Emerson Collective is launching a new podcast series, Almost There, spotlighting extraordinary leaders working to build a more fair and just world. The weekly show will premiere on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, and is hosted by acclaimed poet, lawyer, and social entrepreneur Reginald Dwayne Betts. Betts draws on his own remarkable life experiences in his interviews with Emerson Collective fellows to illuminate our collective path forward.
Almost There will introduce listeners to remarkable and creative problem solvers: architects, doctors, writers, voyagers, organizers, artists. Guests’ personal stories and perspectives—on topics ranging from teaching American history in the South to building better buildings and parks—showcase progress across education, the environment, immigration, health equity, and civic participation. Each episode contains powerful, actionable lessons for listeners on how to make social change.
For two decades, Betts has used his masterful storytelling abilities and unique voice as both a poet and a lawyer to explore incarceration in America. He’s been named a Senior Fellow at Emerson Collective, a MacArthur Fellow, a Harvard Radcliffe Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. Bett is also the founder of Freedom Reads, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit organization dedicated to installing hundreds of libraries inside prisons across the United States. With Freedom Reads, Betts hopes to inspire those who are incarcerated to imagine fresh possibilities for their lives through literature—an experience he had while incarcerated as a young man.
“Almost There is a platform for those who keep refusing to give up – who know there is a destination we are working towards,” said Betts. “We’re here to share important stories about the social change that’s possible, and inspire listeners to take action in their own communities.”
New episodes of Almost There will be released weekly on Tuesdays following the show’s launch on June 20. The podcast is available at no cost across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, and Pocket Casts. Season one guests include:
- Bestselling author Clint Smith on how America can improve at telling the truth about slavery’s history;
- Architect Michael Murphy, founder of MASS Design Group, on how better-designed architecture can improve public health;
- Social entrepreneurs Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, co-founders of GirlTrek, on how the radically simple act of walking could save the lives of millions of Black women;
- Strategist Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, on how young people can run for office and win;
- Entrepreneur Elise Smith, founder of Praxis Labs, on how we can build a better modern workplace;
- Nurse Sheila Davis, CEO of Partners In Health, on what the AIDS crisis taught her about keeping the world healthy; and
- Voyager Lehua Kamalu, Voyaging Director for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, on what she has learned sailing across oceans without a compass.
Almost There is brought to audiences in partnership with public media organization PRX––one of the world’s top podcast publishers––and is produced for Emerson Collective by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker of Magnificent Noise. Magnificent Noise produces shows including Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel, Together Apart for The New York Times, Far Flung for TED, and This Is Dating.
To learn more about and listen to Almost There, visit