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Access to Medicines: A podcast from Brave New Words

This episode of Brave New Words examines how audacious organizing and morally-centered messaging proved victorious decades ago and holds promise for building a movement to liberate us from living at pharma’s mercy.

On one hand, it should be easy to mobilize people to revolt against such a villain. But, when faced with the uncertainty of change and no clear sense of solutions, people passively default to the devil they know.

And yet, pharma has been brought to heel before.

During the height of the HIV/AIDs epidemic, ActUp used strategic civil disobedience to shift the narrative and win real changes in access to and pricing on meds. We hear about this, explore how messaging went astray in the interim, and consider what research tells us works to galvanize supporters to persist in this fight. And we examine what grassroots organizers and Congressional insiders are cooking up now to make sure our lives and health can no longer be put up for sale.

Brave New Words takes listeners on a journey around the globe with renowned communications researcher and campaign advisor Anat Shenker-Osorio as she unpacks real-world narrative shifts that led to real-world victories. From electing the dynamic Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister of New Zealand, to repealing a national ban on abortion in Ireland, to beating back right-wing race baiting in Minnesota, Anat and her guests explore what made it possible to engage the base, persuade the middle, send the naysayers packing, and win.

Brave New Words is made possible through support from Narrative Initiative. Learn more, listen and subscribe at BraveNewWordsPod.com.

Resource Metadata


  • Creating Narrative
  • Deploying Narrative


  • Case Study


Produced by

  • Brave New Words

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