Several years ago, Sarah Littman recorded a StoryCorps interview with her son Joshua in Grand Central, which we broadcast and later turned into an animation. In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, we received this note from Sarah:
As a parent, it’s been heartbreaking to watch the coverage of the incomprehensible shooting of innocent children and their heroic teachers in Newtown, CT. But as the parent of a wonderful young man with an Asperger’s diagnosis, watching journalists on nationwide television link Asperger’s to this crime in an attempt to find meaning has added another layer of anger, grief, and stress to this national tragedy. Last Saturday I sat down with Josh, who was going into finals week at college, and had a long discussion about what he might see on TV or online, or even from people who don’t really understand but have been mislead by the media in his real life. He knows that whatever drove that deeply troubled young man to do what he did, it wasn’t because he had a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. We want everyone else, including every journalist who is speaking to a nationwide audience and therefore should be more responsible with their words, to know this, too.
– Sarah Littman
Sarah also pointed us to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network statement.
Posted by Dave Isay December 21, 2012 Comments Off
The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund hosted StoryCorps for two days last month, for an Military Voices Initiative (MVI) Door to Door recording day. We facilitated interviews with family members of fallen servicemen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conversation not only gave family members an opportunity to memorialize their lost loved ones, but to connect with other families who were there to remember their own. However, not everyone was there to remember lost loved ones. (more…)
In December, StoryCorps officially launches the Military Voices Initiative. The Southern Order of Storytellers Southside Chapter shares our passion and commitment to preserve the stories of our veterans. Since April, they have recorded 35 stories in partnership with StoryCorps Atlanta. Veterans from conflicts including World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, OEF and OIF have spent time recording their StoryCorps interview during this partnership. (more…)
San Francisco StoryCorps celebrates the 2,000th interview recorded at our StoryBooth!
The participants in this milestone recording, Yara Ahmed (L) and Ayori Selassie (R), each received a copy of a StoryCorps bestselling book to honor the occasion. Here’s Yara and Ayori posing in front of the booth, with their interview facilitator Frank Kingman, and the happy participants after the recording session:
For many families living far away from our StoryCorps Atlanta booth, a visit to StoryCorps offers more than the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their story—it’s a chance to pack the family into the car, hit the wide-open road, and travel to our charming Southern city!
Recently, two separate families, the Gardners and the Fortwendels, journeyed 4 and 6 hours, respectively, to make it to the cozy StoryCorps Atlanta Booth. Our team was delighted that their stories were just as fascinating as their journeys.
Charlotte Gardner, affectionately known as “Nana” to her loved ones, traveled from Charlotte, NC to talk with her granddaughter Jeanine about what it was like growing up in Chicago in the 1920′s. She brought with her a stack of colorful, tattered war bonds that her family had in possession from World War II times. (more…)
After spending a wonderful month in downtown Detroit, from July 3 to August 8, 2012, thanks to WDET and the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center, the StoryCorps Mobile Booth headed west to visit the Islamic Center of America in nearby Dearborn, MI. From August 10 to August 11, we partnered with the Islamic Center, the Arab American National Museum and the Yemeni American News to record stories of Dearborn’s diverse Arab American community during the holy month of Ramadan.
Two of our first participants, Ali Nasrallah (21) and Jaber Saad (21), best friends and college students at the University of Michigan, came to the MobileBooth to discuss their friendship and their identity as both Muslims and Arab Americans in the United States. (more…)
Much has been written about the incidents that took place at South Philly High that day in December, including an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice. Last month, StoryCorps traveled to the Philadelphia Folklore Project to record the stories of a group of students who were victims of the targeted attacks. In response, they heroically organized a campaign to demand the school district take responsibility – and action – to ensure a safe school climate. (more…)
Rita Rodriguez (52 years old) felt her heart sink as she heard the TV explain that a young soldier from Smithville, Texas had been killed in action in Afghanistan. In June 2010, Rita was working as a caregiver in Austin, TX; all three of her sons were active duty Army National Guardsmen. Rita told StoryCorps that she felt she had lost a piece of herself after watching the news that day; her worst fears were then realized when a phone call confirmed that her son, Mario Rodriguez Jr. had died in Afghanistan. (more…)
OutLoud is a nonprofit youth media and development organization that “gives Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth and their allies a safe place to tell their stories and amplify the voices of LGBTQ youth across the globe. [OutLoud makes an] impact in the lives of young people by empowering budding radio producers to find purpose, connection, and skills that they can use in the future.” (more…)
In early August StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for three days of recording with the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), a 2011 awardee of the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal.
It was fitting that the scope of our participants’ conversations was wide, as members of the CML community were invited to share the stories of their lives. Parents and children shared family histories. Two women discussed their children’s marriage to each other. Best friends talked about the bonds of their relationship. And two of our participants, April Johnson and her fiancé, Michael Dornbusch, discussed their life together during their cancer diagnoses. (more…)
This summer, the Sisters of Mercy hosted StoryCorps Door-to-Door at their convent on Carlow University’s campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My co-Facilitator, Mitra Bonshahi, and I recorded stories with nuns from different congregations about their lives committed to service and the Catholic faith.
I met Sisters Rosella Lacovitch and Sally Witt, both Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pennsylvania, who spoke of their work with the Sisters of Mercy. Sister Rosella reflected on her time teaching at a school in the 1970′s in the Hill District, an inner city, predominantly African-American neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
In August, StoryCorps Door-to-Door travelled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to record more stories of Cities Of Service members. On this trip, we heard the voices of the volunteers, non-profit staff, and community officials who work together on the Love Your Block Initiative, a program that funds garden renewals and community beautification projects. From volunteers to full-time non-profit staff, Pittsburghers work together not only to improve their city but also to inspire future generations to maintain Pittsburgh’s beauty. Stories were shared between co-workers, friends and even family members who work with one another. (more…)
In an ongoing partnership with Cities of Service, an organization that finds “new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteers,” StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to record a day of interviews with former addicts who volunteer their time and experience as peer recovery advocates.
Last month, StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to downtown Chicago, Illinois, to record the stories of chief service officers from city administrations across the nation. CSOs described the impact that different community development initiatives have had on their cities as part of Cities of Service, a coalition of mayors from metropolitan areas that represent nearly 20 million Americans in the United States.
Kia Bickham, the CSO for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spoke about the Love Your Block Initiative, a program that distributes small grants to citizen committees for the greening and beautification of city blocks, work that is mainly carried out by community volunteers. Kia explained how the implementation of that initiative has changed the urban environments of many historically black Baton Rouge neighborhoods that have been affected by decades of urban decay. (more…)
At the end of June, StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to Washington, D.C., to record stories at the HIV Prevention Trials Network annual meeting. HPTN, as its name suggests, is a group of scientists, researchers, physicians, and community stakeholders who work to test HIV prevention methods. Last April, they made history with Trial 052, a study that followed couples in which one person was HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative, in 13 different countries. They found that HIV transmission was reduced by 96% when the HIV-positive partner took antiretroviral therapy. (more…)
StoryCorps Door-to-Door recently took a trip to Chicago for two days of interviews with chief service officers from Cities of Service, a non-profit program that establishes a coalition of volunteers in cities throughout the country to address the unique challenges within individual communities. Mayors from select cities hire chief service officers to organize programs and volunteers that will best meet the community’s needs. Rebecca Delphia of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Marcia Hope Goodwin of Orlando, Florida, were two CSOs who came to StoryCorps to tell the story of their cities’ progress during their two-year tenure. (more…)
It was 147 years ago on June 19th, 1865 that Union troops descended on Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and announce and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Juneteenth is the holiday commemorating that day and the abolition of slavery in the United States. The day is an opportunity for people to celebrate freedom and equal rights, and last month, StoryCorps San Francisco was honored to join the celebration at Marin City, California’s annual Juneteenth Street Festival. (more…)
The heart of the StoryCorps experience is the opportunity to share an honest, uninterrupted conversation with a loved one, and all participants leave our recording locations with their interview on a CD, a time capsule of this special experience that’s hot off the presses! Some people listen to their CDs on the ride home, while others tuck them away in a drawer to share with future grandchildren.
But there’s another momento created at the end of every StoryCorps interview: the photo. After sharing stories, a few laughs, and sometimes a few tears, our participants’ conversations with their loved ones are visually captured. (more…)
Last month, StoryCorps Door-to-Door braved traffic on the I-95 corridor to visit Mount Holyoke College for its annual alumni reunion. At this women’s college, graduates ranging from the class of 1943 to the class of 2009 gathered to consider what it means to be a Mount Holyoke woman, how they’ve carried Mount Holyoke into the world, and what the college’s future might hold. (more…)
Thoreau (pronounced thu-ROO) Middle School boasts a brand new building, and when you walk in you’re welcomed in English, Spanish, and Navajo. Just as classes ended in late May, StoryCorps Facilitator Rose Gorman and I stopped by to record with the teachers and staff of TMS as part of StoryCorps’ National Teachers Initiative.
Our first participants of the day were middle school teacher Matthew Lanz and one of his graduating students, Israel Gonzales, who was recognized this year by teachers for being a hard working teen.
Israel and Matt spoke about living on a Navajo reservation, school life at TMS, and Israel’s goals for the upcoming school year. (more…)