Practicing Diplomacy & Daring To Lead featuring Suzan Johnson Cook
Suzan Johnson Cook is an inspired blend. I paella, if you will of Reverend, Doctor, Diplomat, Author, Academic, Theologian, Activist, Show Host and presidential advisor, who served as a policy advisor to President Clinton and in the Obama Administration as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. “Ambassador SuJay” has written 17 books, including My Fabulous Fifth Chapter for women over 50 who are ready to reach out for their personal goals and dreams. She joins us for a deep and meaningful conversation. Plus, Fritz and Weezy are recommending Attica and The Real Charlie Chaplin on Showtime, Little Men on Hulu and The Unforgivable on Netflix.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:06):
Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.
Louise Palanker (00:00:08):
And I am Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:09):
These days with streaming television video, on demand cable and broadcast, you actually have too many choices. What you need is a curator. That's where Media Path Podcast comes in. We'll give you viewing and reading and listening ideas, and hopefully one or two will stick. But what we're mostly excited about is the chance to introduce you to interesting and accomplished guests that have achieved great things in many fields. Like today's guest, we're gonna have a discussion with Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook. This amazing lady has achieved firsts in so many venues, particularly in the theological area. I'll introduce you to her in just a couple of minutes. But wheezy, what do you have for us this week?
Louise Palanker (00:00:55):
All right, frie. I've been watching some, uh, some of the tv. Do you have that? Where do you live? Okay, so there's a little movie called Little Men on Hulu. You'll find it starring Greg Caner as a struggling New York actor, not to be confused with Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, which is a book she wrote after she wrote Little Women. Now, generally speaking, I am not a big fan of name repetition. If your last name is Armstrong, don't name your kid Neil. That's not cute. You'll probably never, never make it to the moon. Let him carve out his own identity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if your name is Frank Sinatra, don't name your kid Frank Sinatra Jr. I digress. In the case of this film, the title could have a few meanings. The boys in the film are young, but they show the maturity of men. The man in the film often makes choices that seem little Greg caner and his family inherit his father's home, move in and proceed to go about evicting the woman in the shop downstairs while their son is becoming best buds with the shop owner's son. It's sort of a buddy coming of age, gentrification, flake. Very sweet. And it makes you think little men on Hulu.
Fritz Coleman (00:02:01):
Wow, good suggestion. Well, both of my suggestions this week are on Showtime. Showtime does great documentaries, and these are two, the first one is Attica. Those of us of a certain age, remember the prison uprising in 1971 at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. This was a five day standoff between black and Latino inmates at the prison and law enforcement. The inmates took over, including taking hostages to protest prison conditions, including things like minuscule food portions, inadequate medical facilities, no educational training, unfair disciplinary hearings. Inmates took guards, hostages. They set up tents. They dug the trains in the yard. And you have to put this riot into context. This was during the Nixon administration. Nixon's main platform was law and Order Plus. You had the governor of New York, that was Nelson Rockefeller, who didn't wanna appear weak in Nixon's eyes. So he didn't give into any of the inmates demands. Police ended up firing up the prisoners and the hostages, 20 prisoners and 10 hostages were killed after police reestablished control. They harassed prisoners, they beat them, they tortured them. So why watch this 50 year old incident? Because racism and unequal treatment in correctional facilities still goes on today full bore. This movie fuels the whole discussion about the privatization of prisons and the over-incarceration of African-American men in other minorities. In other words, 50 years after this incident, the beat goes on. It's dark, but it's very, very interesting.
Louise Palanker (00:03:45):
And there's interviews with people who were prisoners during that standoff and people that were taken hostage and the kids of officers that were taken hostage that live in Attica, New York. And it's not that far away from Buffalo where, where I grew up. No. So
Fritz Coleman (00:03:58):
I was very, no, that was the whole, you know, connection for me was, it was very close to where a lot of my radio career
Louise Palanker (00:04:04):
Was. And immediately after the incident, did anything change? Was anything learned? What was the public perception after this riot?
Fritz Coleman (00:04:12):
Not noticeable changed. Cuz the point of me suggesting that people listened to it, uh, and watch it, was that nothing has changed. The racism that's endemic in the prison and between the guards and the authorities and the prisoners has not changed. And you add to that what wasn't going on at the time, which is the privatization of the criminal justice system. And, and you realize that we have a long way to go.
Louise Palanker (00:04:39):
Yeah. So it's a good time for everybody to gain some better perspective and, and learn from our history. That's just right. It's so critical. Um, I watched a movie on Netflix called The Unforgivable. Have you seen this one for I
Fritz Coleman (00:04:50):
Haven't seen it. This
Louise Palanker (00:04:51):
Is a gut-wrenchingly moving saga, which shines a light on the post-incarceration prison of judgment and shame that haunts those who serve time for a crime. In this case, Sandra Bullock's character, Ruth Slater, has spent 20 years in prison for the murder of a police officer as she fought to protect her home and her little sister. Now, on the other side of her sentence, with no friends, no job, and no visible mercy, she's searching for that little sister. That sister has been adopted into a loving home where her father is. Richard Thomas. Leave her alone. Sandra Bullock. She's safe with John boy. But you know, our sandy, she's fierce. She's scrappy. And this story unfolds like a lit fuse as the sons of the man she killed, began hunting. Ruth Slater, who was stalking her old home, which is now owned by a couple, played by Viola Davis and Vincent Toof Frio in the process of hunting her sister, whose parents do not want her to be found. It's a lot, but it unfolds. Compellingly. The film explores how trauma inspires more trauma, and asks us to question when forgiveness should be embraced as the pathway to healing. The unforgivable is now streaming on Netflix.
Fritz Coleman (00:05:55):
I wanted to watch it because when you go to it and it's been newly added, it's the first thing that pops up. I've just gone past it, but now I'll give it a view. My next documentary on Showtime is the Real Charlie Chaplin. Now Charlie Chaplin is still considered by many people as the greatest comedian of all time. He shot the fame in Hollywood from the slums of Victorian England during the first years of the 20th century. At one point, he was the most famous and beloved person in the world. That was followed by one of the most spectacular of histories, falls from grace. This documentary is made up, mostly a video seen for the first time along with Chaplain home videos and revealing interviews with Charlie Chaplin, who did very few interviews in his lifetime. It takes a broad look at his film accomplishments, his comedic genius, his relentless quest for perfection with visual gags and the humanity in his performances, which is truly what endeared him to the world.
But the bulk of the film looks at the parts of his private life that are not widely known. Chaplain had a pension for extremely young women. He courted them. He married them. He was also perceived as a communist sympathizer. So the combination of being a sexual predator and a communist was enough to dampen the public's love for him. So he eventually took his family to Switzerland. He had one moment, which was sort of semi triumphant as he came back to the States and received an honorary Oscar and everybody made a fuss for one night. This film is just another example of the imperfection of our heroes and the three dimensional aspect of genius. My sons became huge. Charlie Chaplain fans watching Robert Downey Jr. In one of his greatest acting roles, this chaplain back in the nineties. And that was such a, a wonderful film. And so our whole family has always sort of followed him, but there is a real darkness to this man.
Louise Palanker (00:07:49):
He sounds like a qan on Fever Dream <laugh>.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:52):
He really does.
Louise Palanker (00:07:53):
With a communism in the pedophilia. He's just a couple of little snafus in the personality, uh, complex. Um, so are you ready to introduce our guests?
Fritz Coleman (00:08:01):
I, I, I am and I, I'm so anxious to talk to this lady cuz I just know our lives will be better once we have a conversation with her. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, she's accomplished so many firsts in her life. She went to Emerson in Columbia and she went to Union and United Theological Seminary where she got her doctor of theology. She's the first African American woman to be named pastor of Mariners's Temple Baptist Church in lower Manhattan. She's the first African American and first woman to hold the position of US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. She advised President's Clinton and Obama on domestic policy. She's the first female chaplain of the New York Police Department, which she did for 21 years. In the year 2000, the New York Times named her one of New York's top five pastors. She's a civil, gender and human rights activist. And I find one of her most fascinating lines in her long resume was she officiated at the funeral of her mentoring godmother, Coretta Scott King, which is mind blowing. I can't wait to talk to her about that. She's written 13 books. Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, we are so honored to speak to you, ma'am. How are you?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:09:12):
I'm fine. Thank you for having me. You're
Fritz Coleman (00:09:15):
Welcome. And Merry Christmas to you. I know it's a busy time of year in your business.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:09:19):
Oh yeah. <laugh>, this is one of our seasons.
Fritz Coleman (00:09:22):
You were steeped in faith as a young girl and on Sundays, I mean, your life was devoted to the church. First you went to your mom's Presbyterian service, then you down the street in New York, went your Dad's Baptist service. Talk about the importance of faith in your childhood.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:09:41):
You know what's so amazing today, I did a Zoom with, um, some of the women who walked with my mother in the Presbyterian church. My mother's deceased, but there's 102 year old woman named Dr. Thelma Dare. And she is zooming with people in the Presbyterian church. So it was just such an honor and certainly tear jerking to remember the women who walked beside my mother. It was, you know, it was the emerging black middle class. And many of my parents and their friends, you know, emerged from the, um, south where they were sharecroppers in this generation to the north in hopes of really having something better. And I saw what partnerships could do. I saw what faith could do. And so in the midst of our church services, it was really our village being created. And so we were given our marching orders, but we also were given the encouragement.
So I would have my Dr. Seuss books open, and they were like, so where are you going to college? And I'm like, <laugh>, I just been see Dick Run, you know, <laugh>. And they were like, but where are you going to college? And so failure was not an option. They were pouring and depositing in us that this next generation couldn't go back to the fields. And so you had to have the tools and the resources and the, and take advantage of the opportunities that our parents fought for, worked for. And so it was a loving environment. So really I had two church homes. It wasn't just like, you know, my parents took me to church all day. My mother's church being Presbyterian was over by 12 noon, you know, 11 to 12, one hour <laugh>. And the Baptist's church was just getting started 10 blocks away. And so I just had these wonderful people who said, we're counting on you. We're rooting for you, we're cheering you on. And to this day, those who are still alive, I'm now cheering for them and I'm now making sure that they're okay in their senior years, that they truly may be golden years.
Louise Palanker (00:11:33):
And you're a person who really celebrates intergenerational relationships. You strongly believe in mentorships and you strongly believe in, you know, passing in both directions, wisdom, experience, fellowship. So talk about y your mentor and then talk about, I watched in one of your podcasts where you had everybody talk about mentee, and I thought that was just so lovely. So talk about that for us.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:11:58):
Well, again, my mother, our home was one that people gravitated towards. So she was the matriarch of our family, but she was also the matriarch of our community. And being from New York, you know, we lived in the most diverse city, but I lived in this apartment high rise called the Executive Towers overlooking Yankee Stadium. And it really represented the diversity of New York. So there were 24 floors, 17 apartments on each floor on our floor. There were 11 different ethnicities. And so we didn't grow up saying, you're different. We were like, these are my playmates, these are their families, and this is how we live together. We grow together, we play basketball together. And I think that that is such a healthy beginning. And so they would come to my mother's house on Sunday after church. She was a great southern cook, and they would stay for hours talking, playing games.
Um, people like Chuck Schumer, who was an assemblyman with my brother, you know, we're in our living room. Dave Dinkins, who becomes the first black mayor, was in our living room as city clerk. And so my parents would say, go talk to them. You know, like, you're not gonna be a wallflower <laugh> and have all these people in our house. And so it was a very comfortable feeling in terms of developing personality and outgoingness. I am an extrovert all the way through. And if people ask me like, what's your number one trade? It is personality. And I got that in that environment. And so for that, when I became an ambassador with 199 countries in my portfolio, I had already visited 60 of those countries. I had been around people from those countries. So, you know, it was just about learning the protocol as a diplomat, but it wasn't about being, um, new to culture. It was really about just how do you formalize this ambassadorship and how do you follow the rules in this new walk of life? So I really had a great upbringing. Kids would come, so we had a curfew, but everybody wanted to spend the night at my house, <laugh>. So we would come in late and we would stay up all night. So we honored the curfew by being in the house, but we were in the house up late, which, you know, again was, uh, amazing.
Fritz Coleman (00:14:05):
Uh, you, you mentioned several times in some of your teachings that, uh, children start out by adopting the faith structure of their parents. But you, uh, said that your father's faith tended to resonate with you because you had what you called a praying father. Talk about the importance of that in the development of your calling.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:14:28):
You did your research. Well, my father was on his knees every single night. In fact, in my bedroom now is the bench that he would kneel down and pray on. And so I now kneel down and pray on it. But his faith was amazing. And my father never took a drink in his life, although there was alcohol around us, of course. But he just felt like he was this man of faith. He was an usher, not a minister. He was an usher. So he stood, as they say, as a doorkeeper in God's house for 40 years. And I really believe that his faithfulness really blazed the trail for me to become a minister, because the Baptist world, and really the church world was not really ready for a woman in ministry. But it wasn't that this was just a woman. This was Wilber's daughter. And so the people who wanted to perhaps oppose it who were my father's age, were like, that's Wilber's daughter. So yes, we vote yes. And so it was amazing. It was unanimous. And then all of a sudden they don't even realize they're making history by having the first black woman in the Baptist world to become a pastor. And then of course, they were my cheerleaders. Yeah. I knew she was gonna be be great. And so
Fritz Coleman (00:15:39):
I, this is at Mariners's Temple, I just don't wanna get too far. Is this at Mariners' Temple where the congregation had to vote? No.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:15:44):
Baptist Church, which is my home church from where I was, my ministry was birthed. And where I continue to go to this day mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (00:15:54):
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:15:55):
Wow. So Marinus Temple was the first church that they say I'm called to as a senior pastor. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and in the Baptist world, they have to vote you in. They have to interview you, they have to hear you preach, they have to spend a little time with you. And then what they say is they extend a call, which means they vote to say, this'll be our pastor. So Marinas Temple was the first church that I was voted and became the first black woman in the American Baptist Church history. Even they were not really clear or sure that they were making history. They were just like, this church is dying. We just heard this young woman preach. Let's give her a shot. And it turned out to be one of the best shots ever I was given. And they, that they received and we grew together and it was amazing. And
Louise Palanker (00:16:42):
What were some of the changes that you implemented that you think maybe may not have happened without a woman's perspective and point of view?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:16:50):
Well, thank you for that question. So first of all, you know, we are very nurturing by nature. And so senior citizens being in my church, there was, you know, not, I, I didn't pour into what you cannot do. I wouldn't let them say, you know, I got arthritis. I got, I was like, so what can you do? And so I took them, I, my late brother was a politician as I shared. And so we did subway stops. This is pre-social media, so we couldn't just put a little flyer out and then send it around on Facebook or whatever. We had to physically meet people. So I think going on those subway stops, going door to door, knocking on people's doors and saying, I'm your new pastor, you know, give me a shot. You know, kind of just talking the lingo, um, that they were used to, but at the same time saying, you know, give me a shot.
And I think the third thing was creating this lunchtime service, um, and taking the risk because in New York at the, at the, um, end of Manhattan, it, it becomes a v mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's where Wall Street is. That's where the police headquarters is. That's where city hall is. And my church was right in the middle of that triangle. Oh, wow. So I said, let's have this lunchtime service. And we ended up having sometimes a thousand people at lunchtime Wow. Come to that service. And that's really what put us on the map, being daring as a woman, being a risk taker, and then walking side by side with families who were having issues and saying, let me take your hand and walk with you. You're not going into court alone. You're not going to the funeral home alone. And I think that personal touch is definitely a woman's touch.
Fritz Coleman (00:18:28):
You know, you talked about something earlier that I think is so fascinating, and it might be missing from today's, uh, church going environment. And that is that you set a church, particularly for the African American community, you have to remember this was an urban environment. So you had people who were stressed economically, but the church provided a template and, and sort of insisted that you live up to your potential and gave you the structure of how to do that, which was so important. Uh, they wanted you to achieve. They, they asked you where you're gonna go to college, what are you doing to better yourself? What are you reading? And I think, wow. And particularly in an environment where that might have been missing from homes. So the church was providing parenting on a larger basis, um, you know, with their sermons and whatnot. I just think that's so fascinating. And I don't know that that's the case these days.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:19:23):
Yeah, definitely. It was, when I said village, it was series of families, a collectively raising children. Uh, you know, Hillary Clinton uses a line, it takes a village, but that came from an African proverb, um, that it really does take a village. So there were families. And then those days, there really were not a lot of broken families, not a lot of single mother households in the environment I was in. People walked together, they worked together, they partnered together as husbands and wives, and then in the community at the church, they were like, that's our child. That's our baby. And, you know, so you could go to church and you would feel like the peacock, like the N B C peacock <laugh> because as you walked in, everyone was affirming you, everyone was cheering you on. And so it was a collective. And so the community that I chose to live in and raised my sons in was a community very much like that.
It's called Sag Harbor, New York. It's a beach town, but it's an historically African-American community. And it gave me what I felt I had in the church world and what I had in those summers where I would go down south, they could used to call it down south and visit my maternal relatives. Again, the collective, again, the really positive. So if I were walking my grandmother's home in the south, she was like, so speak some Spanish for me. <laugh>, she didn't understand it, but it was the fact that I was bilingual at 14. Okay. And take out that certificate, you just got to show it around. And so what began to happen was the village, the community was aiming high. And so many times I was kind of the trophy, but it was like a good thing. Like, okay, we can aspire to do better than this.
And again, failure was not an option. What's the best you can do? So, okay, you got a B, all right, we'll accept that today, but how do you get a B plus? And then how do you get an A minus? And then how do you get an A? And it wasn't the kind of stress pressure, but it was, did you do the best you could? And where was it that you could have done better? And so homework was important. Having a time to sit down to dinner together. Those are things that don't happen as much or often as much. And so all of that was around the table. You know, my mother was a school teacher, so around the table was a spelling beef, you know, spell Chio, Chico, <laugh>, you know, spell whatever. And you like, I just wanna eat my pork chop. Okay. But, uh, all of that, again, were were lessons. And if you couldn't spell, it's like, why can't you? Um, why, what didn't, what did you miss? Um, and so those were the kind of environments I loved, and to this day raised my children in those kinds of environments.
Louise Palanker (00:22:02):
So it always felt like a challenge that you could aspire to or achieve and not something intimidating where you felt like a failure where you're not measuring up.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:22:10):
Exactly. And, you know, we had, we had the options to choose the lane. You know, like, you know, these were all new things to our parents, just like the parents today who are homeschooling, who never thought they'd have to learn new math and all these things. And those days, you know, my parents didn't know a lot of the things that we were learning, but they knew that if we applied ourselves and we did our homework and we went to school, and, you know, so there were no sick days. I think I used to get the award <laugh> every year, the little gold star, but no absences because it's like you're coughing. That's somebody take some medicine and you're going to school <laugh>. And so, um, and now I realize that they really didn't have a babysitter. Like if my mother was teaching all day and my father was working all day, who was gonna care for me? So it was sort of like, not only, but you get world well, but you going to school because we don't have any backup plan. And you just kind of learn like, okay, so I'm gonna be not only brilliant, but I'm gonna learn how to be resilient.
Fritz Coleman (00:23:10):
When did you realize you had the calling to the ministry? How old were you? Um,
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:23:15):
Age 13. Um, in those same summers in the south, uh, there was a school called Barbara Scotia College, a Presbyterian H B C U. And there was a young woman named Katie Cannon, who was a student there. And she was a Presbyterian pastor, um, early, she was like 18, of course. And she would come to our home. Um, as you know, you always have a college home where you can eat certain foods and put your feet up. And we were that home for her. And I knew when I, I I, when I saw her, something leaped in me, like the Christmas spirit, like something leaped in me that said, that's what you're gonna do. But you know, I was 13, so you do the normal teenage stuff, jump double Dutch, go on trips. But I knew, um, there was a church in Boston. I went to Emerson colleges, you said in your introduction, and there was a, a church in Cambridge, mass near Harvard called St.
Paul AME Church, which stands for African Methodist Episcopal. And there was this dynamic young teen, John Bryant and Cecilia Bryant. And in the pews with us were these college students from M i t and Harvard and others who did not deny their brilliance, who affirmed our cultural heritage and who also were Christian. And so the late Ron McNair, who died on the Space Challenger, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> all of the, so we could bring our gifts and our talents. He taught us karate. I was in theater at Emerson so I could do the plays. And at the same time we had this faith thing. It was in that experience that I knew that the church was more than just a place that I felt good, but that it was a place that I was going to serve. And so the summer after college, when I graduated, I went to West Africa, and it was in those fields where we didn't have cell phones, of course, we didn't have ways to get back to our family, but it was just the sun by day and the moon by night that I was like, I feel called to the ministry and wrote my pastor, we used to have these, uh, grams, some, I think we called them aerograms, that you would fold over and you would send back your mail.
And I said, I really think, I feel called to preach. And about 60 of us who were in a choir together in that same church became leading pastors all around the nation. So there was something amazing going on, and we became friends, certainly in ministry, but it was bad experience that I think was life changing for me.
Louise Palanker (00:25:44):
Wow. Uh, you get and give a lot of community and joy through the church, but oftentimes in the world we see religion use used to divide people. Can you speak to those dichotomies and why that is and what we can do to heal it?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:26:02):
Well, you know, being ambassador for International religious Freedoms ambassador at large, which means I had the whole global, all 199 countries, and I had to sit with the religious right. In fact, this position had been written into government, even though it was signed under President Clinton. No, Madeline Albright was secretary. It really had been written into government so that a conservative could have this position. And we ended up serving at the pleasure of the president. So I served under President Obama. But my point is that it, it was a US Senate confirmation position, and I had to sit with the right, the religious right, and guess what? They had to sit with me. So it wasn't one-sided. And some miraculous things happened in those four years that we worked together. By the end, they were like, you know what? You're not so bad after all.
I'm like, and you're not so bad. And this was, um, that ev all of us had to take a risk because we had a common goal. We had a common denominator. And so we worked together because we wanted some things to happen in the world, and we saw some things accomplished. There was this moment in my Senate confirmation hearings, uh, where they said, well, the family of Suzan Johnson Cook stand, and it's supposed to be your immediate family, where all these conservative men stood up. And the optic of that was, we stand with her. Oh. And Oh, wow. And I think we had more of those moments where we say, we stand together. You know, we don't agree on everything. We weren't raised the same way, but yeah, that's my family. And I think that moment was life changing for me as well.
Fritz Coleman (00:27:38):
You need to get back to Washington and fix stuff. <laugh>.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:27:41):
Oh, I don't know if I can hear you.
Fritz Coleman (00:27:43):
No, yeah, I know, because I look at it now and, and maybe you'll comment on this, uh, and I don't want to get too political and make you uncomfortable, but it just seems like the chasm, uh, between us is so deep. I don't know if it's, uh, reparable, even with religion. You, you look at how the evangelical movements seems to have commandeered their religion and their right wing politics to be more God-like and more Christ-like. And I find that offensive.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:28:13):
I find it offensive as well. And I think when you have leadership, whether you, it is the leader of this nation, but when you have leadership that suggests it's all right to be divisive, that's a real problem. So I don't know if it's irreparable, but I know that it's gonna take a long time to be repaired. I, I was watching recently, and I see people who were strong members of Congress that I knew and depended on, um, and the Congressional Black Caucus and otherwise who are leaving, they can't take it anymore. And after the insurrection last January, we were coming up on that anniversary, they were like, our lives were threatened. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, they were gonna kill whomever they found. And when it gets that bad, um, we really don't have a democracy any longer. I don't know what we have, but it's not good. So I don't know if I'm the one to get back to Washington, um, because this is not a bandaid moment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is like an ace bandage moment. <laugh> well
Fritz Coleman (00:29:16):
Said. Well said
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:29:17):
Usa. Yeah. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:29:18):
We need an operating theater step <laugh>. Yes. So now you, you advised President Clinton. Can you remember a piece of advice that you gave him?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:29:28):
Um, yeah. I mean, certainly there's clergy president privileges, but I think the biggest piece of advice, um, was when President Nelson Mandela came. Um, and for me, that was a moment mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because, you know, president Mandela had been in prison for 27 years, and then President Clinton and he walking side by side on the White House lawn. For me, that was a major moment. But just in terms of advice, in terms of what was culturally important to South Africans, what was important to us as African African-Americans, those were moments that we shared together. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (00:30:02):
<affirmative>, you know, your official title when you were doing that job was ambassador at large for international religious freedom. And I don't know what your job was, but it doesn't sound easy because you had to butt heads with large governments like China, that disapproved of organized religion. How did you navigate those waters?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:30:23):
I don't think we always did <laugh>, you know, um, the country, first of all, as a diplomat, you only go where you're invited and where the US embassy has kind of paved the way for you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, sometimes I've preceded the president and the Secretary of State. Sometimes I went with them and sometimes I followed them. And so there's a climate as well as a culture, and we always had to figure out the climate of that particular country. So there was an opportunity for me to go initially, and China said no. And then there was another opportunity that they said yes. And I think you have to, as a diplomat, first of all, depend on your State Department staff and personnel. They're not gonna send you where it's not right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're not gonna send you into death. But where I had to go were religious war zones, you know, places where religion was just not tolerated and people were persecuted.
And again, you had to walk very lightly because had you said the wrong thing, had you made the wrong move, there were people who would've been killed. Um, we had to take families out of a certain country, but we, it was not a headlines kind of job. People here ambassador, and they think you're going to an island and you're gonna be on the beach and have big parties, <laugh> and host parties. This was not that kind of thing. Um, this was where there weren't headlines because had we made the headlines, um, many times those families would've been killed. And so the yedi, and, and it was the beginning of, of really terrorism starting. Um, we didn't know how divisive it was gonna be or how explosive it was gonna be. Um, places like Nigeria and, and Boko Haram, uh, we didn't realize then that it would become what it is now.
But still, we had to tread those waters. So every time we went abroad, we were briefed, we were prepared. Um, sometimes we had to wear body armor, and that's when I was like, body armor. I didn't sign up for water. And they were like, oh, yes, you did. So, you know, really kind of changing the mindset that, um, this isn't sweet and fluffy, but this is really being in the woods. But I will tell you my highlight mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, because as a Baptist woman pastor, I tell you how hard it was to be a, a woman pastor in the world. Well, in the Catholic world, you know, women still are not recognized in a role, um, as leader. But my favorite trip was to the Vatican where I sat with Pope Benedict. Had I gone as a minister, um, I wouldn't have gotten in. But going as a diplomat, an ambassador, not only did I sit with him, I was in his prayer chambers and I traveled with him from Rome to a cc.
And so those kind of moments, when you're around people who are persuasive, who influence, who have an impact worldwide, you know, there are moments you pinch yourself, you know, and you say, my goodness, I am here. And so I wanna make the best of the time that I have. I wanna represent my president, my secretary of state, and my American people. It almost was the feeling like the Olympic Olympians, when they're standing on that stage and they get the bronze of silver or the gold, you're like, I represent the United States of America. And with our challenges, and there are many, it still is one of the best countries in the world. And so you take that with you and you feel kind of like the N B C peacock <laugh>. You're like, Ooh, this is a moment <laugh>. Um, and so I've had many of those as well as dangerous moments.
Louise Palanker (00:33:54):
Well, we have to talk about the danger and also what is the memorabilia that you have in your home that when you walk past it, you're immediately reminded of all the various places that you've been?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:34:07):
So, you know what, I don't have a line in my home. Um, first of all, there were countries that we were not able to take things out of. Uh, first of all, there's a limit on gifts, a dollar limit. But then there are certain countries that also will use gifts, and they will use them to record you or to, uh, use it as a spy tactic. And so most of the time we had to return those gifts, or the State Department would have to do what they do to de uh, detox them, is for the best word I would use. Um, so there's not a lot, you know, I have pictures from my first trip at 14 when my parents let me go to Spain and study abroad and come back to the Bronx where, you know, the Latinization of the Bronx was just happening.
And so, uh, fourth City Kenyas were the main group that were coming into the Bronx, and they were first generations. So remember, their parents didn't speak a lot of English. The kids were going to school with us so many times. I was a translator for my friend's parents, which is kind of mind blowing, a 14 year old black girl. But I say, you know, in Spain, I ate a lot of paella, <laugh>. And you know, paella is a spicy gift. It's a dish blended with many different flavors. And so I'm a pae, I was a pastor. I'm an amazing author, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a leading lady, and I'm an ambassador. So I'm a pae. And all of that is a blend of who I am. <laugh>,
Louise Palanker (00:35:36):
You're a beautiful recipe.
Fritz Coleman (00:35:38):
It is. Um, just because I'm fascinated at, what I enjoyed reading about was when you do one of those Senate confirmations, as you had to undergo as an ambassador, that ain't no joke. It's like being on trial yourself. And you had to do it a few times, right?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:35:54):
I had to do it twice. It ain't no joke. Because remember, it was not just Republicans and Democrats, but there were tea parties at that time mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so there were three groups who had to really approve me. And when your vote goes, if your vote doesn't go through to the floor of the Senate, it disappears every other year as as though you never existed. So a year and a half into it, my vote didn't hit the Senate floor. They don't have to say who they are. If they hold your vote, they can just go on, go home for Christmas. It was this week, um, that year in 2010, they go home and to their families and they just say, I don't have to answer. Um, you know, racism is behind it. Uh, all kinds of things. Some people just didn't want Obama's people to go through. And then I was able in the period in between, because when you're a candidate, you cannot talk to anyone. You can't say, I'm a nominee, you can't say anything.
Louise Palanker (00:36:50):
Oh, it's like being on American Idol, <laugh>.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:36:54):
It is. Um, so I wasn't a candidate. Um, and so some amazing things happened because the person who held my vote was outed. Um, people in the State Department and White House who weren't as supportive as they should have been, they were outed. So when I went back the second time, um, it was unanimous because I was prepared behind the scenes. One of my friends says, you have to make sure the yeses line up before you go into any room. And you have to make sure not only the senators votes who are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but all the yeses, again, in that climate of the US Senate, Senate who are going to impact and effective votes. So it's the staffers, um, and all of those people who take you over and give you briefings, they have to be in the Yes column.
Also, if one is saying no and has the brakes on, and you are thinking it's yes, and you have your foot pedal pedal to the metal, you know, you can't go forward and then reverse at the same time. So it was when the yeses lined up when those conservatives said, we're gonna help you <laugh>. We're gonna teach you politics 1 0 1, because we believe, and this is very interesting, they said, we believe you are God's person for this position. And when they used God's language and faith language, I was like, okay, let's do it. And so I was prepped and I was prepared, I answered all the questions right the first time. But this again, was about the climate that you're entering. And I had my yeses lined up.
Louise Palanker (00:38:28):
It's interesting how politics and ideology and religion all have to line up so that people feel like you are their idea. You know, it's like success has a million parents and failure as an orphan. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, so once you were, their idea it, you were gold, but you had to be Nancy Pelosi and Sten Hoyer combined whipping votes and, and knowing when you went forward that you had it.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:38:50):
Exactly. What a great analogy. I had to be both of those. I had to have my heels, like Nancy Pelosi dresses
Louise Palanker (00:38:56):
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:38:57):
<laugh>, but I had to have St. Hoyas. And when that all lined up, um, it was great.
Fritz Coleman (00:39:04):
I think if you had to go through that process now, it would've been even more difficult. Oh, yeah. Because, uh, I, I'll tell you, uh, e everything is political. Even something that should be as positive and advanced as an ambassador for international religious, uh, freedom. And I, I think in the world today, that job as ambassador may be a little more difficult because it seems like there's a real anti-Christian fervor in Muslim countries and Arab countries and China specifically, where people of Christian faith are really being persecuted badly. Now
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:39:37):
I, I agree with that. Um, but you have to understand the assignment also. The assignment isn't to proselytize or say, I'm a Christian and you gotta be a Christian. The, the question is, are you honoring the united, uh, nation's human rights declaration, which all countries sign on to, and so you may be a Christian nation and are you abusing people who are not Christian? And so you really have to understand the assignment, and you can't personalize it. You can't proselytize it. And so that's why having a team and a staff are so important. You're prepped before you put your feet on their soil, you're prepped before you put your feet under the table, the diplomatic table, and you know what your mission is, and you know what you're supposed to bring back to the secretary and the president. Mm-hmm.
Louise Palanker (00:40:25):
<affirmative>. Well, what do they teach you about the way to phrase things in a way that makes it feel like the other person's idea? Because I think it would be helpful for everybody in every walk of life to understand how to better phrase things to get positive outcomes. Right.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:40:40):
Well, I think the word is diplomatic <laugh>, and each situation is not touchy feely. Some situations are, you know, you were doing the same thing last year, so you're gonna be put on the countries of particular concern list, which is not sort of like the shame list. Mm-hmm. So it really is, every situation is situational. And we have a foreign policy institute that prepares you for where you're going. So you know, there's no one set of language. You learn a protocol, you know, whether you're supposed to shake the queen's hand or hug them or cannot hug them. If you're going into an orthodox culture, particularly with men, you have to do this. They're not gonna shake the woman's hand. So it's, every situation is situational. And so the language is really kind of coveted, and that's why you call the diplomat because you're given coveted information. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that is not supposed to be, be public. Mm-hmm.
Louise Palanker (00:41:34):
<affirmative>, wow. That y you have to be someone that can really read a room, uh, to even endeavor to go into this line of work, because it, I feel like you have that level of confidence where you walk in, you look around and you assess, and then you know how to conduct yourself.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:41:48):
Well, you know what? I don't think this height was by accident. You know, when you're growing up and you're five 10, you know, you're like, oh my gosh, all the little boys are four 11 <laugh>. You know, will, will I ever, will they ever catch up? And then in junior high and high school, they start growing, but you still have this height. And I think there's something to be able to walk into a room and you really can, uh, look around, oh,
Louise Palanker (00:42:11):
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:42:12):
You can see, um, who's where, what they're doing, their movements. And you know, people don't look down on me eye, look them eye to eye. And I think that that has been an advantage, um, because I'm not a little thing where you can pat me on the head. I've seen men pat little women on the head, and I just feel like, oh my God, she's not a little girl. But I look you eye to eye. And we talk, we have a dialogue. And I really think that that's no accident. I think it's providential
Louise Palanker (00:42:41):
In a way, but there are a lot of women who are tall who will try to shrink when they enter a situation. And I think you kind of always rose to your height and rose to every occasion just based on your natural personality that, that you've been blessed with and that you've, um, cultivated. So I think that's, and thank you, that's heroic and
Fritz Coleman (00:42:57):
Thank you. You know, there's data now that says that the United States is becoming slowly more secular. First of all, do you agree with that? Second of all, how do we fix that? And third of all, what do you think the reason for that is?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:43:14):
Ooh. Well, you know, I've been reading, I think the head of USA Today and the Times said there are these nuns in o in Es, uh, that people don't have any faith at all. And so I agree with that. I think, you know, when you accept the diversity of our nation, that, uh, you have really some of every culture that they bring that culture with them. And some are agnostic and some are, uh, atheists, and they have the right to do that, which is what I fought for all over the world, uh, that you have the right to not believe. Um, so I think that with diversity, you have to accept that all of that comes, you know, we are not just one nation under God, and we're not indivisible as our Pledge of allegiance said. So I think that's it with President Clinton, his last two years I was on the president's initiative on race.
I was one of seven advisors. I was his faith advisor, and we went all over the world. And what he was trying to say is, look, it's not just black and white anymore. It's not just, you know, north and south, and that we are becoming a nation where white men are not gonna be as numerous as they were. Um, and we have to understand that the borders have been opened. So let's look at La Latinx, let's look at Caribbean, let's look at Haitians, let's look at Cubanos. And I think, you know, people didn't get it then, you know, in fact, we were booed in certain places. But I realized that with diversity comes all of that, people who don't believe, you know, I got up every Sunday and went to church. People on my floor, those 11 apartments knew I was going to church, but most of them were not going with me.
Um, you know, they were sleeping in on Sunday. They were, some of them were, uh, seventh Day Adventist, and they were going on Saturday. But I think there's a healthy respect for you. Do you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you do what makes you tick. And so as a faith leader, I was always many times swimming upstream because people, when they left our church, had to deal with a very secular world. And how do you keep your faith in the midst secularism. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's amazing trend that's happening now is what they call faith ERGs, faith employee resource groups where people who have faith in the midst of corporate America, where they never could talk about faith before, are saying, give us time. We, if the Muslim needs to pray five times a day, Muslim men and women, and then I need to have a place to pray. And so American Airlines at about 200 corporations now, Intel, Texas Instruments, Google are saying, yeah, if we're gonna be a diverse country, then a diverse corporation, then we have to allow for that.
So you see the good mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you see the struggle and the juggle, and that's happening ground zero. You know, I was in the front lines of ground zero, New York City, you could never go into a city building and mention prayer. You couldn't stop in the middle of the day and pray, which is why we created that lunch hour service. Ground zero happened, all the rules were thrown out. They were like, can you come in and pray with us? Can you make a difference? Can you have a worship service and police headquarters? And so I think, you know, situations change cultures and, um, that's why I see think we are seeing the n o n E s, the nuns, because if you have a family that did not raise you in the faith, then what do you, you may find it on your own or you just may not,
Fritz Coleman (00:46:43):
You know, you, you brought up a great point, and I'll just add a second part of my question. Is, uh, th that's what made me wonder, you know, it seems like in dark times, and you pointed out nine 11, and that makes perfect sense. In darker times, we should lean on our faith more, whatever that faith is. And we, we feel the threat of the pandemic now. We feel the threat of the economy. We feel the threat of the separation of classes and races. This ought to be a time when you would think people would want to clinging to their faith, but I guess the data proves otherwise. And I don't know if I a hundred percent believe the data, but it, it just seems like it should be a time when people lean on their faith more than they do.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:47:21):
Well, the pandemic changed the game for faith leaders, certainly. One, if you didn't understand or learn how to do Zoom or other, you don't have a church anymore mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because this was a game changer. And those who did could broaden their church. So my home church in Maryland, first Baptist Church of Glenarden is on six continents now. They went from 10,000, they were already a large church, but they now have an online campus. So people are doing the, uh, you know, everything that we do in church, the, uh, ordinances, they're doing them from their bathtub if it's baptism or they get a, a cracker and some juice for communion. And so it's changed the game. So I don't know if we're growing or if we're stagnant, but I know that if you didn't know technology and you still don't, you're in that left behind series and you better just, you know, just say, we are closing the doors because we don't really know when we're gonna be able to go fully in person again. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, even if it's hybrid, you better know how to do that. Yeah. And do it well with excellence, or you're gonna lose everything.
Louise Palanker (00:48:28):
And also, you know, it's an, it's an opportunity to learn too, and, and to, for everybody to ramp up. And we all have ramped up our tech game so that, you know, if you had moved away from the church where in which you grew up and you hadn't been bold enough to walk into a neighborhood church and find your new church family, you could visit your church family online in ways that you couldn't before the pandemic. So in a lot of ways, I think it's been helpful for people in that regard, getting everyone technologically
Fritz Coleman (00:48:54):
Wrapped up. Yeah. Particularly for shut-ins. I think it's really given older folks and people that don't have access to transportation or physically can't get out of the house, that's been one gift of that whole Zoom culture,
Louise Palanker (00:49:04):
Because it's not just services. It's like, what I watch you do is, you know, you have, you have fellowship groups, you have meetings, you have conferences, you have book clubs, you have bible study, you have all kinds of things that are, you know, you could probably go to the church website and look online and see that they're scheduling almost, almost around the clock. Am I correct?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:49:22):
Oh, you absolutely correct. And online courses, you know, so if your Bible study is boring, you can just hit a little button and you can go, you have a choice now, but you're still getting the faith and I, so I think there's gonna be certainly an increase. And that's exciting as well. You were talking about, um, movies and, and books at the beginning of the show. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I hope that there's one, it's a 10 minute film called, um, the Unsung sheros of nine 11. And what we were able to do is visit nine 11, um, to visit where the 9 1 1 operators and dispatchers are on the 20th anniversary. What happened this year? And there are five women who were at ground zero trying to help people as they were perishing, getting police to down to ground zero, who were still 9 1 1 operators and dispatchers.
And we honored them on this 20th anniversary. And they said, you know what, no one ever said hello. No one said thank you. Nobody acknowledged us. So it was sort of like the hidden figures of, of Ground zero. And I hope that you'll get the link to that and be able to see it because it was tear jerking. And it's just to show you the resilience again, that word that we used earlier of some people who just hung in there for as New Yorkers as operators who said, we love our job and we're gonna be here all the way through
Louise Palanker (00:50:35):
You send us a link and we'll put that in our show notes so that everybody can, can enjoy, can enjoy film. Thank you. Let's talk about your book, because I, you know, you're someone who in your spare time, just kind of little, you know, of a weekend whip out a book. It seems like you're up to s 17 books. How many books have you written?
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:50:52):
It's 18 now. And so the last two are 17 and 18.
Louise Palanker (00:50:56):
Oh my goodness. Now she's birthing twins. <laugh>. So <laugh>. So tell us about, tell us about your, your latest two books and, uh, and what inspired them.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:51:07):
Well, thank you. Rhythms of Rest, 40 Devotions for Women on the Move came out in August. It was inspired because I do an annual retreat for Busy Women. It's a faith-based wellness retreat. We take about 40 women away, you know, 40 is a biblical number, and we take them to Florida. It's called Sayk by the Sea. It's s e l a h is a word used in the Holy Bible, 71 times in the Judeo Christian Bible. And it means to pause, it means to reflect, it means to rest. And so we take community servant leaders, women who run churches, run through community groups, run nonprofits, and we take them away. And so as a result of the last one right before Covid, o v, we had a publisher who was a part of that circle and she said, let's write about this experience. Just, you know, about watching the waves, about disconnecting from your technology. And that's the book of devotions that just came out that we hope people will read. It's on amazon.com and our daily bread.org. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> This, the last one is called My Fabulous Fifth Chapter. It's my turn now. And again, it's a Faith Facebook, but it's for women who have 50 plus, uh, who have hit that big five oh or six oh or seven oh, or any number after a five. And it's about
Louise Palanker (00:52:23):
How to be
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:52:25):
And absolutely fabulous. And so my tagline has made the rest of your life be the best and most blessed of your life. Aw, <laugh>, this too is available on Amazon and ju press.com. So, you know, it's about giving yourself permission. You know, we know the rules, but when are you gonna have your turn? You've taken care of kids, you've caregiving for your parents, and maybe others in the community. When do you get your turn? Fifth chapter? Anytime after 50.
Fritz Coleman (00:52:53):
Let, let, may I I gotta talk about this before we run out of time, because this is a topic important to me, and that's music. The Baptist Church in particular, the Southern Baptist Church in particular, the Baptist Church of the late 19th and 20th, early 20th century, was responsible and the birthing place for two of my favorite kinds of music, jazz and blues. Hmm. And it came out of the call and response that was established in the Southern Baptist Church. And my feeling, I was born and raised, what was called high Episcopalian, which is slightly more boring than a high Catholic mass <laugh>. And I always thought that we could have taken, we, we should watch Baptist services, particularly Southern Baptists, which are joyful and celebratory and full of music and full of energy and, and make our services more accessible to the human heart. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But do you have any comment about, about how important the Baptist church has been for the development of the two original American art forms, jazz and blues, and how it was all born and previous to that? Of course, born out of slavery and the field calls and all those things, but, uh, the, the connection to the church has always been important to me.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:54:08):
Yeah. You know, important to me too. And I love all forms of music, and it did come out of the call and response and, you know, many musicians were able to play in the clubs, and then they came on Sunday and they had to just change the beat syncopated a little bit. But many times that was their second gig. You know, we're a gig economy again, but it's the most beautiful music. I love all forms, jazz, blues, and, you know, my favorite era was Motown. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I just saw the Tina Turner play on Broadway. Um, and I just highly recommended, you know, while, you know, proud Mary keeps on Burning <laugh> and I, if those legs can do that at 80, then the fifth chapter, women need to read this book. Dreams don't have an expiration date.
Fritz Coleman (00:54:51):
No. That, that woman has overcome more than most people will ever have to in their life.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:54:55):
Very much so. I mean, abuse, and, you know, and still she made it. So Maya Angelou has this poem and still rise mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And Tina Turner is one of those who mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who no matter what, she was knocked down. She still rises. And I think that that's a common theme in our church is that no matter what you've gone through during the week, you're still rising. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I'm a witness of it. And I sit in the pews with people who are still rising. So my thought is, you keep rising. And Maya Angelou ends with this poem, she says, phenomenal woman. That's me. And that's what I want you to know. Phenomenal woman. That's me.
Fritz Coleman (00:55:33):
You are a phenomenal woman. Beautiful.
Louise Palanker (00:55:35):
Uh, and, and you have turned your book into a, a show. So you have a YouTube and a Facebook channel, and talk about the types of groups that you, that you like to put together. I listened to the one where you had the mothers of all of the kids who grew up with your son together, just kind of reflecting back on, you know, what you had collectively done, which raises wonderful, wonderful men.
Suzan Johnson Cook (00:55:55):
Yes. Well, we're gonna, we call them Fabulous Fridays. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> again from my, so you can call me Dr. Fabulous <laugh>. And we had people from my childhood all the way up to, like you said, adulthood, where we've done things together in our fifth chapter. They're doing amazing things. One went to nursing school and now she's out in the fields of Idaho helping people who get caught in the, in the wild. Um, but we raised our sons together. And so this last group, and we're gonna run the Fabulous Fridays. You can go to youtube.com. It's live with Sujay Fabulous. Fifth, and we're gonna run them again because this last show were three mothers, uh, two are white and, uh, one Latino and myself, we had five son together. We had collectively five sons who were friends since nursery school. One Latino, one Irish American, one Jewish, Italian, my son African-American, and one Dominican.
And they have stayed friends. They all finished high school, came back together, finished college, came back together, now young adults. But it was se showing us the power of friendship that crosses the racial ethnic lines. And so as a result, uh, three of them went to boarding school. And so we started having Mother's Day, uh, cuz we missed our sons <laugh>. And we made it a Mother's Day tradition that we'd get together not to, you know, cry over missing them, but that we would become friends too. And so we have celebrated, so they did our last show, Maria TAs and Joanne Bayney, and one more wonderful friendship. But the first show with my childhood friends from Sunday School at the Presbyterian Church. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, one of my college classmates. And all the people that we've remained friends across the years and across the lines. So that age is more just, just a number. And ethnicity is a line that we don't draw, but we cross it. And so it's a wonderful, wonderful experience. So fabulous. Fridays youtube.com/ambassador Sujay. And I spell Cja, S u j A Y.
Louise Palanker (00:57:57):
And I, I just love it. I j I love the way you're bringing these conversations, uh, to life. And all your friends are beautiful and lovely and, and, and have so much to share. So much wisdom. And I, I really appreciate what you're doing. It's, it's so inspiring and especially in these times where we're not really being stimulated enough with conversation and that you bring these conversations, uh, to us is just a gift. So thank you for that. So we're gonna close our show right now, and before we do that, we're gonna just beg for reviews. Take it away, Fritz.
Fritz Coleman (00:58:28):
Okay. If you enjoyed this episode of Media Path, it would help us to be more discoverable by potential new listeners. If you leave us a quick review on Apple Podcast, and if you're new here and this is your first time with us, please check out our back catalog. You're gonna find episodes binge worthy, for instance, comedy, art, and healing with two very skilled comedians. Eric Schwartz and Cynthia Levin. We had Laverne Shirley and perseverance with Cindy Williams from Laverne and Shirley. She couldn't have been more charming. Talking about her new stage play about her life and show business and TV production and the art of the interview with Barry Kerick is fascinating as well. Thank you for spending an hour with us and we would be overjoyed if you took a moment to share your thoughts with us or recommend us to a friend.
Louise Palanker (00:59:15):
And we would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, or we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where we are, media Path Podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you have been enjoying, so you can contact us at our social media or email us at media path podcast gmail.com. We wanna thank our wonderful guest, Suzan Johnson, cook Ambassador cj. Our team includes Dina Friedman, Francesco Desmond, John Madox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman, and we will see you along the media path.
Fritz Coleman (00:59:58):
That was, that was wonderful. Wonderful. Get Your Congregation is so lucky to get to listen to you on Sunday.