 5 years ago this week, Freddie Gray was murdered by the Baltimore Police. I speak some on his case.
17/04/2019m 13s

Ep. 218 - The US has always had the money for reparations

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed that if the United States wants to spend trillions of dollars on something, it can at the drop of a dime. This proves that the US Government has always had money for reparations. Today, Shaun breaks down what this means about marginalized folx in this country and talks about the importance of Universal Basic Income.
16/04/2022m 28s

Ep. 217 - Why is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ignoring our calls to release Michael Thompson from prison?

Michael Thompson has served 26 years of a life sentence for selling some weed to a friend. Once. Michael is a senior citizen and has several underlying health conditions that put him at grave risk with the coronavirus sweeping across America’s jails and prisons. There is one person who can set him free: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. On today's episode, Shaun unpacks why, as she has risen to stardom in the Democratic party, Governor Whitmer has frozen out our pleas to free Michael.
15/04/2014m 54s

Ep. 216 - Thank you Bernie

A heartfelt thank you message to Bernie Sanders.
14/04/2015m 39s

Ep. 215 - Is police brutality legal?

For a moment, it looked like police brutality was going to really slow down during the pandemic, but America is a police state. Today, let me unpack the Supreme Court case that really helps police get away with so much of their brutality.
13/04/2018m 2s

Ep. 214 - Congress needs to end their recess and get back to work - even if remotely.

Today Nancy Pelosi is suggesting that she may extend the congressional recess - which is outrageous. They need to find a way to get back to work. Shaun also has an important update on California's jails and prisons.
10/04/2016m 34s

Ep. 213 - Let me teach you a new term: Jail Churn.

Right now, jails & prisons in the United States have the highest documented infection rates of covid-19 in the world. On today's episode, Shaun explains the concept of jail churn and breaks down how it shows up in our prison system, and contributes to the spread of coronavirus.
09/04/2016m 54s

Ep. 212 - This is not how a democracy works

Once white conservatives in Wisconsin learned that the coronavirus was mainly impacting Black communities, they had no problem forcing the elections there today. Virtually every public health official and every mayor in Wisconsin begged the state to postpone their elections. When the Governor issued an emergency executive order to reschedule the election, the conservative state legislature and state Supreme Court each voted to overturn those decisions — forcing the elections to happen today anyway. This is so dangerous, and we can't look away. Our democracy is at stake.
08/04/2011m 4s

Ep. 211 - What's happening today in Wisconsin is criminal

As we learn that Black people and communities are being hit the hardest from the coronavirus, watch as white conservatives check out and stop caring. It's happening now in Wisconsin.
07/04/2018m 17s

Ep. 210 - I need you to remember Tennessee v Garner

This episode is the first in a three-part-series on the Supreme Court cases that make police brutality functionally legal in the United States. Unfortunately, this episode is as relevant now as it was when it originally aired one year ago. This is essential education for yourself, your kids, your students. We must know the names of these Supreme Court cases so that we know what we're up against.
06/04/2016m 3s

Ep. 209 - I am very disturbed by the new racial & demographic data on who is dying from the coronavirus

On today's episode Shaun will have an homage to the legendary Bill Withers, but first, will discuss disturbing new demographic data on who is dying from the coronavirus and talk about the crisis at our immigration detention centers.
03/04/2022m 57s

Ep. 208 - The life, death, and courageous words of Scott Ryan

On today's episode of The Breakdown Shaun tells us the story of the life, death, and courageous words of Scott Ryan - a bus driver outside of Seattle who told us in February what we were going to be facing. And Shaun gives action steps on what we need to be fighting for on behalf of essential workers nationwide.
02/04/2016m 28s

Ep. 207 - What's happening with the coronavirus in America's jails and prisons is a form of genocide.

Yesterday Shaun spoke with a man incarcerated at Rikers. Today he not only shares what he learned from that conversation, but describes the willful neglect at jails nationwide as a form of genocide. On the second half of today's episode, Shaun details how some cities are smartly using hotels to house the unhoused to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
01/04/2026m 45s

Ep. 206 - Tomorrow is going to be a very, very hard day

Tomorrow, tens of millions of Americans will be kicked off of their health insurance and be unable to pay their rent. And the nation has done virtually nothing about it. Shaun breaks down what makes this moment so devastating and ends with an action step.
31/03/207m 53s

Ep. 205 - Today is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, but does it really give African Americans the right to vote?

Today is no doubt a special day in American history, but does the 15th Amendment really do all we so often say it does? Shaun doesn't think so, actually. Listen and learn.
30/03/2024m 2s

Ep. 204 - Let's help free an innocent man BEFORE he's convicted plus updates on the horrible bailout package and student loans

Today Shaun gives us clear action steps to stop the conviction of an innocent man BEFORE he is convicted. Then he gives us some commentary on the horrible bailout package that was passed and says what our country really should've done instead.
27/03/2022m 44s

Ep. 203 - Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo need to release more people from Rikers TODAY

For months, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio have been ignoring the professional advice of virtually every civil rights, human rights and public health organization in the city in regard to the hellhole of a jail known as Rikers. On today's episode, Shaun breaks down how they have directly caused a completely avoidable catastrophe in Rikers and gives us some action steps.
26/03/2014m 29s

Ep. 202 - Seven reasons why African Americans are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus

Experts believe that within the next 10 days, the United States -- not China, Italy, or Spain -- will have the most cases of Covid-19 worldwide. On today's episode, Shaun breaks down seven reasons why African Americans are actually at a much higher risk of contracting the coronavirus as it spreads across the country.
25/03/2019m 25s

Ep. 201 - A horrible case of déjà vu with the Democratic Party

In 3 straight polls, the majority of Americans now say they believe Donald Trump is doing a good job of handling the Covid-19 pandemic. The near complete absence of Joe Biden during this time created a vacuum for this to happen.
24/03/2020m 42s

Ep. 200 - Celebrating Episode #200 with some special messages from our listeners

On today's special episode of The Breakdown we celebrate everyone who has come this far with us and hear from our listeners on what they love most about the podcast.
23/03/2028m 3s

Ep. 199 - We must have an agenda. If we don't, the one that gets set for us, will not be good enough

In the next few days, government leaders on every level are going to be making long term decisions on how to fight back against the coronavirus. We need to make sure we tell them what that agenda need to be.
20/03/2021m 23s

Ep. 198 - Trump and conservatives are about to left-flank and outmaneuver Democrats

We've entered into a phase of this pandemic where politicians and corporations are thinking on how they can use this crisis for their financial and political gain. Trump and conservatives are doing something that could prove perilous for Democrats.
19/03/2016m 16s

Ep. 197 - Let's be mindful of how this moment is impacting children & teenagers

Today is Shaun's daughter, Kendi, turns 18 years old, but is stuck in the house, with school canceled, and everything else canceled as well. Today, Shaun talks about how the coronavirus is going to impact not just his family, but America's children.
18/03/2015m 8s

Ep. 196 - Your city needs to stop these 2 things right now.

All over the country we need cities and states to immediately stop evictions and the shutting off of utilities. Smart cities are already doing this. Is yours?
17/03/2015m 2s

Ep. 195 - Join our new team to help people impacted by the Coronavirus

Colleges and schools are closed. Thousands of businesses have shut down. People are afraid and they are out of work. We're forming our own mutual aid society to help one another. Listen and join us today.
16/03/2015m 4s

Ep. 194 - Trump and America's governors need to release sick & elderly people from prison starting TODAY

The coronavirus is going to impact the most vulnerable people and communities among us. Today Shaun starts to unpack what that's going to mean for America's jails and prisons.
13/03/2014m 34s

Ep. 193 - Why it took Tom Hanks and the NBA to wake America up.

The NBA season was just suspended. Tom Hanks has the coronavirus. The NCAA tournament is going to be played without fans. And the President is still a complete idiot. Today will go down in history as the first day the entire nation fully understood the impact of the Coronavirus.
12/03/2019m 12s

Ep. 192 - Colleges shutting down across the country, the election, and a police shooting in Raleigh

Today Shaun unpacks and explains the impact of colleges and universities shutting down for the coronavirus across the country. Also, he shares some thoughts on the elections yesterday and closes with painful audio of the aftermath of a police shooting in Raleigh. Plus, our first woman crush Wednesday segment.
11/03/2020m 9s

Ep. 191 - Coronavirus Special + Action Steps

On this special episode of The Breakdown Shaun unpacks and explains why The United States is in a particularly dangerous position with the coronavirus and what we can do about it.
10/03/2019m 29s

Ep. 190 - The execution of Nate Woods is NOT a moment of closure.

Working with the family of Nate Woods this weekend, Shaun noticed one big difference between an execution and a case of police violence. Today he unpacks it for us.
09/03/2013m 41s

Ep. 189 - Mourning the murder of Nate Woods

Yesterday, the state of Alabama murdered an innocent man. On today's episode, Shaun unpacks this painful ordeal. We are devastated, but unfortunately we are not surprised.
06/03/2015m 19s

Ep. 188 - An innocent man is about to be lynched in Alabama

In hours, the State of Alabama is set to execute a man they fully know never killed a single soul in his life. It's a legal lynching. Listen, then go to to fight back to stop this. We can't give up!!
05/03/205m 5s

Ep. 187 - Recap of Super Tuesday + 1 day left to save Nate

Shaun unpacks and explains his thoughts on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg dropping out, and our fight to save Nate Woods
04/03/2011m 47s

Ep. 186 -

Today is Super Tuesday, but the biggest thing on my mind is saving the life of Nate Woods, who’s scheduled to be executed in this Thursday. We have new action steps for you to take at
03/03/2014m 42s

Ep. 185 - He's going to be executed on Thursday, but he didn't pull the trigger.

Nathaniel Woods. Say his name. He is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, but he didn't even pull the trigger. Nobody says he did. And the shooter says he had nothing to do with the crime.
28/02/2011m 16s

Ep. 184 - They arrested a 6 year old girl. Here’s what we can do about it.

Months we learned that the Orlando Police arrested a 6 year old girl. You helped us get the officer fired. Today we see the video. Here’s what we do to prevent this from ever happening again.
27/02/2018m 36s

Ep. 183 - The highs & lows of last nights presidential debate

The debate last night was a mess. Period. But today Shaun breaks down a high moment, a low moment, and says why the whole thing was bad for the Democratic Party.
26/02/2014m 11s

Ep. 182 - Nobody belongs at Rikers - not even Harvey Weinstein + the remarks from Michael Jordan at the Kobe Memorial

Today Shaun reflects on the conviction of Harvey Weinstein for sex crimes, but offers what may be a surprising critique of the celebrations. Also, Shaun reflects on the words of Michael Jordan at the Kobe & Gigi Bryant Memorial.
25/02/2023m 50s

Ep. 181 - Save this number in your phone please.

Today we begin making phone calls for Myon Burrell. Don't worry, I'll talk you through all of it.
21/02/2012m 9s

Ep. 180 -

It’s up to us to free Myon Burrell! 17 years ago, Myon was charged and convicted of a murder that he did not commit. He is completely innocent, and has been in prison since 2002. We can't just stand by. Today Shaun lays the framework for how we will free him. Listen for two action steps that should leave us looking within. Visit right now for more details.
20/02/2011m 45s

Ep. 179 - Do you know about Myon Burrell?

In 2002 a teenage boy named Myon Burrell was arrested for a murder he had absolutely nothing to do with. Today we will begin our efforts to educate you on his case and then building a campaign to set him free.
18/02/2017m 30s

Ep. 178 - Trevor Noah with a raw after-show moment on the brutality of Mike Bloomberg

Today Shaun not only breaks down a very transparent after-show moment Trevor Noah had discussing the brutality of Mike Bloomberg, he plays the key audio clips of Bloomberg that Trevor is addressing.
17/02/2017m 34s

Ep. 177 - Happy Douglass Day!

Today is the 1 year anniversary of The North Star and the day Frederick Douglass chose as his birthday. Shaun shares a story about this and more.
14/02/2011m 13s

Ep. 176 - I will not exchange one brutal oppressor for another

In our efforts to beat Trump, Shaun has preached for over a year that he would support whoever won the democratic primary. But upon further review, he has quickly determined that Mike Bloomberg is simply a line that he can not cross. Listen in as he explains why.
13/02/2011m 40s

Ep. 175 - #BloombergIsRacist

You need to hear these two racist bombshell clips from Michael Bloomberg. He should never serve in office again.
11/02/2012m 39s

Ep. 174 - My take on Gayle, Snoop, Oprah, Kobe, and public grief

It's ugly. Today Shaun weighs in with his transparent thoughts on the very public spectacle not just between Gayle King and Snoop, but with millions of hurting, grieving people.
10/02/2042m 43s

Ep. 173 - A murder w/ little evidence in Orlando, police abuse in Austin, and an update on voting in Iowa.

Today Shaun has 3 stories and an action step for us - starting in Florida where the Republican governor took power away from a good local prosecutor. Also, an update on voting in Iowa and an action step on tasering case in Austin, Texas.
06/02/2022m 47s

Ep. 172 - 3 days and Iowa is still up in the air

I’ve never seen this happen before. It’s a sad symptom of our fragile democracy and opens up a real opportunity for Trump to exploit such weakness
05/02/2018m 10s

Ep. 171 - Iowa was a complete mess

A quick reflection from Shaun on the first Democratic primary in the nation. It was an unorganized mess.
04/02/2010m 37s

Ep. 170 - Iowa begins voting and Joaquin Phoenix uses his white privilege

Today is the first full day of the Democratic primaries as voters in Iowa kick it off. Shaun gives some thoughts on Iowa and then discusses the bold words made by Joaquin Phoenix last night.
03/02/2013m 13s

Ep. 169 - When Joe Biden began pretending he was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement :: Part 2 of 2.

In the 2020 campaign Joe Biden flat out lying to say that he was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Today Shaun tells us the story of when this began and why.
31/01/2040m 38s

Ep. 168 - Confronting the Cultural Appropriation of Joe Biden :: Part 1 of 2

This is the biggest story released yet to air on The Breakdown. For nearly 50 years Joe Biden has pretended to have been an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. The time has come to confront it. Today and tomorrow, Shaun systematically breaks down Biden's lies and what they mean.
30/01/201h 2m

Ep. 167 - Working overtime on a special story

Shaun checks in with a quick message. He is currently working on an extremely important story and needs more time.

Ep. 166 - Corrupt Chicago billionaire trying to buy the local justice system

Well, this is new. A corrupt Chicago billionaire is trying to buy the DA’s office. Shaun also gives updates on Michael Thompson and Parchman Prison.
28/01/2013m 54s

Ep. 165 - Grief and Mortality

A personal message from Shaun.
27/01/2015m 3s

Ep. 164 - Brilliant Black boy suspended from school for his natural hairstyle

Today Shaun has two important action steps for you to take - one on behalf of a brilliant boy who needs our help and another on behalf of Michael Thompson who we are trying to help get out of prison.
24/01/2014m 22s

Ep. 163 - Letters for Michael Thompson and an update on Parchman Prison

Yesterday, over 10,000 of you went to and wrote a letter on behalf of Michael Thompson! A great job, but we need more! Shaun updates us on Michael's case as well as gives an update on Mississippi's Parchman Prison.
23/01/2017m 27s

Ep. 162 - Free Michael Thompson

In just 7 days we are going to be submitting a clemency petition on behalf of Michael Thompson - a kind, compassionate soul who has spent 25 hard years in prison for selling weed in Michigan - a state that just made weed legal. And we need your help.
22/01/2014m 36s

Ep. 161 - Are you going to vote?

Did you know that the majority of Americans don't vote? Today I ask you to not only commit to vote, but commit to being an informed voter that brings others with you.
21/01/2018m 42s

Ep. 160 - MLK 360 - Special King Day Episode

The words and legacy of Dr. King have been reduced and sanitized in so many ways. Today Shaun King plays 5 very special audio clips of Dr. King that you have likely never heard before and breaks down why they are so very important.
20/01/2024m 13s

Ep. 159 - LAPD is framing people as being in gangs

The LAPD has been caught in yet another scandal framing people as being in gangs. Today Shaun begins to unpack and explain this. Then, he invites Nikki Rojas, a writer for The North Star on to talk about voter suppression in Wisconsin.
17/01/2017m 23s

Ep. 158 - The Human Rights Atrocities in Mississippi Prisons

Today Shaun discusses a conversation that caused him to really check who he cares about and why - then begins the conversation about the despicable human rights conditions in Mississippi prisons
16/01/2018m 1s

Ep. 157 - The most revolutionary civil rights action so far in 2020

Kim Gardner, a brilliant, bold, progressive prosecutor in St. Louis just filed suit against powerful white special interests in law enforcement using the KKK Act of 1871. And it's amazing.
15/01/2017m 56s

Ep. 156 - When you threaten the status quo, all hell will break loose

Yesterday it was said that Bernie Sanders said a woman could not be President. It trended. It went viral. But sources tell me and The Washington Post that it never happened.
14/01/2021m 25s

Ep. 155 - Good news from Marshawn, Will Smith, and Chesa Boudin

You need some good news in your life. Today Shaun brings you three good news stories from San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, NFL star Marshawn Lynch, and Will Smith. Listen, smile, and learn.
13/01/2016m 59s

Ep. 154 - Why Trump thinks he can assassinate foreign leaders in broad daylight

Today Shaun unpacks the intellectual foundation for why Donald Trump believed he could openly assassinate a foreign leader and get away with it. Then we begin discussing something the problematic fact that New York is giving some of its most important justice reforms just 9 days before giving up on them. We have action steps.
09/01/2029m 32s

Ep. 153 - Happy New Year...Kind of

On our first episode of 2020 Shaun wishes us happy new year as our nation is on the brink of World War III.
06/01/204m 50s

Ep. 152 - Trump welcomes and celebrates a war criminal

Do you know the name Eddie Gallagher? He is a violent, bigoted war criminal that Trump absolutely adores. Today Shaun unpacks and explains this and also details the despicable conditions of prisons in Mississippi.
30/12/1919m 55s

Ep. 151 - Happy Holidays from Shaun

A holiday greeting from Shaun King and a quick reflection on this past year.
29/12/192m 49s

Ep. 150 - Chrystul Kizer and the crisis of sexual assault victims in the American justice system

On our 150th episode Shaun will unpack and explain the horrible sex trafficking case involving teenager Chrystul Kizer, who ultimately shot and killed her trafficker.
20/12/1926m 36s

Ep. 149 - What's next after impeachment?

Now that Trump has been impeached, Shaun unpacks and explains what will be next and gives us a glimpse into the minds of Republicans and Trump during this time.
19/12/1918m 59s

Ep. 148 - Impeachment, Justice, Voting Rights :: A good news episode

Today is a good news episode of The Breakdown where Shaun unpacks and explains what is scheduled to happen today with the impeachment of Donald Trump. He also gives us an update on the officer who assaulted the child in North Carolina and a massive restoration of voting rights in Kentucky.
18/12/1915m 22s

Ep. 147 - Update on 11 year boy who was brutally assaulted by police

Shaun gives us an update on the case of the 11 year old boy who was brutally assaulted by police in Vance County, North Carolina then shares details on four new cases of police violence that have happened across the country this month
17/12/1916m 25s

Ep. 146 - This officer should be arrested immediately

A horrible video of a police officer assaulting an 11 year old boy was just released. Here Shaun unpacks and explains the case and gives us action steps to call for this officer to be fired and arrested immediately.
16/12/1916m 14s

Ep. 145 - What does it mean to be a modern day abolitionist? Part 2.

To be an abolitionist, you not only have to have an abolitionist worldview, you have to take abolitionist actions. Today Shaun unpacks and explains what that means and gives us a big update on the impeachment of Donald Trump.
13/12/1917m 38s

Ep. 144 - Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart

Today Shaun tells the story of three teenage boys who spent 36 years in prison for a crime they did not commit and has a very special action step for us on how we can build something together to support anybody who has been wrongly convicted.
12/12/1916m 16s

Ep. 143 - What does it mean to be a modern day abolitionist? Part 1.

Most of us know what it meant to be an abolitionist before the American Civil War, but what does it mean today? Listen to Part 1 of a mini-series from Shaun King as he unpacks and explains how we can all be modern day abolitionists.
11/12/1916m 15s

Ep. 142 - Big Announcement from Shaun

We're not giving away the BIG news in the description! You have to listen to this episode to get it!
10/12/1917m 6s

Ep. 141 - White men dominate the Golden Globe nominations

The Golden Globe nominations were just announced and Shaun unpacks and explains why it's a problem, and why it matters that women and people of color were left out.
09/12/1920m 4s

Ep. 140 - Bloomberg just told the single biggest lie of 2019

Michael Bloomberg oversaw one of the most racist policies of the 21st century. Today he went on national TV and lied, saying nobody ever told him it was wrong until last month. This lie is Trumpian in nature and must be confronted
06/12/1914m 41s

Ep. 139 - Taking a personal day

Shaun shares some of his story of living in chronic pain and how hard it can be to take a day off.
05/12/195m 1s

Ep. 138 - About Kamala Harris dropping out

Kamala Harris just dropped out of the presidential race. Shaun discusses some of the unique challenges of Black women in politics and unpacks what her dropping out means for the race at large.
04/12/1924m 38s

Ep. 137 - Impeachment, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and Mayor Pete

On today's episode Shaun unpacks and explains Trump's new refusal to participate in this week's impeachment hearings, confronts the horrible new threats against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and offers a critique of both Mayor Pete and Michael Bloomberg.
03/12/1925m 54s

Ep. 136 - What's next for Rodney Reed?

Rodney Reed's execution was stayed exactly two weeks ago. Today, Shaun updates us on the case, and tells us new stories about people all over the country who have been wrongfully convicted. Join us with an action step that will help combat our national problem with wrongful convictions.
02/12/1918m 30s

Ep. 135 - Just Checking In

Unable to record a full episode for today, Shaun takes a moment to check in for a brief moment. Enjoy your weekend!
22/11/191m 32s

Ep. 134 - The new worst 48 hours of the Trump presidency

As the impeachment hearings continue, bombshell testimony dooms Trump to a certain impeachment in the weeks ahead.
21/11/1914m 38s

Ep. 133 - Trump is going to be impeached

Yesterday was the single worst day yet for Trump on impeachment. It may be the worst day of his presidency. Here Shaun will unpack and explain two of the biggest moments of the day.
20/11/1926m 5s

Ep. 132 - No you weren't duped about Rodney Reed

Now that Rodney Reed's execution has been stopped, people are wondering if they were duped about Rodney Reed. The answer is no. Shaun unpacks the details.
18/11/1926m 12s

Ep. 131 - Married to the Movement :: Sneak Peek

A special preview episode of the brand new podcast from Rai and Shaun King called “Married to the Movement”
16/11/1959m 50s

Ep. 130 - New Action Steps for Rodney Reed

We have just 4 days left to save the life of Rodney Reed. Today Shaun is leading our action steps and needs all hands on deck.
15/11/1911m 14s

Ep. 129 - Colin Kaepernick, Deval Patrick, and 5 Days Left to Save Rodney Reed

Today Shaun unpacks and explains the NFL's decision to grant Colin Kaepernick a "tryout" 3 years after banning him from the league. Shaun also gives his thoughts on the announcement of Deval Patrick that he's running for President. And concludes with new action steps for Rodney Reed.
14/11/1921m 23s

Ep. 128 - 6 days left for us to #FreeRodneyReed

We only have 6 days left to save a man who is provably innocent. Today, Shaun gives updates about the state of Rodney's case and unpacks our action steps for today. Rodney's team is undeterred, and so are we. Let's keep pushing!!
13/11/1918m 32s

Ep. 127 - You can't execute a man for allegations

In 7 days, Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed. Allegations that he was never charged for are now being floated out to justify his execution. That's the literal definition of a lynching.
12/11/1910m 45s

Ep. 126 - Chesa Boudin elected the new DA of San Francisco

Today Shaun celebrates a huge organizing victory in San Francisco and gives us an update and new Action Steps for Rodney Reed
12/11/1925m 13s

Ep. 125 - 11 days until the execution of Rodney Reed

We have just 11 days left to organize and fight back to save the life of Rodney Reed. Today Shaun gives new updates on how our action steps are working and speaks on the rally tomorrow in Austin.
08/11/1912m 21s

Ep. 124 - Can you make these phone calls?

We have just 12 days left to save the life of Rodney Reed. Today Shaun gives us updates on the case and asks all of us to make very specific phone calls on Rodney's behalf.
07/11/1916m 43s

Ep. 123 - 13 days away from the scheduled execution of Rodney Reed

Today we need you to make these phone calls to help save the life of Rodney Reed.
06/11/1914m 50s

Ep. 122 - 14 days away from the scheduled execution of Rodney Reed

The State of Texas is now just 14 days away from executing a demonstrably innocent man. We need all hands on deck. Today Shaun unpacks and explains our action steps and makes a very special announcement about his brand new book, Make Change!
05/11/1914m 31s

Ep. 121 -

We now have 15 days to save the life of an innocent man on death row in Texas. Today Shaun unpacks our big action steps for today. Let's GO!
04/11/1916m 21s

Ep. 120 - We must ALL help to free Rodney Reed

In 20 days Texas is scheduled to execute an innocent man. We must all work to free him. Shaun is dedicating the next 20 days to this, but we need all hands on deck.
01/11/1921m 22s

Ep. 119 - When leaders go against the will of the people

Today Shaun unpacks and explains three stories from San Francisco, Austin, and Baltimore where leaders are going against the will of the people. Listen and take our action steps to fight back.
31/10/1925m 20s

Ep. 118 - BANG! BANG! BANG!

Legendary comedy John Witherspoon has passed away. Today Shaun plays three of his favorite clips from “Pops,” as he was often called, and speaks on the importance of laughter and comedy to get us through life.
30/10/1919m 9s

Ep. 117 - Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires

As wildfires break out all over California, the state continues to use incarcerated men to fight the fires, but then effectively bans them from ever being firefighters once they serve their time.
29/10/1920m 12s

Ep. 116 - We need fewer police officers

Did you see the horrible abuse by the NYPD of teenagers on the subway? One reason that happened is that New York simply has too many police officers. The whole country does. And until we drastically reduce that number, they will always find people to arrest and brutalize.
28/10/1920m 48s

Ep. 115 - What's the plan?

What’s the plan to change the criminal justice system? Do you know it? Read it? Heard about it? Plans do exist, but a plan is only as effective as the ability of everyday people to repeat it back to you. Today, Shaun unpacks and explains why we need to be on board for the plan.
25/10/1915m 48s

Ep. 114 - WTF Zuck?

Not only is Facebook failing to protect our elections, they are now knowingly, openly allowing admitting that their new policy is to allow political campaigns to openly lie and mislead voters in their ads. Today, Shaun takes us through Zuckerberg's horrible testimony before Congress yesterday and plays highlights from some of the smartest questions he was asked.
24/10/1921m 2s

Ep. 113 - Bill MF'n Taylor

Yesterday, an ambassador to Ukraine testified before congress for 10-hours about Trump. The ambassador's name is Bill Taylor, and we believe that Bill Taylor will become a household name one day. His testimony about Trump was that damning. Today, Shaun breaks down what makes that testimony worthy of Bill Taylor becoming famous.
23/10/1922m 23s

Ep. 112 - Donald Trump says he's being lynched

Earlier this morning, when Trump called the impeachment inquiry a "lynching," he was making a deeply problematic statement. While Shaun digs into just how absurd this statement is, he also addresses how difficult it is to live in a time dictated by Trump's outrageous tweets. To effectively fight for justice, we can't constantly spend our energy and time on Trump. We have too much to fight for.
22/10/1922m 53s

Ep. 111 - The Watchmen

HBO's new show "The Watchmen" depicts the early 1920s in Tulsa, OK in the time of the Tulsa Race Riots. The release of the Watchman marks the first time in a century that the Black Wall Street Massacre of 1921 is accurately portrayed in mainstream media. On today's episode, Shaun digs into the significance of this show, and breaks down why it took 98 years to tell the truth about our own history.
21/10/1923m 13s

Ep. 110 - Texas Governor Wants to Ban Sitting in Public

In today's world, we hear terms like "War on Poverty" used often, but we don't always dig into what that means. The War on Poverty is constructed out of tens of thousands of laws and ordinances. On today's episode, we examine the policies that criminalize homelessness. There are certain cities and states that are making an effort to roll-back those policies, but many politicians, businesses, and police unions are opposing these reforms. To break down exactly what that looks like, Shaun focuses in on a specific ordinance in Austin, TX and lays out what we can do to support one mayor's efforts to decriminalize homelessness.
18/10/1928m 57s

Ep. 109 - Impeachment & Passing of Elijah Cummings

The President of the United States is publicly committing crimes as we speak. While you might say that we've known for a long time that Donald Trump is corrupt, there's something unique about just how blatant and unapologetic the crimes are that he is currently committing. We can't allow ourselves become numb to this. On today's episode, Shaun breaks down just how illegal and unacceptable the actions of Trump and his administration are. He also reflects on the passing of Elijah Cummings and pays tribute to the late member of Congress.
17/10/1915m 23s

Ep. 108 - Murder of Atatiana Jefferson + 3 Historic Endorsements

Last weekend, Fort Worth police officers shot and killed 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her own home. She was in her house playing video games with her nephew. Since Saturday, the police officer who shot Atatiana was arrested and charged with murder. It's a horrible tragedy, and on today's episode, Shaun breaks down the nuances of this case. He also reports on three people who made an important endorsement in the 2020 presidential race. 1:08 PM
16/10/1925m 54s

Ep. 107 - Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey Doesn’t Care About Black People

Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the US and, while it should be a trendsetter for reform, it is the nation’s largest jail system. LA is the perfect example of why this country so desperately needs progressive district attorneys because Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey is the opposite. Today, Shaun breaks down just how awful DA Jackie Lacey’s track record is on justice reform and the consequences of her actions.
11/10/1929m 52s

Ep. 106 - We’re In a Constitutional Crisis

When a sitting United States President looks at Congress and says that he or she simply will not do what Congress asks, then we are in crisis. That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday afternoon when Donald Trump declared that he will not participate in the  impeachment process. Today, Shaun breaks down just how dangerous this action is, and what  the implications are.
10/10/1910m 57s

Ep. 105 - Solving the Murder of Joshua Brown

Joshua Brown, a father of three young children, was brutally murdered last Friday. As you may know, Joshua was a key witness in the murder trial of Amber Guyger. Ten days after he testified, he was targeted and shot to death outside of his home. Today, Shaun breaks down this open investigation to explain exactly what happened in the courtroom when Joshua testified and how it changes our understanding of Joshua’s murder.
08/10/1912m 5s

Ep. 104 - 30,000 Tiny Justice Systems

The United States does not have one justice system or one legal system. We often talk about changing the system, but in reality, we have 30,000 micro systems. Each micro system has its own set of rules, laws, and politics, which is simultaneously great news in our fight to change the status quo, as well as horrible news. Today. Shaun breaks down what this means.
07/10/1913m 46s

Ep. 103 - Just Checking In!

Due to the North Star moving into new offices, we will not be able to record a new episode for today. We are working around the clock today and through the weekend to complete the move. Thanks for checking in and have a great day!
04/10/191m 53s

Ep. 102 - Amber Guyger verdict and response

On today's episode, Shaun unpacks and explains the 10 year prison sentence that was handed down to Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. He also addresses some of the fallout the verdict including the direct reactions of the family, the judge and a bailiff in the courtroom.
04/10/1928m 31s

Ep. 101 - They found her guilty!

Just hours ago, Amber Guyger received a guilty verdict for the murder of Botham Jean. No verdict can make up for the loss and pain that the family has suffered, but even this version of justice is  virtually unprecedented. On today's episode,  Shaun breaks down what makes this case different from the countess other cases that have been denied guilty verdicts by America's legal system.
01/10/1915m 30s

Ep. 100 - The case for impeachment

The case for impeachment is all over the news, and Trump's reaction has been extreme. Today, Shaun breaks down the case for impeachment in the context of Trump's entire presidency and highlights the gravity of his "Civil War" comments.
30/09/1934m 26s

Ep. 99 - Two urgent trials underway

The murder trials of the police officers who murdered Botham Jean and Anthony Hill are both underway right now. Shaun breaks down why these two cases are SO  important in the fight for justice. We all need to be watching and listening to how these two trials go down.
27/09/1912m 27s

Ep. 98 - Our phone calls are working

Remember the 5 children that we told you about who were being charged with a murder that they didn't commit (ep. 89)? After that episode, thousands of you made phone calls and wrote emails. Well, largely because of you, those murder charges have been dropped. In the last 95 episodes of this podcast, we've learned a lot about what makes our Action Steps truly work. We know that the calls we ask you to make can be tough, which is why we're going to break down our tips and tricks to keep in mind when taking Action Steps.  Today, Shaun not only celebrates our shared successes, but gives a tutorial about how to make phone calls that truly help to make change.
26/09/1921m 16s

Ep. 97 - How mass shootings are getting little kids arrested in schools

So many of the stories we hear in the news are horrendous. But too often, we don't investigate the root causes of the stories we're outraged by. So, after reporting instances of young children being arrested on our last two episodes, Shaun digs into the root cause of these stories. He breaks down his theory that events like this only happen in the United States because of the abundance of guns here.
25/09/1917m 16s

Ep. 96 - 7-year-old arrested in San Antonio elementary school

All over the country, black girls and boys as young as six are being arrested for minor behavior problems. On today's episode, Shaun continues his conversation on this issue by focusing on how schools nationwide are failing to implement systems and structures that better support these children.
24/09/1917m 13s

Ep. 95 - 6-year-old arrested for tantrum at school

The United States may be the only nation in the world where a 6-year-old child could be handcuffed, arrested, put in a police car, finger printed, and jailed over a tantrum they had in class. And that is exactly what happened last week in Orlando, Florida.  This case exposes exactly what the school to prison pipeline looks like and on today’s episode Shaun digs into the extent to which Black girls are criminalized in our schools and in our society.
23/09/1914m 24s

Ep. 94 - 3 white kids beat a 12-year-old Black boy

Last week, several white students brutally assaulted a 12-year-old Black boy in a locker room at their school. Today, Shaun digs into the case and breaks down the dynamics at play between parents, children, and schools. It’s not enough to watch these horrible videos and to be outraged. We need to learn from them about how to intervene and stand up for justice in an everyday way.
19/09/1913m 49s

Ep. 93 - 4 New Candidates to Flip the Senate

Since Flip the Senate launched one month ago, we have seen mass shootings, natural disasters, and the abysmal reaction of our government to each of these tragedies remind us how urgent our mission is to Flip the Senate in 2020. Today, Shaun reveals the next four candidates who we are going to push for and fight for because they're the right people to win their state!! Let's do this!!
12/09/1919m 39s

Ep. 92 - Why I’m Still Boycotting the NFL

Colin Kaepernick played his last game in the NFL 924 days ago simply because he had the nerve to have a silent, peaceful protest against police brutality and systemic injustice before each game. This season Shaun is continuing his personal boycott of the NFL, and on today's episode, he breaks down why.
11/09/199m 21s

Ep. 91 - Have you made a decision?

Shaun gets asked one questions more than any other -- "How do I change the world?" To give you an answer, Shaun needs to ask you an even bigger question: What are you going to fight for? Making a conscious, honest decision about what you're going to fight for is not simple. It's complicated and personal. And all of us need to make that decision to make real meaningful change. In this unscripted episode, Shaun walks through what it takes to make that decision.
10/09/1917m 5s

Ep. 90 - They made them get off of the ship

After last week’s devastation in the Bahamas, tens of thousands of people are now homeless and evacuations have begun. Last night, when hundreds of men, women, and children arrived to the United States, they were ordered away. They had the proper documentation, but they were told that US Customs and Border Patrol had issued the order to not let them in.
09/09/1914m 49s

Ep. 89 - The Murder Rule

Have you heard of the murder rule? Most countries in the world have gotten rid of this rule. But not only is the rule still in place in most states in the US, but right now, five teenagers may face life in prison for a murder that they did not commit because of this rule. We have action steps at the end of this episode so that we can come together and intervene.
06/09/1926m 51s

Ep. 88 - The Climate Crisis

If you don’t care about the climate crisis, it might be the case that you don’t fully understand what’s ahead and how it impacts every single one of us – particularly the most marginalized nations and communities of the world. We need all hands on deck.
05/09/1913m 39s

Ep. 87 - Let’s change Jefferson’s Manual of House Rules

Did you know that it is against the rules of the United States Congress for members to call the President, or the words and actions of the President, racist? It’s true. Let’s change them.
04/09/1915m 19s

Ep. 86 -

A 7 person panel of experts took a deep dive into every dollar Shaun King has ever raised as a leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement including 5 years of his tax returns, 10 years of banking, and every single fundraiser Shaun has ever participated in.
03/09/1924m 24s

Ep. 85 - All of Our Action Step Victories!

The Breakdown is not just here to change the news, it's here to change the world. On today's episode, Shaun goes back over our first four months to celebrate all of the hard fought Action Step victories that we've had together - including two that actually start today! Together we're making the world a better place!!
29/08/1920m 55s

Ep. 84 - The Police Murder of De’Von Bailey

Police in Colorado Springs shot teenager De’Von Bailey repeatedly in his back as he ran away from them. What do the laws say about this? And what can we do about it? On today’s episode Shaun dives in to the unique dangers of being Black, armed, and confronted by American police.
27/08/1920m 1s

Ep. 83 - Guess how many people are dying per day in jails & prisons

Most people could not name anyone, other than Jeffrey Epstein, who was killed or died in jail in the United States. While about 1,200 people are killed by police per year in this country, nearly 5,000 people die in America’s jails and prisons. On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down the conditions behind those numbers and has an action step for you.
26/08/1942m 47s

Ep. 82 - Where did all that damn money Shaun King has raised go? (ANSWERS)

Today, Shaun openly and honestly addresses some of the more critical questions that he often hears about how his fundraisers work and what his finances are like.
23/08/1950m 18s

Ep. 81 - @NC_Governor, Veto House Bill 370!

At least 7 different elected sheriffs in North Carolina have stated that they will not cooperate with ICE. So, yesterday, in a very dangerous vote, North Carolina state legislators passed House Bill 370 which would force sheriffs to cooperate with ICE. Shaun is going to unpack this bill on today’s episode, and asks you to take action because North Carolina’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has the power to veto this bill!
21/08/1919m 9s

Ep. 80 - When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

Five years ago, Eric Garner was murdered by an NYPD officer. Yesterday, the police officer responsible for his murder finally was fired from the force. On today’s episode, Shaun unpacks the incredible amount of backlash from white police officers and police unions.
20/08/1915m 36s

Ep. 79 - About YOUR Mayor and Justice Reform

On many episodes of The Breakdown, we have clearly laid out the sway that local DAs have over legal system. Today Shaun breaks down the role of an actor whose importance often gets overlooked — your local mayor. Many people are unaware of just how much power their mayor has over the landscape of their local legal system, so let’s dig in!
16/08/1915m 47s

Ep. 78 - Jay-Z was wrong

Yesterday, the NFL announced a wide-ranging partnership with Jay-Z and his company, Roc-Nation, mainly to promote music and social justice work. They made this announcement on the 3-year-anniversary of the first day Colin Kaepernick took a knee in the NFL. On today’s episode, Shaun is open about how he feels about this partnership.
15/08/1912m 52s

Ep. 77 - Now they want to rewrite the poem at the feet of the Statue of Liberty

In interviews this week, Trump’s head of US Citizenship & Immigration Services first suggested rewriting the beautiful poem at the feet of the Statue of Liberty, and then later claimed that it was only meant for Europeans in the first place. On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down exactly what happened in these interviews. When the administration of America is trying to rewrite what this country stands for, we need to take the time to understand exactly what we’re up against.
14/08/1912m 46s

Ep. 76 - Are you racist?

Do you think that you are racist? In all likelihood, your answer is no, but it’s a trick question. Most of us don’t think about what it really means to be “not racist” in today’s world. On today’s episode, Shaun is asking us to challenge our understanding of racism as he lays out a path toward better definitions of what racism is and isn’t.
13/08/1915m 19s

Ep. 75 -

Today, we are launching a 15-month campaign to flip the Senate. Flipping the Senate is a national emergency, and we need to out-organize our opponents. On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down why we need to organize like our lives depend on it, and introduces you to 7 candidates.
12/08/1924m 34s

Ep. 74 - The largest ICE raid in American history

On Wednesday, nearly 700 people were taken from their jobs in the middle of Mississippi’s first day of school in the largest ICE raid in American history. Words cannot describe the pain that so many people have experienced in the past week. On today’s episode, Shaun needs you to hear the voices of these people themselves. Because we can’t detach ourselves. We need to double-down to organize better and faster.
09/08/1920m 48s

Ep. 73 - Just Checking In

Due to a family emergency, Shaun is unable to record a full podcast for today. But he still wants to remind you to visit and/or in order to register for a special phone call on this coming Monday. Stay tuned for tomorrows episode!.
08/08/191m 39s

Ep. 72 - I need you to focus

Sometimes it is hard to know whether the world is actually getting more cruel or whether we only feel like it is because we are living in the age of social media and information. Today, Shaun digs into that question. He asks us to acknowledge and accept how overwhelming this moment feels. And then channel all of our feelings into focus and determination.
07/08/1913m 29s

Ep. 71 - I had no idea the NRA did this in 45 states

In the aftermath of this weekend’s deadly hate crimes, we uncovered that the NRA has been helping to write laws that ban cities from making their own gun laws for the past 38 years. Over 45 states have these laws in place. It’s time to take action against these laws.
06/08/1917m 46s

Ep. 70 - The deadliest hate crime since 1921

Right now, we are living in the age of the deadliest hate crime in 98 years. And people are asking what we can do about it. To really understand what we can do, Shaun needs us to zoom out. On today's episode, he gets historical and talks about how human history follows a trend of having high-highs and low-lows. Shaun makes the case that we are currently living at an extremely low point in history. And today, Shaun is going to tell you about the path he sees for us to start climbing out of this low point.
05/08/1928m 39s

Ep. 69 - 10-year-old Charged with Felony Assault for Dodgeball

If you have ever played a game of dodgeball, you have seen kids get hurt, end-up with bloody noses. You know that it happens. Last week in Michigan, a ten-year-old boy was charged with adult felony assault for accidentally injuring another child in a school-sanctioned game of dodgeball. Shaun breaks down the larger problem in America’s school system that this case exposes and ends with an action step for us to take together.
02/08/1917m 50s

Ep. 68 - Court rules that white men are now a protected class of minority

A protected class is a legal phrase designed to protect oppressed and marginalized groups of people. Can we agree that no one in America has more privilege thant a white, straight, cis, man? Last week, a court ruling determined that white men are a protected class. It is outrageous. On today’s episode, Shaun digs in to the case and the ruling to break down exactly what happened.
31/07/1918m 7s

Ep. 67 - What’s your position on the death penalty?

The United States is the only nation in the world that has more guns than people. And this weekend, we saw two mass shootings on opposite sides of the country. On today’s episode, we are unpacking why we have so much carnage in this country and yet so little change. Have you guessed yet what Shaun will be breaking down? It’s time to talk about the NRA.
30/07/1925m 25s

Ep. 66 - 27 people shot. Now what?

The United States is the only nation in the world that has more guns than people. And this weekend, we saw two mass shootings on opposite sides of the country. On today’s episode, we are unpacking why we have so much carnage in this country and yet so little change. Have you guessed yet what Shaun will be breaking down? It’s time to talk about the NRA.
29/07/1916m 45s

Ep. 65 - You Stupid N***ers: How We Must Approach Racism in 2019 and Beyond

Of course we were all outraged when we saw the video of Nancy Goodman walking right up to two young black customers and calling them “stupid n—.” We don’t need to break down how problematic this incident is. Instead, Shaun is going to break down how important it is to be mindful of how we react to moments of blatant racism like this. Racism has victims. It is violent and it spreads. And our reaction to it matters.
26/07/1917m 18s

Ep. 64 - You Asked, Shaun Answers: July Edition

We log every question you email us. Then, every month, we sort through those questions and pick the 7 most commonly asked questions. Today, Shaun answers the questions from July. We love hearing from you — email your questions to with the subject line “You Asked, Shaun Answers”.
25/07/1928m 31s

Ep. 63 - Revolution in Puerto Rico, Cops Fired, Ethnic Cleansing

Massive protests are going on in Puerto Rico. Two cops in Louisiana were fired on Monday after saying that they’d like to shoot and kill Alexandria Occasio-Cortez. Palestinians are being forcefully evicted from their homes. On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down these stories and what they say about the moment of history that we’re in.
24/07/1920m 29s

Ep. 63 - Revolution in Puerto Rico, Cops Fired, Ethnic Cleansing

Massive protests are going on in Puerto Rico. Two cops in Louisiana were fired on Monday after saying that they’d like to shoot and kill Alexandria Occasio-Cortez. Palestinians are being forcefully evicted from their homes. On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down these stories and what they say about the moment of history that we’re in. 
23/07/1915m 26s

Ep. 62 - Local Media Supports Mass Incarceration

Voters in America’s largest cities are voting for radical criminal justice reform. City by city, we are electing progressive district attorneys and ousting conservative candidates who perpetuate the systems behind mass incarceration. But we are now seeing something new as state governments systematically strip away the powers of DAs. In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down who exactly is helping conservative politicians limit the power of progressive DAs.
22/07/1922m 25s

Ep. 61 - Racism is an impeachable offense

What does it mean for the President of the United States to make explicitly racist statements in public? Can an explicitly biased person “faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States?” On today’s episode, Shaun breaks down why explicit bias is illegal in this country. The President of the United States has broken those laws this week. Are you wondering what can be done about it? Let’s dig in.
19/07/1934m 43s

Ep. 60 - Why I think that we will win

Trump’s rally last night was one of the most racist public moments in modern political history. Public racism has hit a modern peak. It is so dangerous, so despicable, that we had to move faster than expected. On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun is introducing The Action PAC — to help us all organize for change. Let’s go!
18/07/1922m 32s

Ep. 59 - How To Make Change

Tomorrow, Eric Garner's murder will have taken place exactly five years ago. Today, we found out that no charges will be filed against the NYPD officer that murdered him. It's horrifying. So many people and systems have failed the Garner family. Shaun is dedicating a triple-length episode to work through how we got here. Because we can grow. We can move forward. But first, there are key lessons that we must learn about how to really effect change.
17/07/1954m 51s

Ep. 58 - About Trump’s Most Racist Tweets

Trump has done so many blatantly racist things, that it probably felt like you couldn’t be shocked ever again. On Sunday morning, he publicly targeted 4 young women of color, Congresswomen, in a Tweet. Shaun is going to break down how we got to this point and will unpack how much danger his words put people of color into.
16/07/1919m 39s

Ep. 58 - About Trump’s Most Racist Tweets

Trump has done so many blatantly racist things, that it probably felt like you couldn’t be shocked ever again. On Sunday morning, he publicly targeted 4 young women of color, Congresswomen, in a Tweet. Shaun is going to break down how we got to this point and will unpack how much danger his words put people of color into. 
15/07/1919m 39s

Ep. 57 - Look How Far We've Come!

In the last 7 days, more than 6000-people have joined The Breakdown Crew. Today, Shaun breaks down what we achieved together and how we're going to keep the momentum going. Thanks to the energy of our listeners, this podcast has grown into a tool for organizing and change in a way we never expected, so we're taking a minute to thank you. At the end of today's episode, Shaun lays out his favorite episodes of our show so far and lets you know that we are taking a short break. We will be back in a few weeks!
21/06/196m 23s

Ep. 56 - Don’t worry, they found the Barbie Doll box.

You have probably seen the horrible video of police brutality that emerged out of Phoenix at the end of May. When demanding justice for these horrible instances of police brutality, it can be easy for our responses to become routine. Today Shaun explains why justice is so hard to come by in cases like this. Because sometimes we need to be reminded of the larger systems that we’re facing, in order for our fight for justice to be effective.
20/06/1918m 26s

Ep. 55 - Join Us!

The North Star has always been about liberation, abolition, and freedom. It was about change when Frederick Douglass and Martin Delaney founded the newspaper in 1847, and it still is. Our listeners on The Breakdown have blown us away with your commitment to fight for change with us. You've inspired us, and this week, we're going all in.  We are getting systems in place to organize at a new and bigger scale - we're building a team that we need you to join.
19/06/192m 32s

Ep. 54 - Trump Crossed a Bright Red Line + Action Steps

Trump tweeted a dangerous statement last night – one that should have us all alarmed. With Trump’s reelection campaign kicking off tonight, we need to be more alert than ever because if he acts on his threats, the results would be disastrous. Shaun also needs us to know about two new candidates for Congress in 2020 because just as we need to be vigilant, we also need to be hopeful.
18/06/1923m 21s

Ep. 53 - Let’s Pass a Law Together!

Sometimes when you want to make change, there comes a moment that you just can’t pass on. It’s too big. Today is one of those days. There is a bill currently in the New York state legislature that needs to pass if we want to dismantle the structures of mass incarceration.  It’s a strong bill that will actively counteract the damage done by the War on Drugs. But it’s about to be watered down. And we have three days to make sure that it passes just the way it is. Let’s go!!
17/06/1915m 43s

Ep. 52 - "Choosing to Cheat"

Every single day of your life, something gets cheated. It could be your health, your relationships, or your work. On this short freestyle episode, Shaun speaks clearly about how you must make the tough choice on what gets cheated - or life will choose for you - and the results can be disastrous.
14/06/195m 19s

Ep. 51 - Tiffany Cabán is a Game Changer

If we want to change the criminal justice system from the inside out, we must elect reform-minded district attorney's. Tiffany Cabán, a public defender, is currently running for district attorney in Queens, NY and she is a game changer. If every county and every city could elect a candidate like her, let alone get people like her to run, our criminal justice system would change overnight. On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun tells you about Tiffany Cabán and what he thinks is “the most important election in the country right now.”
13/06/1917m 13s

Ep. 50 - #SudanUprising

A revolution is fully underway in Sudan. Protests started in 2018. On April 11th, 2019, the long-standing dictator stepped down due to pressure from protestors. But now the military is slaughtering those protestors. These three sentences sum-up what we know from mainstream media outlets, but it’s not enough! Today’s episode of the Breakdown is dedicated to breaking down the nuanced historical and political context of this conflict because true understanding is the first step to showing solidarity with the Sudanese protestors. It’s a global responsibility!
12/06/1922m 24s

Ep. 49 - The Problematic Privilege of White NBA Fans

Casual bigotry is on the rise. Civility and kindness toward fellow humans has become less normal. Yesterday NBA fans laughed in the face of Kevin Durant’s injury, and today, Shaun exposes what the casual cruelty of NBA fans says about the times in which we live.
11/06/1914m 31s

Ep. 48 - Our Action Steps Are Working!

You are helping to make change every time you take an action step from The Breakdown. Your participation is integral to fulfilling our vision at The North Star — to create news that fits the needs of our times by being more transparent, more action-oriented, and more nuanced. On today’s episode, we’re reporting back on the progress that we have been seeing from the action steps thanks to your work.
10/06/1918m 52s

Ep. 47 - Action Steps: The Central Park Five, Part III

We need to fight for the justice we get. Today, Shaun needs us to fight together to hold the corrupt prosecutors in the Central Park Five case accountable. The last two episodes of The Breakdown were dedicated to tackling the injustices of the Central Park Five case because, for our fight to work, we need to be organized and informed.
07/06/1916m 4s

Ep. 46 - Imbler v. Pachtman: The Central Park Five, Part II

Have you heard of Imbler v. Pachtman? Most people haven’t. It is a Supreme Court case that gives America’s prosecutors and district attorneys absolute immunity, even for the worst misconduct. Shaun breaks it down for you today, because to get justice in the Central Park Five case, we must first understand that prosecutorial corruption is essentially legal in this country. ***This episode contains a description of sexual assault.***
06/06/1917m 8s

Ep. 45 - "When They See Us": The Central Park Five, Part I

Ava Duvernay’s new Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” is powerful. It is an example of what strong storytelling is capable of. Because of her work, we now have a unique opportunity to fight for justice in a decades-old case. The next three episodes of The Breakdown will be dedicated to the infamous 1989 case known as the Central Park Five and Shaun will lead us in a renewed fight against old injustices.
05/06/1912m 58s

Ep. 44 - You Asked, Shaun Answers: June Edition

We hear questions from you, our listeners, all the time. Sometimes they get personal, sometimes they are serious, and sometimes they're downright silly. Shaun will answer your questions in a special episode once per month, and here's our June Edition! Today Shaun answers your questions about everything from time management to self-care to whether he has personal beef with Joe Biden.
04/06/1926m 21s

Ep. 43 - Cops are Racist AF

Buzzfeed and Injustice Watch just released a study called “Good Day for a Chokehold,” and it is revolutionary. The report gives us quantifiable proof that American police are bigoted by diving into the social media posts of thousands of police officers. Today’s episode is all about the findings of this study, because having hard, quantitative data to prove what we already knew is a big deal.
03/06/1916m 48s

Ep. 42 - Prisons Ban Books on Liberation and Freedom

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks the news that Illinois has banned over 200 books in their library – books about race, justice, freedom, and liberation. Shaun needs us to take the action steps that he lays out in this episode to fight back against a decision that furthers the cycle of oppression in our system of mass incarceration.
31/05/1914m 6s

Ep. 41 - How to Choose a Presidential Candidate - Part 2

On today's episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King continues the conversation from episode 25 on how to figure out which candidates to support in the 2020 American presidential election. With the democratic field changing every day, our analysis of candidates has to be ongoing, and Shaun is here to break it down for you.
29/05/1935m 42s

Ep. 40 - Police Murder an Unarmed Kid + Bigots Get Elected Across Europe

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King tells us two stories. Shaun exposes that the San Antonio Police Department attempted to cover-up the murder of a teenage boy, Charles Roundtree, and gives us some clear action steps. Shaun also reports on the recent election in Europe and unpacks why it matters so much.
28/05/1915m 42s

Ep. 39 - Self Care

Instead of a full episode today, Shaun just has a quick message from the Breakdown team wishing everyone a restful, extended weekend. See you back here on Tuesday.

Ep. 38 - Life in Prison for Selling Weed

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King tells the story of Michael Thompson who is currently serving a life sentence in Michigan for selling weed. To fully understand the injustice that Michael is experiencing, Shaun needs you to understand the truth about the relationship between profit and oppression in the United States. Let’s #FreeMichaelThompson!
23/05/1917m 24s

Ep. 37 - Philadelphia Has a New Sheriff in Town

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King celebrates the election of Rochelle Bilal as Philadelphia’s new sheriff. Philadelphia is doing more to dismantle mass incarceration than any city in the country, and everywhere else needs to follow suit.
22/05/1917m 10s

Ep. 36 - Black Trans Women are Being Murdered

Shaun King dedicates today’s episode of The Breakdown to Muhlaysia Booker. Muhlaysia was a Black transgender woman who was shot and killed this weekend - and this horrible violence against her must push us to action. Shaun pushes all of us to confront the violence toward Black trans women in our country, and breaks down what we must do to intervene.
21/05/1922m 38s

Ep. 35 - Forgive All Student Loan Debt

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King celebrates Robert F. Smith’s announcement to forgive the student loan debt of every graduating senior at Morehouse College. Shaun uses the story as a jumping-off point to dig into the student loan crisis in this country and then closes with his thoughts on Grady Wayne Wilkes.
20/05/1913m 49s

Ep. 34 - Seeking Justice for Pamela Turner

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun digs into the horrible police shooting that happened earlier this week in Baytown, Texas. He lays out an important action step in order to press for justice in this case and then leaves us with a heartwarming story to end the difficult week on a note of hope.
17/05/1915m 59s

Ep. 33 - Joe Biden is the Father of Modern Mass Incarceration

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King breaks down Joe Biden’s recent comments defending his 1994 Crime Bill. To understand what the implications are of defending this bill, Shaun needs us to understand that mass incarceration in America was designed and planned to criminalize Blackness.
16/05/1932m 39s

Ep. 32 - “Do you really understand Roe v. Wade?”

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks how the recent measures in Georgia and Alabama that ban a woman’s right to choose could become law in 2019. Shaun digs into the constitutional history of Roe v. Wade and explains what it actually says today. There is so much outrage in the country over these measures, and Shaun needs us to understand that our organizing must match our outrage.
15/05/1918m 40s

Ep. 31 - Protect Rashida Tlaib

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks the lies that conservatives are telling about Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit. Yesterday, conservatives tried to frame Rashida Tlaib with a quote about the Holocaust that she never actually said, the mainstream media irresonsibly repeated the lie, and Shaun digs in to the larger context about what this means for conversations about Palestine in America.
14/05/1919m 11s

Ep. 30 - You Asked, Shaun Answers

On today's episode of The Breakdown, Shaun answers questions that our listeners have sent in over the last two months.
13/05/1928m 24s

Ep. 29 - The Red Sox chose whiteness over everything else

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks the decision of the Red Sox to visit the White House yesterday. Every white player and coach chose to visit President Trump despite the concerns of players and staff of color, and Shaun breaks down how this is a metaphor for white privilege in America.
10/05/1914m 21s

Ep. 28 - Shoot ‘em

On today’s episode of the Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks three stories: Trump laughing at the idea of immigrants being shot, progress in Tennessee thanks to our action steps, and students being shamed for not being able to afford school lunch. Each of these stories are just the tip of the iceberg, and Shaun is here to dive deeper with you.
09/05/1915m 0s

Ep. 27 - Sandra Bland filmed her own arrest

On today’s episode of the Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks new footage that Sandra Bland filmed when she was being arrested. This footage was kept from the public until now which exposes the disturbing truth about prosecutors, DAs, and our justice system.
08/05/1916m 8s

Ep. 26 - What Black Lives Matter Has Accomplished

In today’s good news episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks two bills that have the potential to impact the way that police brutality is legislated and encourages you to widely celebrate the importance of these bills so that no one can claim that Black Lives Matter “hasn’t accomplished anything.”
07/05/1915m 51s

Ep. 25 - How to Choose a Presidential Candidate - Part 1

In today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King breaks down how to figure out which candidate to support in the 2020 American presidential election and lays out why now is exactly the right moment to make that choice.
06/05/1918m 18s

Ep. 24 - Young black engineer murdered by white neighbor

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King outlines how you can help the family whose worst nightmare came true on April 15 when their Black son was murdered by his white neighbor, and who you can contact to take action against the Speaker of the House in Nashville who had his office falsify evidence to get a young Black man sent to jail.
03/05/1922m 22s

Ep. 23 - Police Officer Convicted of Murder in Minnesota

On today's episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King reports on the first murder conviction of a police officer in Minnesota's history and digs into why this conviction didn't surprise anybody.
02/05/1913m 9s

Ep. 22 - The 911 call after the murder of Botham Jean

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks and explains new audio that was just released from the 911 call made immediately after the murder of Botham Jean.
01/05/1919m 2s

Ep. 21 - Tribute to John Singleton

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks and explains the life and legacy of the brilliant filmmaker, John Singleton, who passed away on April 29. Shaun will also play and break down several clips from Boyz N The Hood — the most acclaimed film ever made by Singleton.
30/04/1918m 39s

Ep. 20 - Good news, Jay Z, and Ady Barkan

On this week’s good news episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King shares nothing but good news with stories featuring Jay Z and Shaun’s personal hero, Ady Barkan.
29/04/1919m 32s

Ep. 19 - Do you even have the right to vote?

In today’s episode, Shaun King breaks down the history of voting rights in America. As presidential candidates are starting to be asked about their stance on whether incarcerated people deserve the right to vote, Shaun needs us to understand the deep-rooted, and constitutional background of the issue.
26/04/1924m 9s

Ep. 18 - #JusticeForLucca

In today’s episode, Shaun King unpacks a horrible case of police brutality that occurred on April 18th against Lucca Rolle. Lucca was an unarmed, non-violent, 15-year-old boy getting McDonald’s in Coral Springs, FL when the police showed up. Shaun tells us what happened next, what it means, and what to do about it.
25/04/1918m 4s

Ep. 17 - Spring Break

Instead of a full episode, today's segment of the Breakdown is a quick message from Shaun.

Ep. 16 - Mueller, Mumia, and an Unarmed Woman Shot by Police

In this episode, Shaun King gives us his immediate thoughts about  the implications of the Mueller Report on the day after its release. He also shares an update on the appeal hearing of Mumia Abu-Jamal in Pennsylvania, and tells the horrible story of a young woman who was just shot by police in Connecticut, but has survived to tell the story.
19/04/1914m 19s

Ep. 15 - Mysonne, Singing at the Register, and Beyonce’s New Projects

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King shares nothing but good news. Starting in The Bronx, Shaun covers a powerful demonstration and moment of unity lead by the rapper and leader Mysonne, then covers a fun viral video that you have to hear and see to believe, and closes with his thoughts on Beyonce’s two new projects.
18/04/1913m 33s

Ep. 14 - How to Make Police Brutality Illegal – Part 3 of 3

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, the final episode in a 3 part series explaining the leading Supreme Court cases that make police brutality functionally legal in the United States, Shaun gives us action steps and solutions for how we make police brutality illegal. It won’t be easy or quick, but it’s necessary.
17/04/1912m 50s

Ep. 13 - Graham v. Connor – Police Brutality is Legal – Part 2 of 3

On today’s episode of The Breakdown Shaun unpacks the Supreme Court case, Graham v. Connor – and explains how it is now used alongside of Tennessee v. Garner to protect police from being held responsible for their brutality.
16/04/1919m 11s

Ep. 12 - Tennessee v. Garner - Police Brutality is Legal - Part 1 of 3

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King begins the first of a 3 part series on why police brutality is functionally legal in the United States by unpacking the Supreme Court cases that currently protect even the worst officers in cases of police brutality. For the next two days Shaun will explain the cases, then on the 3rd episode Shaun will tell us what we can do about it.
15/04/1917m 19s

Ep. 11 - Series Preview

For the next few days, Shaun is recording a special three part series that will begin this coming Monday.  It's really important and we needed just a little extra time to make sure that we nail it.  In the meantime, if you love what we're building here, we would encourage you to become a founding member at You will find hundreds of original articles and stories from some of the leading scholars and journalists in the world.

Ep. 10 - White domestic terrorist arrested for burning down Black churches

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks the news that a white supremacist was just arrested in Louisiana for burning down Black churches, covers the  toppling of  Sudan’s government, and gives us an update on the new House and Senate  Medicare for All bills.
11/04/1913m 36s

Ep. 9 - Bloods & Crips unite, Magic Johnson steps down, and Cincinnati makes bold criminal justice moves

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King shares some good news with us. The world can be an ugly place and the United States is often the epicenter of some of that ugliness, but that doesn’t mean nothing good is going on. Today Shaun shares three good news stories about unity emerging between the Bloods and Crips in Los Angeles, a shocking move from Magic Johnson, and the simple ways an American city is trying to make their justice system better.
10/04/1914m 58s

Ep. 8 - Genocide at the American border

In today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks and explains the  genocidal nature of the humanitarian crisis at the border between the United States and  Mexico. What we’ve learned over the past few days is that the Trump administration has been  attempting to continue the policy of separating children from their parents in spite of courts  ruling that it is illegal and must end. It’s hard to understand a moment of history when you are  in it, but right now, we are in a sick, demented point in American history.
09/04/1912m 47s

Ep. 7 - NYPD’s Chief Surgeon Lies & Says Eric Garner Was Never Even Choked

In today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King explains the outrageous conclusion by the Chief Surgeon of the NYPD that Eric Garner was never actually choked – in  spite of over 100 million people seeing the video of Garner clearly being choked to death by  Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Five years later, it’s outrageous that this case is still being investigated.  It’s simple. And the people who could actually do something about it lack the political courage  and will to do so. Today Shaun also has action items that we can all take together.
08/04/1920m 46s

Ep. 6 - White privilege is murdering 9 people and having all of the charges dropped

[EXPLICIT LANGUAGE] In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down the 2015 motorcycle massacre in Waco, Texas in which 9 people were shot to death. All charges were just shockingly dropped against the 177 people who were originally arrested in this case.
05/04/1914m 58s

Ep. 5 - When the Democratic Party Supports White Male Power

In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down a destructive new policy from the Democratic Party designed to prevent future candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley from challenging powerful white male incumbents.
04/04/1915m 30s

Ep. 4 - A Eulogy for Nipsey Hussle

In this episode of The Breakdown, Shaun King unpacks the life and death of Nipsey Hussle, explores the conversations now happening around the issue of Black on Black  violence, and offers the best way we can honor Nipsey and his legacy.
03/04/1926m 35s

Ep. 3 - Being sent back to prison, Facebook finally banning white supremacy, and why we must protect Ilhan Omar

In today's episode Shaun King breaks down the horrible story of a wonderful man who is being sent back to prison for a crime he already served his time for. Also, Shaun unpacks the recent decision of Facebook to finally ban white supremacy and white nationalism. Lastly, Shaun explains why we must all defend and protect Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
02/04/1913m 56s

Ep. 2 - How We Make Radical Changes in America’s Justice System

Are you outraged by injustice, police brutality, & mass incarceration in the United States but don’t know what to do about it? Start here as Shaun King breaks down how we can abolish the system together. Also, learn about 3 brilliant young leaders we can all support who are doing the work.
01/04/1917m 39s

Ep. 1 - Introduction to The Breakdown

A brief introduction from Shaun King on what to expect from The North Star’s first full episode of The Breakdown - a daily podcast that will analyze and break down the most pressing news stories of the day.
26/03/192m 35s
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