Racial Justice

Elaine Thompson / AP Images


Savannah Maher / Wyoming Public Media

A growing list of arts, history and culture institutions, including the Boise Philharmonic, Idaho Botanical Garden, Opera Idaho and Treefort Music Fest, are committing to action steps within their own organizations as part of a greater community-wide effort to effect change to systemic racism.

MS507, Young Women’s Christian Association records / Idaho State Archives

We’re excited to share the most recent episode of Boise State Public Radio's Wanna Know Idaho podcast. The podcast explores the curious elements of life in Idaho… with you, our listeners!

This month, we answer listener Debra Smith's question: “Did Idaho have any housing discrimination laws during the Jim Crow era?”

MS507, Young Women’s Christian Association records / Idaho State Archives

Up until her retirement a few months ago, Debra Smith taught high school English in Meridian. Every year, she had her 11th graders read "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.

Keith Burrell / via Facebook


Even though the Black Lives Matter movement has dialed up the conversation across America about racial justice, more needs to be done to address systemic racism in local school districts across our nation. Idaho is no exception.

Tom Davenport / AP Images


Idaho Matters is continuing our deep dive into Idaho's racist history with Boise State University history professor Jill Gill. From Jim Crow-style practices in Boise from the 1940s and 1950s to the rise of the Aryan Nations in North Idaho in the 1980s and 1990s, we interrogate how our history of white supremacy manifested throughout the years — and what it means for today's push for a new reckoning of racial justice.  


Who Is Most At Risk For Police Violence?

Aug 6, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Over the past several years, the problem of police violence in the U.S. has garnered worldwide attention: the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Walter Scott in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015; and George Floyd in May 2020, among others.

Morgan Keating / City Club of Boise

In 1964, an assurance of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” was extended to Black America. 56 years have passed awaiting this to become a reality. Having allotted enough time for discussion,  it is time for palpable action. To be sure, housing, economics, jobs, education, and more play a significant role in the racism we see today. Today, millions of people are marching not because of those issues, but rather the issue of continued racist policing practices across the country.







screenshot / via Idaho Statesman


As the country continues to grapple with racial injustice and questions about white supremacy in 2020, we’re taking a critical look at Idaho’s racist past. We think it’s important to examine our roots so we can better understand how we got here today and what steps we can take to be a more inclusive and equitable place for everyone. 

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman


via Boise Arts & History Department


Have you heard of Erma Hayman? The Boisean lived a long and influential life, much of it spent in the historic River Street Neighborhood. Hayman, who was Black, was a leader in the community until her death at the age of 102 in 2009. The neighborhood was one of the only places in the capital city where Black people were able to live in the 1940s due to racist redlining policies and housing discrimination. 

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

As calls to defund the police continue in Boise and other cities across the country, a new chief of police is leading the department in Idaho's capital city. Chief Ryan Lee began his role July 1 after years working for the Portland Police Deparment. 

Ron Counts / Idaho Statesman


Since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May, organizations, businesses and higher education institutions have released statements in support of Black lives. But at universities which are predominantly white, a growing number of people say they’re disappointed by the lack of tangible change to policy and programs. 




Angie Smithers / via Idaho Statesman

Since we last had Dele Ogunrinola on Idaho Matters, his op-ed about being Black in Boise and America has been published by the Idaho Statesman. But that’s not all he’s been up to. 

Armando Franca / AP Images

This interview originally aired live on June 15, 2020.

The recent police killings of Black people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others have sparked a movement unlike any in recent memory, as calls to defund the police and dismantle white supremacy have moved into the mainstream. 

DARIN OSWALD / Idaho Statesman


(This interview is the first of a two-part show about policing in Idaho. You can find the second half — on defunding the police — here.)

After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, people around the country been asking tough questions about policing in America  including in Idaho. 

DARIN OSWALD / Idaho Statesman


(This interview is the second of a two-part show about policing in Idaho. You can find the first half — on the history of policing and the laws that protect officers — here.)


Amid the protests against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people by police in the the past months and years, activists quickly formulated one central demand: Defund the police.