Back in America

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January 22, 2021  

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings: On her Late Husband Elijah Cummings, Black Feminism, Civil Rights…

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In this episode of Back in America, I speak with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, political consultant, and activist. She recently ran to represent Maryland’s 7th District in Congress after undergoing a double mastectomy.

 

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is the widow of Congressman Elijah Cummings, a good friend of former Congressman John Lewis. When Lewis died in 2020, hundreds of Twitter account accidentally posted memorial photos of Cummings since the two looked so much alike!

 

On Back in America, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore. Cummings discusses the ongoing fight for civil rights. “I fight for the right to exist. I fight for the right of everyone to be recognized on the level of our common humanity. I fight for the history in this country that has been suppressed. I am the fourth generation from slavery in this country. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow South. My late husband, Elijah Cummings grew up in the Jim Crow South. They were born into a world that denied African Americans the right to exist,” she said.

 

We also spoke of Black feminism and the importance for Black women to take charge of their struggle against racist and institutionalized patriarchy.

In recent months, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has been working to publish We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy, her husband’s final, unfinished book. The book came out last September and she talks to me about the importance of getting her husband’s voice out there.

We're Better Than This - My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy

 

January 7, 2021  

The Promise of a Better Human: James Clement on our Transhuman futures

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In this week’s episode, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner takes a look at transhumanism, the philosophy, and ideology that the next stage in human evolution will arrive through artificial enhancements. Started in the early 1990s in Silicon Valley, transhumanism has accrued a wide variety of adherents, ranging from Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk to Jeffrey Epstein, who believe that the human body itself needs to be upgraded. In their minds, such technological enhancements will increase the quality of life and abilities of every human being––“if nature is unjust, change nature!”

 

But, are such transhumanist dreams even possible, and would such biological enhancements actually help transform the human race rather than reinforcing the social, racial, and economic divides which are tearing at the foundations of our democracy?

 

Joining us this week is James Clement, director of BetterHumans, the world’s first transhumanist-oriented biomedical research lab. A former international tax lawyer and brewpub founder, Clement now works on the scientific side of anti-aging, often collaborating with Havard geneticist George Church to discover why certain humans are able to live for more than 100 years. At the heart of his transhumanism rests a fundamental belief in human capabilities and their liberation, beliefs which motivate his biological research. For him, transhumanism is a real technology, fundamentally linked to medical vaccines, stitches, and contact lenses. The only difference is that, like any new technology, transhumanism is not fully understood, especially by Americans who are resistant to such changes.

 

At the core of this interview lies a concern that a so-called transhumanist utopia, while possible, may not be entirely desirable. Like Odysseus’ searching beyond the limits of human cognition in Dante’s Inferno, transhumanism crucially aspires to alter our relationship with our own bodies, potentially increasing carbon emissions, overpopulation, and racial/social inequalities.

 

James Clement: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwclement/ 

 

Transhumanist Manifesto: https://natashavita-more.com/transhumanist-manifesto/ 

 

Humanist Manifesto: https://zelalemkibret.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/humanist-manifestos.pdf 

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