Almost a year ago, former Gov. Deval Patrick, who has a home in Richmond, was preparing to run for president.
His newest ambition, one over which he holds far more control, goes live today: “Being American,” a podcast that explores what it means to be a citizen of this country.
“Like so many of you, I’m trying to make sense of this moment in our nation’s history,” Patrick said in a email Thursday to supporters. “We’re in the crosshairs of a devastating pandemic, the fragile economy, racism toward Black and brown citizens, and uncertainty about the future.”
“At the same time, there is an awakening to truths about America’s unmet needs, and there are people working hard to find paths forward. This moment is guiding us, finally, to address what it means to be American,” he wrote.
And that, Patrick said, will guide interviews and topics to be addressed in the podcast.
Links to the series, which begins Friday, can be found at beingamericanpodcast.com.
Patrick’s first guest is Anand Giridharadas, a journalist and author who the former governor describes as a “prominent activist who believes in the possibility of greatness and redemption in the American story.”
“Over the next few weeks, I will have conversations with people of uncommon wisdom,” Patrick told supporters of his TogetherFUND project. Among future podcast guests: Ice Cube, James Taylor, Mehrsa Baradaran, Charles Booker and Deidre DeJear.
“I hope these conversations will provide a clearer understanding of who we are and what unites us,” he said.
The project is a partnership with MuddHouse Media. In a release, the company said Patrick seeks to use the weeks before a national election to engage, but not as a politician.
“Patrick will step back from politics to explore today’s national character in conversation with a diverse set of artists, actors, political activists, thought leaders and everyday strivers,” the company said.
Episodes will be available Tuesdays and Fridays. The company said the podcasts will explore ways to build community, think past hostility in U.S. politics, achieve social and economic justice and address climate change, among other concerns.
Patrick served as Massachusetts governor for eight years. Before that, he was a staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as assistant attorney general for civil rights and a practicing attorney.