This year San Francisco StoryBooth heads into our 5th year of recording stories in the Bay Area!
We’ll be celebrating the landmark all year, and we’d like to thank everyone who’s contributed to making all these years possible.
It’s hard to believe that we opened way back in 2008! We’ve since recorded over 2,300 interviews at the Booth and an additional 700 interviews on-site at organizations and schools in all nine counties of the Bay Area. Over 6,200 participants — from the Bay Area and beyond — have shared their stories. Every month our local Bay Area broadcast partner, KALW, plays Bay Area stories on their news show, Crosscurrents.
To honor the milestone, we invited Bay Area interview alumni and community partners to celebrate with us here at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), our gracious host site since 2008. The museum just shared with us a multi-media video they did of the evening’s program. Check it out!
It was a memorable evening for all. Dan Schifrin, Director of Public Programs and Writer-in-Residence at the CJM, and StoryCorps’ very own President and Founder, Dave Isay, acted as MC’s for the evening. Dave talked about his original inspirations for the ground–breaking oral history project that became StoryCorps.
Martina Castro, Managing Editor of KALW News programming, spoke of the joys of being able to share local community members’ stories through the station.
A few participants also spoke at our event, among them, Scott Wall and Isabel Sobozinsky-Wall. They came to the San Francisco Booth on Valentines Day of 2011 to celebrate 20 years of marriage. Their tale of a long-distance courtship through audio cassette tapes is featured in our All There Is book of love stories. Scott and Isabel read aloud and even acted out some of their interview published the book, and then shared about how their recording session brought them even closer.
Cheng Wang, son of Kay Wang, who is now featured in the StoryCorps animationÂ No More Questions,Â also spoke about how special having a recording of Kay to remember her by has been.
We also celebrated four years of work with a number of local organizations and schools. Some of our partner organization leaders spoke about the meaning and impact of recording their community member’s oral histories. Lyvonne Chrisman, co-founder of Friends of Negro Spirituals, an organization dedicated to educating the public about African American spiritual folks songs sung by slave ancestors, shared about the importance of preserving the rich cultural legacies of community elders.
Holly Alonso, Executive Director of the Peralta Hacienda Historical House, a community cultural center and ‘living museum’ of local stories in Oakland’s Fruitvale District, spoke about the significance of recording the vast diversity of stories from people who live in the area surrounding the museum. To learn more about the Peralta House check out my previous blogÂ Everyone Makes History in the Fruitvale.
Maya Scott-Chung, of the Loving Quilt Project and several other Bay Area LGBTQ organizations, described the power of the interview process and telling ones’ story as a healing experience, particularly for people whose experiences have not always been honored in the way they are at StoryCorps.
Stefan Lynch, who came in originally through COLAGEÂ (Children with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer Parent) and shared about his interview whenÂ he told his friend Beth Teper about his “aunties,” a group of gay men who helped raise him, and their experiences at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
A warm belated thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us back in January and everyone who has played a part in collecting the wonderful stories of the Bay Area! Our work wouldn’t be possible without all of your support. Here’s to many more great years!
Mickey Stewart came to the San Francisco StoryCorps booth on August 15, as part of a community partnership with Friends of Negro Spirituals, an Oakland-based group that continues and holds the tradition and heritage of spiritual songs.
Mickey came with stories rich with culture and history. He talked about San Francisco’s North Beach during its heyday of the “Beat” era and also when the Fillmore District, once known as “Harlem of the West,” was a lively and thriving black-owned jazz mecca before the city’s redevelopment plan targeted some 60 square blocks and forced the removal of 200 black-owned businesses. The plan affected more than 13,000 Fillmore residents, mostly African American. After redevelopment, block after block had nothing but large empty lots where buildings had been razed.
Mickey recalled some of the happiest times of his youth spent near old Fillmore, street like the Chicago Barbershop, Red Shoe shop, and Kansas City Bar-be-cue.