The Incredible, Winding Path of a Working-Class Nurse in Wisconsin

A conversation with long-time artist, activist, and registered nurse Susan Simensky Bietila in Milwaukee.

Maximillian Alvarez

Longtime activist artist and registered nurse Susan Simensky Bietila speaks with TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez in her home in Milwaukee on June 2, 2021. Screenshot/TRNN.

To commemorate Working Peoples 200th episode, we have a special installment of our series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) recorded in the summer of 2021 as part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine for The Wisconsin Idea.” In this episode, Alvarez talks with longtime artist, activist, and registered nurse Susan Simensky Bietila in Milwaukee. Hearkening back to the episodes we published in the first season of Working People, this is an extended conversation that traces the incredible, winding path that Simensky Bietila has taken in life, from growing up in the projects in New York to drawing and collaging for The Guardian, the radical US newsweekly, during the height of the Vietnam War, to protesting at the Wisconsin State Capitol in 2011 during the Wisconsin Uprising.

Additional links/​info below…

Permanent links below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemu​si​carchive​.org):

  • Jules Taylor, Working People Theme Song”
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Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InThe​se​Times​.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.

Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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