StoryCorps opened in Oklahoma City to a windy autumn morning in front of the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. Oklahomans welcomed us warmly even though the weather kept it a little chilly in the Booth.
Mary Sosa and her daughter Stephanie Armstrong came to the MobileBooth through our partnership with the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, an organization that helps develop active communities through leadership training and grant assistance. Stephanie was most interested to find out what her mom was like before she became the president of the College Hill Neighborhood Association: “Were you a troublemaker as a child?”
We had a StoryCorps first during our MobileBooth stop in Fargo, North Dakota: a MobileBooth made out of cheese!
Who knew such awesomeness was possible?!?!!
The “Cheese MobileBooth” was made by Prairie Public Radio’s Bill Thomas for our listening event and reception and added to the celebration of StoryCorps’ time in Fargo. We almost didn’t want to eat the booth…but, of course, we did and it was delicious!
Paul Aladin remembers it snowing in October. When he arrived in the United States in 1994, “My first question was, what is this? Somebody tell me, this is called snow. I heard that word in my country many times but never figured out what it is.”
Paul was just 25 when he made the decision to leave his parents and seven younger siblings in Haiti and come to the Midwest, but it is clear that he approaches life with an inner balance not even harsh North Dakota winters can shake: “It does not mean that snow is a bad thing, it means that this is how the temperature is in this part of the world.”
Paul was joined by his brother Ricot for a conversation during StoryCorps’ visit to Fargo. Paul is the founder of United Hearts for Haiti, an organization working to build schools in and around his hometown. Improving education is, he says, “the number one priority,” the first step toward healing a traumatic history.
Last month co-Facilitator Daniel Littlewood and I took the subway from StoryCorps’ Brooklyn headquarters to New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood to visit Art for Change, an organization that uses art and media programs to inspire people to take an active role in social justice. AFC is a non profit that has survived nearly nine years primarily on the passion and the commitment of its volunteers.
Our world is pieced together by a million stories, memories that flow into a pool of words and images that often carry us through our lives as little bright lights of inspiration. When you sit in on a conversation between two people you are given the gift of being transported into that slice of life, that place and time that made such a difference in their lives.
In October, StoryCorps traveled to Anaheim, CA, for the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science) conference. There, StoryCorps was witness to the encouragement and support that was a common thread through many of the 18 conversations recorded – mostly between students and their mentors.
Many of the students are now in graduate school, but had warm memories of the people who supported them the most during their undergrad years. There were a lot of tears and frequent gales of laughter during these conversations.
Last week, StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled exactly half a mile to arrive at Dwa Fanm, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of Haitian women in the United States and Haiti. Through education, advocacy, and direct service, Dwa Fanm strives to protect the human rights of the women they serve. The mission of StoryCorps is to record and preserve the lives of people living in the United States. What better place to do this work than in StoryCorps’ own back yard in Brooklyn, NY?
When I reached out to Margarette Tropnas, the executive director of Dwa Fanm, about the organization participating in a recording day, I had no idea that Margarette had such a compelling story of her own to share. Almost two months after my original inquiry, I had the pleasure of Facilitating a conversation between Margarette and her teenage daughter, Melissa.
November 16, 2010 was the one-year anniversary of the first StoryCorps Atlanta broadcast on WABE’s City Café. To mark the occasion, we invited Atlanta Alumni and Community Partners to celebrate our first anniversary. Fittingly, John Lemley, the host of WABE’s City Café, was the MC for the evening.
The evening began with opening remarks by John Weatherford, Chief Operating Officer of WABE, and a special message from Dave Isay, Founder and Executive Director of StoryCorps.
We listened to several StoryCorps Atlanta stories that evening, starting with the very first story that aired a year ago, a conversation between mother and daughter, Joyce and Errin Haines.
At the beginning of November, co-Facilitator Matt Herman and I went to Geneva, IL, to visit the Geneva History Center.
Located in the heart of Geneva’s downtown district, the Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, study, interpret and exhibit significant materials relating to the Midwestern city’s community and to provide related educational and advocacy services to the public.
To celebrate the city’s 175th anniversary, StoryCorps was called to record twenty-four interviews with long-time Geneva residents. Participants shared their memories of the town, their heritage, and their work in education, business, and volunteerism.