About our podcast
It Did Happen Here is an independently produced podcast that documents the fight against racist white skinheads in the 1980’s and 90’s. The 11 episodes feature interviews with many people who worked together in those days and reveal the unlikely collaboration between groups of immigrants, civil rights activists, militant youth and queer organizers who came together to successfully confront neo-nazi violence and right wing organizing in the Rose City.
The podcast talks to three core groups: the Portland chapter of Anti Racist Action; SHARP- Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice; and the Coalition for Human Dignity. In out-and-out brawls on the streets and at punk shows, and in behind the scenes intelligence gathering to expose right wing and white nationalist organizing, the three groups united on their home ground over and over to attack fascists—and they won it back.
While she always had an interest in social justice, Celina really got into actively dismantling white supremacy in early 2017 after the presidential election the previous fall. As a part of this, she began volunteering at the community radio station, KBOO in Portland, OR, where she met Erin Yanke and Mic Crenshaw. As she learned about audio production, Celina’s desire to work in a podcast collective grew. Fast forward to 2019 when Erin invited Celina to work on the production that would eventually result in It Did Happen Here. For this podcast, Celina coordinated and conducted interviews, as well as provided narration. Going forward, Celina hopes to continue this work: collaborating with a team to create media that educates in an engaging manner, while shining a light on the racist history of the United States in hopes of one day achieving a reckoning for the injustices of the powerful against those they continue to oppress.
Mic Crenshaw was born on the Southside of Chicago, and raised both there and in Minneapolis. Mic is a world class MC and poet who has emerged on the national and international stage. As a teen in the late 80’s, Mic was embroiled in the violent streets of Minneapolis, leading groups to physically confront white supremacist gangs that were enforcing their will at local parks and social scenes. After beating back the neo-nazis, the violence remained, both in the streets and from authorities. Crenshaw decided it was time to escape it all and moved west to Portland, OR. Crenshaw says, “I wanted something new. [At the time] my ties with the streets were still pretty strong, and my social life involved drinking and fighting. I was ready for a change.”
In Portland, he quickly became one of the most respected artists in the Northwest. Beginning in ’94, Crenshaw was the front man for the beloved Portland live Hip Hop band, Hungry Mob. In 2001, Crenshaw won The Portland Poetry Slam Championship and went on to finish as a national finalist. The Portland Mercury writes, ‘Mic Crenshaw is a pretty mythic character… (with the Lifesavas) two of the very best hip-hop acts in PDX”. In 2009, Mic released his debut solo CD, “Thinking Out Loud”, which spent 10 weeks in the top 10 on College Music Journal’s (CMJ) National Radio Hip Hop Charts, peaking at number 4. Crenshaw’s 2nd solo release, ‘Under The Sun,’ was released in the winter of 2010. Single ‘Yeah’ peaked at #2 on CMJ’s Hip Hop Charts. In Portland, Mic’s community efforts expanded from the local to the global. At the close of a Human Rights conference he attended in Rwanda, Crenshaw was confronted by local activists. They said that in America there are computers and they need his help to get them computers. As a result, upon returning to Portland, he enlisted help from an educational colleague, Morgan Delaney. As a result, Globalfam was born. Globalfam is now a full entertainment company, record label and lifestyle company in one. It houses and produces Crenshaw’s music. As well as partners with the non-profit Education WithOut Borders (EWOB) to manage the community projects that Crensahw and Globalfam are involved in. Crenshaw now serves as EWOB’s President. Seven years later, the request for computers has blossomed into a full computer education center in Burundi, Central Africa. Over 800 people have received training, and the center is now expanding, generating revenue and creating jobs by adding a computer repair shop. It is 100% locally managed and staffed. EWOB and Globalfam, along with its supporters, have been the sole outside sponsor. EWOB helps education, music and art initiatives in Portland and their work in Africa, as well serving as an umbrella for the Portland Books For Prisoners Chapter. Crenshaw is currently the Political Director of Hip Hop Congress and the Lead U.S. Organizer for the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan. The Caravan toured six African cities in 2012 and will tour 10 cities between Cape Town and Cairo in 2014. The Caravan engages each city with a show in the city center, a Hip Hop Symposium and a free show for the youth in a township or ghetto. Crenshaw was invited to be part of the Caravan after playing the Shoko International Festival in Harare Zimbabwe in 2012. Since 2012, Mic has released 3 EP’s expanding his musical presentation into metal and other rock inspired sound. The EP “Superheros”(2014), which features Dead Prez on its title track solidified Mic’s place in Hip Hop worldwide and as an activist/educator. “Bionic Metal” (2014) features signature wordplay in line with motivating sonic backdrops. “Hope and Danger” (2016) heightens the introspection and critical analysis of race, class and culture in modern society. Mic recently released a new project entitled “EarthBound”, which explores our modern social condition through the lens of ecological responsibility, economic violence and the sociopathic tendencies of our political landscape.
Erin Yanke is a documentarian. She works in the mediums of audio, print, and video. Her work focuses on themes of the unheard story, how place can shape a life, comparative experience across identities, and the importance of the clean and sharp edit. Her many projects include 20+ years of radio production, audio zines, self published magazines, audio books, quite a few demo tapes, and a few pieces of vinyl. Her first encounter with neonazi skinheads was in 1985 and led to a jaw injury.
Icky A. is Alec Dunn and grew up in Portland, OR. He is a nurse who works in critical care, street medicine, and harm reduction. He is an artist and illustrator and is a member of the Justseeds Artist Cooperative. He co-produced Bright Spark: A Podcast About Harm Reduction along with Erin Yanke and he co-edits Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture along with Josh MacPhee. In his Portland youth, he had his nose broken (twice), had a bottle broken over his head (which didn’t hurt), and a brick clock him on the side of the head (which did hurt), all by neo nazi skinheads.
Moe Bowstern is a gender nonconforming female living on Chinook lands where events in this podcast take place. She was covering up neo-nazi grafitti with comrades of Chicago’s Autonomous Zone alongside members of Anti-Racist Action in the early 90s. Moe is a writer and citizen artist interested in co-creating opportunities for communities to participate in ceremony and social justice. Erin Yanke has produced 3 cds with Moe of stories and songs of commercial fishing. Moe has published many zines and is best known for Xtra Tuf, true stories of commercial fishing. She publishes Good Night People of Earth, a daily Instagram digest and paper zine.
Julie Perini is a filmmaker living in Portland, OR. Her documentary films include Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon (2015, co-directed with Erin Yanke and Jodi Darby) and The Gentleman Bank Robber: The Life Story of Butch Lesbian Freedom Fighter rita bo brown (2017). Both films bring historical Pacific Northwest liberation struggles to contemporary audiences. Julie researched institutional and personal archives to find images to illustrate the stories contained in the It Happened Here Podcast.