Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.

Before taking on this role in December 2016, Martin was the host of Weekend Edition Sunday for four years. Martin also served as National Security Correspondent for NPR, where she covered both defense and intelligence issues. She traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Secretary of Defense, reporting on the U.S. wars and the effectiveness of the Pentagon's counterinsurgency strategy. Martin also reported extensively on the changing demographic of the U.S. military – from the debate over whether to allow women to fight in combat units – to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Her reporting on how the military is changing also took her to a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico for a rare look at how the military trains drone pilots.

Martin was part of the team that launched NPR's experimental morning news show, The Bryant Park Project, based in New York — a two-hour daily multimedia program that she co-hosted with Alison Stewart and Mike Pesca.

In 2006-2007, Martin served as NPR's religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded "Best Radio Feature" by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007. As one of NPR's reporters assigned to cover the Virginia Tech massacre that same year, she was on the school's campus within hours of the shooting and on the ground in Blacksburg, Va., covering the investigation and emotional aftermath in the following days.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Martin worked as a NPR foreign correspondent from 2005-2006. During her time in Europe, she covered the London terrorist attacks, the federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup and issues surrounding immigration and shifting cultural identities in Europe.

Her foreign reporting experience extends beyond Europe. Martin has also worked extensively in Afghanistan. She began reporting from there as a freelancer during the summer of 2003, covering the reconstruction effort in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In fall 2004, Martin returned for several months to cover Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election. She has reported widely on women's issues in Afghanistan, the fledgling political and governance system and the U.S.-NATO fight against the insurgency. She has also reported from Iraq, where she covered U.S. military operations and the strategic alliance between Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military in Anbar province.

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a producer and reporter.

She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Filmmaker Ken Burns has spent his career documenting American history, and he always considered three major crises in the nation's past: the Civil War, the Depression and World War II.

Then came the unprecedented "perfect storm" of 2020 — and Burns thinks we may be living through America's fourth great crisis, and perhaps the worst one yet.

When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech 58 years ago, he changed the course of history with his aspiration.

The metaphors, political overtones and themes King employed were inspired by Langston Hughes' poem "I Dream A World:"

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

The Flint, Mich., water crisis resulted in charges Wednesday against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who is now facing two counts of willful neglect of duty.

As fallout continues from the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, Ed Stetzer, head of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, has a message for his fellow evangelicals: It's time for a reckoning.

Evangelicals, he says, should look at how their own behaviors and actions may have helped fuel the insurrection. White evangelicals overwhelmingly supported President Trump in the 2020 election.

In more than four decades of music, Barry Gibb and his brothers Robin and Maurice created almost too many hits to count as the pop powerhouse the Bee Gees. Today, at 74, Barry is the last living Gibb brother, and has continued on as a solo artist. If you've only ever associated his name with the disco era, his new album may surprise you: It turns out that the musician, who emigrated from the U.K. to Australia when he and his brothers were kids, has always been a big fan of American country music.

Brandy Clark is known for her vivid character sketches. The Nashville artist put out an album in March 2020, right when the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. After her tour got canceled, Clark started seeing people less — a real problem for someone who likes to write about other people.

A lot of us went into 2020 with the best intentions: to be more present, to read more, to stay healthy.

The universe, however, had other plans.

We won't tick through all that went wrong in 2020. But needless to say, the coronavirus single-handedly shaped pretty much everything — from the way we go about our daily routines and see loved ones to how we celebrate milestones and grieve losses.

Iowa is one of several states, mostly in the Midwest, where coronavirus cases in nursing homes are rising faster than in nursing homes nationally.

While national cases in nursing home residents and staff rose by 8% between September and October, the numbers in Iowa more than doubled in that time, according to the AARP.

Retired four-star Air Force Gen. Chuck Boyd is one of hundreds of military voices speaking out against President Trump this election. Late last month, Boyd, who fought in Vietnam and spent seven years there as a prisoner of war, joined nearly 500 national security leaders who endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

The podcast Song Exploder lets your favorite musicians tell you how they made your favorite songs. Now, host Hrishikesh Hirway is showing you that story, via a new version of the show adapted for Netflix. Each episode starts at the beginning — the very first moment of inspiration. Then we get to see each layer: the percussion, the bass line, the lyrics.

Author Barbara Kingsolver knew when she started her writing career nearly three decades ago that it's tough to make a living as a poet.

"Writing novels has always been my day job, but poetry is the thing that I always did just because I loved it. So it feels more personal to me when I write a poem," she says. "I'm really not thinking about anyone reading it. I just kind of put it in a drawer."

But the author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees published a book of poetry this week titled How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons).

It was Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020. The coronavirus had locked down the country for weeks. Tens of thousands had died. Millions were out of work. And in Minneapolis, a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd went to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Floyd's stop ended with a police officer's knee dug into his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd begged for his life, called for his mother and repeatedly told the police, "I can't breathe." His cries went unanswered and he died in police custody.

Diego Luna wants you to start talking.

The star of Y Tu Mamá También, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Narcos: Mexico and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a new series that he hopes will compel audiences to do that. It's called Pan y Circo, or "Bread and Circus," out Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

The title is a reference to the poem "Satire X" by Roman poet Juvenal, who wrote in the second century that bread and circuses — food and entertainment — are all that's needed to convince Romans to give up their political freedoms.

"In a battle for facts, in a battle for truth, journalism is activism," says Philippine journalist Maria Ressa.

Ressa, who is internationally known and lauded for standing up to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's escalating attacks on the press, tells NPR that circumstances in the Philippines have forced her to evolve as a journalist.

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 prompted educator Jane Elliott to create the now-famous "blue eyes/brown eyes exercise."

As a school teacher in the small town of Riceville, Iowa, Elliott first conducted the anti-racism experiment on her all-white third-grade classroom, the day after the civil rights leader was killed.

Mark Shaver hadn't seen his 96-year-old mother, Betty, in months when he hit a breaking point and decided he had to see her.

Shaver lived in South Carolina and Betty was in a nursing home in Morgantown, W.Va., when COVID-19 outbreaks began sweeping across the nation. By early March, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice requested that nursing homes in the state restrict visitors, blocking any real chance Shaver would have to see his mom in person.

Former Defense Secretary and CIA chief Robert Gates said Thursday that it was "misguided" and "a bad mistake" to push away peaceful protesters at St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., where they had congregated on June 1 after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The area was cleared with chemical irritants before President Trump took a photo with the Bible in front of the church.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

More than 100,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The world's top health officials are warning that there could be a "second peak" of coronavirus infections during the current outbreak, separate from a second wave expected in the fall. As cases decline, officials worry that some countries are lifting restrictions too quickly — the U.S. among them.

What's key to understanding the different patterns emerging around the globe is recognizing that "this coronavirus is not the flu," said Dr. Margaret Harris, a member of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team.

The coronavirus spread rapidly throughout crowded cities in the country. But one rural area has more COVID-19 cases per capita than nearly any other place in the United States: the Navajo Nation.

When Dr. Vivek Murthy was surgeon general of the United States during the Obama administration, he went on a listening tour of America: He wanted to hear firsthand about people's health concerns.

That meant addressing opioid addiction, diabetes and heart disease. And one more thing — something he wasn't really prepared for — the number of Americans suffering from a lack of human connection. Loneliness, he learned, was impacting them not only mentally but also physically.

Vinton County, Ohio, has been on the front lines of the opioid crisis in the U.S. for several years. The drugs may have changed over the years — from opioids to meth — but the devastating effects on families have not. And even though the county hasn't had high infection rates of the coronavirus, the necessary social restrictions have made it harder to keep people addicted to drugs and their children safe.

For nearly three years, Mark Green led the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in delivering foreign aid to countries in need during times of crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic.

The Clark Sisters — Jackie, Dorinda, Denise, Twinkie and Karen — were one of the most important gospel groups of the 20th century. The sisters grew up in Detroit and learned to sing from their mother, Mattie Moss Clark, a renowned gospel singer in her own right. With her help, the Clark Sisters went on to win three Grammy awards and become the top-selling female gospel group of all time. Simply put, they changed the sound of modern gospel music.

Now more than ever we are looking for ways to feel less alone — and poetry can be one way to bring people together.

Last month NPR asked listeners to respond to art with a poem — a style of poetry called ekphrastic. For inspiration, Kwame Alexander, NPR's poet in residence, selected two paintings: Kadir Nelson's Heatwave and Salvador Dali's Young Woman At A Window. Both show women inside looking longingly out into the world.

Last year, Sons of Kemet were one of the standout acts of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tenn. This year, the festival is one of countless gatherings that has been cancelled due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. For the music industry — and especially for bands like Sons of Kemet, which rely on the energy of live performance — the disruptions caused by social distancing have been devastating. To explain those problems, NPR's Rachel Martin spoke to Nate Chinen from member station WBGO and Jazz Night in America.

Davenport, Iowa, faced some of the worst flooding in its history last year.

Flooding isn't uncommon to Iowa's third-biggest city. For years, Davenport has resisted efforts to build a flood wall on its banks of the Mississippi River.

But last spring, businesses along the riverfront scrambled to save their spaces when floodwaters breached temporary barriers.

"It didn't get as bad as it could have got," says Dan Bush, a co-owner of multiple bars near the river. "The last big event was in 1993. I don't expect it to be another 25, 27-odd years before it happens again."

There's a book you might have heard of by now. It's called American Dirt, and it's the much-hyped new novel from author Jeanine Cummins that was released this week.

Joe Biden is dismissing calls from President Trump and his allies that Biden testify during an impeachment trial in the Senate, saying any effort to compel his testimony should be viewed as part of a strategy to distract from the president's conduct.

"No, I'm not going to let you take the eye off the ball here. Everybody knows what this is about," the former vice president told NPR when asked whether he would cooperate with a subpoena. "This is a Trump gambit he plays. Whenever he's in trouble he tries to find someone else to divert attention to."

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