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Upward Media Partners Releases “COLOR LINES: From Phillip to Floyd” – A Limited Podcast Series Exploring the American Tragedy of Race, Police Shootings and the Search for Justice 

Mike Kelly, author of COLOR LINES, and Upward Media Partners provide listeners in-depth narrative discussion on race, law enforcement, and equality under the law in America with first-hand stories from today’s leading voices 

Los Angeles, CA – May 25, 2021 – Today, Upward Media Partners releases COLOR LINES: From Phillip to Floyd, on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Spotify, SoundCloud and Stitcher. Featuring voiceover by the Emmy-winning Keith David, the podcast limited series explores the American tragedy of race, police shootings and the search for justice. The series features firsthand accounts, insights, and perspectives from the most prominent voices in civil rights and police reform -- from U.S. Senator Cory Booker to Congresswoman Karen Bass to the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights attorney DeWitt Lacy, activist Nupol Kiazolu and others.


Podcast Journey Starts in 1990s New Jersey 


Starting with a look back into the past with journalist Mike Kelly’s book COLOR LINES, the podcast investigates a 1990 police shooting in Teaneck, New Jersey, a community renowned as a national model of racial unity and peace, which became embroiled in a confrontation over race and dignity and fairness after a white police officer shot and killed a Black teenager. More than three decades later, the story is illustrative to America’s current moment, demonstrating both the intractability of racial justice in America and the prospect that lasting change may now be possible. 


“The killing of Phillip Pannell in 1990 by a white police officer in Teaneck, New Jersey was an American tragedy that continues to resonate today,” Kelly laments.

Podcast Raises Troubling Questions 


In the series of interviews throughout the podcast, hosted by Brittany Hanrahan, Kelly poses the questions for listeners on “Why do these kinds of police killings continue? What changes need to be made?”


Those questions were also posed to readers when as an author, Kelly examined Pannell’s death and wrote COLOR LINES: The Troubled Dreams of Racial Harmony in an American Town, which The Washington Post called “American journalism at its best.”


“America is still asking those questions as it struggles to understand the murder of George Floyd and far too many other African Americans in questionable encounters with police,” said Kelly.


UCLA Alumni Producers Tap Power of Story in Narrative Podcast 


In looking back at past instances of police violence against racial minorities, the COLOR LINES podcast series points people forward, using the power of narrative to catalyze change. 


Alumni of the UCLA School of Theater, Film & TV master’s program, Kathy Berardi and Walter Richardson are the producing team behind the podcast. Focused on the power of story, Richardson explains both their inspiration as well as motivation for producing the podcast at this moment in time:


“While statistics, news coverage and social media discussion reflect the trauma and importance of the past year, this podcast is narrative-driven, relying on individual stories to shape and encourage the conversation about equity and justice in the year following the tragic and preventable death of George Floyd,” he said. 


“As filmmakers and content creators, we are focused on sharing new perspectives to bring untold stories to light that empower and inspire. We are also listeners ourselves, and we believe these stories will help facilitate critical conversations that can impact our collective present and future. While our podcast focuses on a tragedy, our mission is to empower listeners to be a part of the resolution for how this tragedy ends in America as more people become aware and activated to be a part of lasting change,” said Berardi.


Prominent Speakers Join Podcast Lineup 


COLOR LINES: From Phillip to Floyd features interviews with prominent policy makers, activists, law enforcement, renowned civil rights attorneys and today’s leading cultural voices. Guests get up close and personal with listeners, sharing their own personal experience — with racism as well as the impact of today’s cultural season of change, from activists as well as progressive law enforcement leaders about their motivation to move forward and affect change. 


“As America grapples with the implications of today’s racial reckoning, these conversations are critical to our understanding of this moment, empowering listeners to learn from the past while forging a better path for a better future together,” said Richardson.


About Upward Media Partners 


Upward Media Partners is a film and content development and production company with an empathy-driven storytelling style. The company brings classic stories to light from new perspectives, empowering underrepresented voices and narratives that encourage audiences to embrace each other by embracing the story of another. For more information visit


About Author Mike Kelly 


Mike Kelly is a veteran journalist and book author who has told stories from many corners of life -- from the sands of Iraq to the streets of Ramallah, Belfast and Havana and desolate tenements, dingy courtrooms and the countless homes of ordinary people who struggle from day to day to hold on to the American Dream.  His first book, COLOR LINES: The Troubled Dreams of Racial Harmony in an American Town was called “American journalism at its best” by The Washington Post.  His most recent book, The Bus on Jaffa Road, which chronicles the search for justice after a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, was praised by Bob Simon of 60 Minutes for delving “deep below the rhetoric on the war on terror.”  Kelly is an award-winning columnist for The Bergen Record and for the USA Today Network.  To learn more, visit

Media Contact: 

Kathy Berardi


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