Last week, StoryCorps Facilitator Carolina Correa and I made our way to Flushing, NY, to record for a day with the Chinese-American Planning Council. The Council is a grassroots organization that’s been around for more than 45 years, and it is one of the largest providers of social services for Asian Americans in the United States. They provide their community with space to socialize (we worked out of a room that contained an awesome ping-pong table, as well as various puzzles), job placement and college prep for youth, services for seniors, and even after school programs.
Participant Lois Lee spoke a little about the birth of CPC, and mentioned that it was not a coincidence that it happened during the 60′s, when she herself was involved in Asian American and civil rights movements. She’s been with the organization for 40 years now, serving mainly as an educator and program director, and remembered fondly many of the children who first were involved with CPC in their after-school programs, and that found their way back for youth programs and even later, to help as volunteers.
Our day of recording was peppered with all the diverse people that CPC touches – from Hsiao Chiang Fang, a former film producer in China, to Abida P. Abbasi, a Pakistani educator, as well as Laurie Bernstein, also an educator and a Bronx native but life-long Flushing resident. They shared their stories and knew each other thanks to their active commitment to the community they live in; with the telling of their stories, they strengthened those ties.
The Chinese-American Planning Council’s constituents couldn’t make the trek to the New York City StoryBooth downtown – so we came to them. StoryCorps has been able to help people record meaningful conversations in offices, classrooms, libraries, even from the room that holds the ping-pong table! Don’t let distance from a booth deter you from sharing the conversation of a lifetime – stop by our website and find out ways you can help bring StoryCorps to you.