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The Way Out of Toxic Polarization

By Peter T. Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University

The combination of COVID, political polarization, racial injustice, and the attack on the U.S. Capitol have all contributed to a majority of Americans being miserable. But, it’s not just about two people who have different opinions and are unable to talk to each other. It goes way beyond this. The media, the internet, our political leaders, and our political structures also contribute to this miserable divide.

In an environment like we’re currently in, change can be difficult. But, it’s possible when you take small steps.

My work focuses on violent, long-term conflicts that go on for 30 years or more. We find that they change under two conditions. First, the population begins to get exhausted, fed up, and really miserable. Studies show that a majority of Americans are at this point. Second, they need to see a way out, that there is a clear way forward that is hopeful, feasible and not too costly.

How do we do this?

Don’t launch first into a political debate. Try to begin by learning about others through dialogue, by sharing your personal stories and hearing theirs in a way that opens you up to each other and to discovering more about them, yourself and the problems you are facing together. This is fundamental to overcoming the oversimplification, hate and polarization that we’re experiencing. It starts by listening and hearing one another speak about things not related to politics, such as life stories and things we share in common.

This can offer a first step toward a way out of our current misery. By experiencing this, we begin to gain a sense of what it means to move beyond our current climate of contempt. Modeling this for others is also critical. Hearing stories of people connecting across our divisions can move people and change their sense of what is possible.

One Small Step introduces the opportunity for people to have that experience, and also shows them how to have that experience. When others see and hear people with opposite opinions have meaningful conversations without descending into tense political debate, they begin to recognize that these kinds of encounters are possible, valuable and meaningful, and that they can have these experiences too.

Beyond participating in One Small Step, you can engage with others with whom you disagree politically by simply doing a couple things:

There is a way out of the polarization we’re currently trapped in. You’re taking positive steps to help overcome it by learning and participating in One Small Step.

As we continue to develop One Small Step, experts across a number of fields are advising StoryCorps on how to create respectful environments conducive to meaningful connection. Peter Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, is one of our advisors.

SIGN UP TO TAKE ONE SMALL STEP
We’re matching strangers from different points of view for conversations about who they are. Anyone, anywhere can sign up for our email list and complete our matching questionnaire to have the opportunity to be paired with a stranger for a One Small Step conversation.

On the Front Lines: Stories Recorded with the Association of American Medical Colleges

In 2020 the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) partnered with StoryCorps to highlight health care professionals’ experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, and persistent inequities in America. Over the course of this partnership we were able to record with 17 individuals who shared their personal struggles and triumphs throughout their life working in the American healthcare system. The stories were recorded through StoryCorps for Hire, and premiered at the 2020 AAMC annual meeting from November 18 — 20. Listen to the incredible stories we recorded below:


John Vickers, MD, Adrienne Vickers, and Selwyn Vickers, MD

Dr. John Vickers, Jr. talks with his son, Dr. Selwyn Vickers, and granddaughter, Adrienne Vickers, about his journey to become one of the first Black people to graduate from the University of Alabama with a PhD, and the legacy he wants to leave for his family.


Aviad Haramati, PhD and Carrie Chen, PhD

Medical school educator Dr. Aviad “Adi” Haramati talks with his colleague, Dr. Huiju “Carrie” Chen, about his influences, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and in the midst of it all, what gives him hope.


LaShyra Nolen and Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD

Harvard medical student LaShyra “Lash” Nolen tells her former professor Dr. Elizabeth Gaufberg about how COVID-19 has changed the way she advocates for her patients and the role she’s playing during the pandemic as the first Black woman to serve as student council president.


Rachel Pearson, MD, and Benjamin Laussade

Dr. Rachel Pearson tells her husband, Ben Laussade, what it was like being pregnant and working in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas as COVID-19 spread throughout the United States. The couple welcomed their baby, Sam, at the height of the pandemic.


Sadé Frazier, DO, MS and David Kountz, MD, MBA, FACP

Colleagues Dr. David Kountz and Dr. Sadé Frazier discuss how the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement have affected them both in and out of the workplace. The two also consider what needs to happen to increase the number of Black physicians in the field.


Kimberly Manning, MD, and Shanta Zimmer, MD

Dr. Kimberly Manning tells her friend and colleague, Dr. Shanta Zimmer, about her path to medicine, her experience at Tuskegee and Meharry Universities, and some of the lessons she has learned in her journey as a Black physician.


Cecil Webster, MD, and Dowin Boatright, MD

Physicians and close friends Dr. Cecil Webster and Dr. Dowin Boatright discuss racism in medical education and how difficult it can be to talk about the realities of racism with children.


Jayna Gardner-Gray, MD, and Geneva Tatem, MD

Dr. Jayna Gardner-Gray has a conversation with her colleague, Dr. Geneva Tatem, about the underrepresentation of Black doctors, advocating for the underserved communities, their experiences during the pandemic, and their hopes for the future.


At StoryCorps, we promote the power of storytelling to teach, celebrate, heal, and amplify your community or institution in partnerships tailored to your needs. If your organization is interested in partnering with StoryCorps to record and share the stories of your community, please visit our website to learn more, or reach out to [email protected]

Remarkable Friends Share Their Stories

Since the beginning of StoryCorps, countless friends have sat down, one-on-one, to share the things that matter to them through the StoryCorps interview process. In honor of International Friendship Day, we’re celebrating stories of those people who matter to each other. Explore the collection to hear lifelong companions offer enduring support, new friends meet for the first time, and old acquaintances reconnect after years apart.

Celebrate one of your friends by inviting them to a StoryCorps interview! Just download the StoryCorps App to record your conversation and upload it directly to the Archive, housed at the Library of Congress. Or, if an in-person interview isn’t possible, use StoryCorps Connect to conduct it remotely.


Clean Streets

“I’ve been very lucky because he’s been the best partner I ever had.” Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves remember a decade of working together as sanitation workers in New York City.


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"I think I survived it by always having hope."
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Even an Iota of Light

After being released from prison following a 15-year sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, Robert Sanchez met minister Fred Davie. They discuss the support that Fred offered Robert as he navigated re-entry.


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"There’s a huge well of grief there but you gotta show up."
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“It’s Still Worth Celebrating”

Yennie Neal-Achigbu and Jamie Olivieri celebrate three decades of being there for each other, from dealing with grief to organizing Christmas sleepovers for their kids.


story
“The next time you and I saw each other was in the middle of the Vietnam War.”
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Old Friends Reunited on a Battlefield in Vietnam

Joe Galloway and Vince Cantu lost touch after graduating high school together. Years later, Joe took a photograph of a soldier in Vietnam — and quickly realized it was Vince.


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“Oh God, here’s a newsy neighbor.”
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“You’re My Forever Love”

Beau McCall and Julaina Glass didn’t get off on the right foot. 30 years later, they look back on the friendship of a lifetime.


Love Lost, And Found

Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed were disowned by their families after coming out. Then they found each other through a transgender veterans’ group.


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"You were just doing what you felt you needed to do for us to be better people."
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“You Didn’t Elevate Me, But You Helped Me Elevate Myself”

Sean Lloyd was one of Raymond Blanks’s only Black teachers. After graduating college, Raymond became an educator himself. The two reflect on the impact they had on each other.


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"I remember seeing your face and I was shocked."
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Longtime Friends Reconnect in a Homeless Shelter

“I don’t know where I would be if you and I didn’t run into each other at the shelter.” Barbara Parham and Jeanne Satterfield discuss the support they offered each other after experiencing homelessness.


story
“I was secretly really envying you to be able to be yourself.”
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Our Own Mountains to Climb

After coming out, 90-year-old Kenneth Felts talked with his trainer, David Smith, who is also gay, about Ken’s journey and the inspiration David provided.


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“We had even stronger bonds because we had survived this together.”
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Friends During the Vietnam War Reunite Almost 50 Years After

John Nordeen and Kay Lee served in the same platoon during the Vietnam War, but they lost touch when they returned to the U.S. Then, nearly 50 years later, John gave Kay a call.


Want to listen to more StoryCorps stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

Your support helps StoryCorps elevate the unique voices that are the stories of our shared humanity — at a time when we need it most. Please give today.

We the People: Voices of the United States

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, let’s reflect on the history of our country.

Patriotism evokes different things for different people — often, it evokes different things for just one person. The U.S. is complicated, its history marked by both awesome beauty and profound injustice. And so its people are complicated too: their backgrounds, experiences, and values are diverse and nuanced. Let’s celebrate that. This Independence Day, hear what it means to be an American right from the source. Listen to these extraordinary stories from remarkable people, all of whom make up this complicated, beautiful, and diverse country.

The following stories were drawn from across the various StoryCorps initiatives, each of which highlights voices from a particular group of people living in the U.S. As you listen, click the links at the bottom of the descriptions to explore the corresponding initiative.

What’s your U.S.A. experience? By uploading an interview to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress, you and a loved one preserve your stories for generations. Download the StoryCorps App to record a conversation and add it directly to the collection. If an in-person interview isn’t an option, use StoryCorps Connect to conduct it remotely.


Albert and Aidan Sykes

Aidan Sykes, a 9-year-old from Mississippi, interviews his father Albert about growing up Black, the importance of protest, and dreams for the future. From StoryCorps Griot.


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“Because she was Asian, they wouldn’t accept her. Mom said she didn’t care; she enlisted anyway.”
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Remembering One Tough Veteran: Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy faced discrimination as the first Asian American woman in the Navy. Her children, Flip and Christine, remember her life. From the Military Voices Initiative.


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“I want people to look at us as human beings who went through a lot, and survived.”
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‘We Are Americans’: Somali Father And Son Remember Fleeing War To Resettle In U.S.

Father and son Aden and Jamal Batar fled war-torn Somalia for Utah. They discuss the difficulties of adjusting to life in the U.S. and being viewed as outsiders. From the American Pathways Initiative.


Where I Come From

The U.S. government forced Barnie Botone’s great-grandfather, a Kiowa chief, to board a train and leave his tribe’s land behind. Almost a century later, Barnie got a job on the railroad. From the StoryCorps animated season, “This Land.”


The Golden Rule

“I don’t think we could be any further apart as people.” Joseph Weidknecht, a Trump supporter, sits down with Amina Amdeen, a Muslim student who rescued him at an anti-Trump rally. From One Small Step.


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"I told you that one day, you were going to go here to Stanford."
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Francisco and Frankie Preciado

Francisco Preciado, a janitor at Stanford University, once dreamed of becoming a teacher. Years later, his son Frankie enrolled as a student there. From StoryCorps Historias.


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"I have to do at least what I can to give those values a voice."
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StoryCorps Extra: Giving Values a Voice

Shyamala Keshamouni and her son Abhinand reflect on their desire to preserve their Indian heritage while looking forward to participating in a U.S. presidential election for the first time. From the StoryCorps Archive.


story
"What is it that people who have never been incarcerated before don’t get?"
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Terry Banies and Darryl Cooke

Terry Banies and Darryl Cooke consider incarceration — their experiences with it, its historical roots, and its disproportionate impact on Black Americans even after re-entry. From the Justice Project.


Alexis Martinez and Lesley Martinez Etherly

Alexis Martinez and her daughter Lesley discuss Alexis’s struggle for acceptance as a transgender woman and her eventual motherhood. From Stonewall OutLoud.


Want to listen to more StoryCorps stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

Growing One Small Step — When It’s Needed Most

“Recent polls demonstrate what most of us have already experienced first-hand: that there is a pervasive culture of contempt that threatens the very foundations of our democracy,” said Dave Isay, StoryCorps Founder and President.

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and in partnership with local public media stations, StoryCorps is expanding One Small Step to six additional communities in 2021. 

The six stations and communities selected are:

We’ll provide training and production assistance to public media stations to facilitate and broadcast conversations with people in America of opposing viewpoints, sitting down to find common ground. 

Watch highlights from 2020 and hear voices from across the country in this short video:

According to a CBS News poll released earlier this year, more than half of all Americans say the greatest danger to America’s way of life comes from their fellow citizens. One Small Step aims to remind people of the humanity in all of us and that it’s hard to hate up close. These communities can model this change for the rest of the country.

Two members of each participating station will take part in a training to facilitate and record conversations between community residents of differing political views, and selected interviews will be shared across each station’s media platforms. 

Stations will also team up with a variety of community organizations to spread the word and collaborate with the StoryCorps team to match participants and record conversations through the end of the year. The project will include a series of public listening events that will be streamed online in the fall of 2021. 

 

SIGN UP TO TAKE ONE SMALL STEP
We’re matching strangers from different points of view for conversations about who they are. Anyone, anywhere can sign up for our email list and complete our matching questionnaire to have the opportunity to be paired with a stranger for a One Small Step conversation.

Station participation in the One Small Step Communities project is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. StoryCorps’ national One Small Step initiative is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute.

The Science behind One Small Step

By Jennifer A. Richeson, social psychologist at Yale University

The “contact hypothesis” is a straightforward but powerful idea. It says this: People who come from different social and cultural groups can learn to like and accept one another through repeated interactions, such as through conversations. Contact can reduce prejudice and promote peace.

We often first learn about people from different societal groups through stereotypes. The contact hypothesis posits that when we meet each other as individuals, people stop being stereotypes and become people again. The learning, familiarity, and humanization that happen when we really start to get to know another person are important to breaking down the interpersonal forms of racism, anti-semitism, and “othering” that have been part of our country’s history.

StoryCorps’ One Small Step is scaffolded on contact theory. The contact participants have in this program — one-on-one conversations between two strangers — is intentionally extra-personal. It’s not just “talk about some stuff” or “get to know one another” for instance, as most contact experiences might unfold between, say, college-dorm roommates, who might be from different backgrounds and are given a whole semester to connect. When people come together through One Small Step, they speak immediately about personal, human experiences that invite connection and open up the space for vulnerability. It is moderated through the presence of a trained StoryCorps Facilitator, who helps create ground rules and a space that is carefully managed.

What’s so brilliant about it is that it provides the opportunity for people not just to take the perspective of a person from a very different social group, but also to feel that their perspective has been “gotten.” In other words, people feel that they have been respected, seen, and heard. And that kind of perspective getting, not perspective taking — knowing that someone else now understands where you’re coming from — that’s the magic. That’s where you have a human-to-human moment, the opportunity to recognize the essence, the common humanity, that’s in all of us. It doesn’t become unimportant that you’re conservative or you’re liberal, or that you’re this race or that religion. It’s just that you aren’t flattened into those identities, and the worst stereotypes that we may hold about those identities. And, that allows just a little bit of space, some “identity safety,” for individuals to recognize that people from very different walks of life may not actually be all that threatening.

Our fears can be overwhelming when we perceive threats to be true. We hunker down and get protective: “OK, I must defend myself and people like me.” In our current political landscape, we tend to think the best way to protect our ingroup is to diminish if not obliterate our adversaries, to push them out or make them irrelevant.

But the answer to “identity threat” doesn’t have to be taking out the other guys. It could be to reduce the threat, and to help people understand, for instance, through direct connections with people from different groups, that they don’t need to feel so threatened. One Small Step conversations allow people an opportunity to see what is possible on the other side of our current state of political acrimony.

Approaching an intensely personal, vulnerable conversation can be scary. People can benefit even from just listening to these conversations from the outside. When listeners hear how well such interactions can go, they realize making these connections is possible, and not as frightening as they might think.

Many people don’t engage in conversations across different social groups, not because they’re not interested, unwilling, or don’t care, but because they’re afraid of being rejected. Once you’ve witnessed an experience of positive conversation between two people with different backgrounds and beliefs, that barrier can come down and open the door for real — and necessary — human connection.


Jennifer A. Richeson is the Philip R. Allen Professor of Psychology and Director of the Social Perception and Communication Laboratory at Yale University. For over 20 years, she has conducted research on the social psychology of cultural diversity. Specifically, she examines processes of mind and brain that influence the ways in which people experience diversity, with a primary focus on the dynamics that create, sustain, and sometimes challenge societal inequality. Much of her recent research considers the political consequences of the increasing racial/ethnic diversity of the United  States. Read more about Professor Richeson here.

SIGN UP TO TAKE ONE SMALL STEP
We’re matching strangers from different points of view for conversations about who they are. Anyone, anywhere can sign up for our email list and complete our matching questionnaire to have the opportunity to be paired with a stranger for a One Small Step conversation.

A Daily Dose of Humanity

Whether you are new to StoryCorps or have been with us since the beginning, take a few minutes to explore some of our favorite uplifting, inspiring, and laugh-out-loud stories.


 

story
"Do you have any different take on that story?"
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A Family That Knows How to Laugh at Itself

Laura Greenberg grew up as part of a gregarious family in Queens, New York. Her upbringing that couldn’t be more different than that of her husband, Carl. At StoryCorps, they told their daughter about those early days — terrible first kiss and all.
Read the full transcript here.


 

story
"If you need me to hold your hand, I'm there."
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A Good Day on NYC Public Transit

Subway conductor Paquita Williams brings extra TLC to the line she runs on New York City transit. Laura Lane, one of her passengers, took her to StoryCorps to remember the day they met.
Read the full transcript here.


 


Two by Two

Two identical brides. Two identical grooms. Two unique love stories. Hunny and Elliot Reiken reflect on 61 years of marriage.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"When I first bought the building, everybody thought that I was crazy."
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Making a Comeback, Brick by Brick, After Katrina

Burnell Cotlon remembers taking a chance: opening a grocery store in New Orlean’s Lower Ninth Ward, where food was not available to local residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Read the full transcript here.


 


The Temple of Knowledge

For avid readers, spending a night in a library might be a dream come true. Growing up, Ronald Clark lived in one — a branch of the New York Public Library, to be exact.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"We see each other every day, every minute of every day."
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A Three-in-One Package

Sometimes it takes a kid’s perspective to brighten your day, so today we’re bringing you three. These triplets have spent their entire lives together, and shared everything from a birthday to a bedroom.
Read the full transcript here.


 

To R.P. Salazar, With Love

Rachel P. Salazar and Ruben P. Salazar were living 9,000 miles apart and completely unaware of each other. Then a typo brought them together, and their love story began.
Read the full transcript here.


 

Clean Streets

Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves worked together for nearly 10 years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village and became fixtures in the community.
Read the full transcript here.


 

story
"By the time I was in the second grade, everyone was calling me Raymond."
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Facundo the Great

Ramón  “Chunky” Sanchez remembers how teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students’ names. One classmate proved to be the exception to the rule.
Read the full transcript here.


 

story
"Why are you asking these questions?"
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Why Can’t We Own A Rollercoaster?

Nine-year-old Isaiah Fredericks and his younger brother, Josiah, used their StoryCorps interview to ask their dad, Kevin, some hard-hitting questions.
Read the full transcript here.

LGBTQ+ Voices to Honor This Pride Month

June is Pride Month, and we’re celebrating by lifting up the stories of LGBTQ+ history-makers. These conversations are all about firsts: first gay marriage in the US, first kisses, and first loves. Dive into memorable and touching stories from our LGBTQ+ community.

Is there an LGBTQ+ person in your life who you want to honor with a StoryCorps conversation? Learn how you can help them feel heard and record a meaningful conversation at StoryCorps.org/OutLoud.


The Door She Opened

At the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. She remembers growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s and the one person who made her feel like herself.


podcast
We're Still Here
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StoryCorps Podcast: We’re Still Here

A collection of stories from trans women of color, who have often been the first to stand up for equality, and the last to be recognized for their contributions.


story
"In high school when I first started wearing make-up, my family didn't notice."
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Darnell Moore and Kiyan Williams

Kiyan Williams has a conversation with their friend Darnell Moore about growing up feeling different than other kids and grappling with his family’s expectations. Today, Kiyan works with LGBTQ youth in New York City.


story
“We are what we are because of our insistence on being with one another.”
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Love In The Time Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

In 2000, LGBTQ+ people in the military couldn’t serve openly. When Marine Mike Rudulph came back from deployment, he met and fell in love with Neil Rafferty. The couple sat down to remember the early days of their relationship and how they overcame their obstacles.


A Certain Kind of Love

Glenda Elliott grew up in Mayfield, Georgia during the 1940s. She met the love of her life — a woman named Lauree. Glenda sat down with her friend to tell the story of a lifelong romance that never had the chance to blossom.

 


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“That day wasn’t about us. This really was for thousands and thousands of people.”
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How One of the First Legally Married Same-Sex Couples in the US Made it Down the Aisle

David Wilson and Robert Compton, one of the first same-sex couples to be married in the United States, reflect on their journey, nearly fifteen years after their historic wedding.


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No One's Going to Stop Me
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StoryCorps Podcast: No One’s Going to Stop Me

Many of our LGBTQ stories center the voices of elders. Let’s look to the future, and hear what the next generation has to say.


Celebrating the Stories of Chicago

Goodbyes are bittersweet. After more than eight years — and many wonderful interviews — in the region, StoryCorps is closing its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

We’re proud to have had a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center and to have partnered with WBEZ 91.5 FM to preserve, share, and broadcast this city’s stories.

We want to especially thank our Chicago-based staff for their thoughtfulness, care, and excellence throughout the years.

Listen to the voices of Chicago

Since we first opened the recording booth, we’ve been bowled over by the heart of our Chicago storytellers. We’ve rounded up a few favorites below, but there are so many more to listen to in the Chicago Collection. 

Gloria Allen and Charlene Carruthers

Charlene and Gloria talk about growing up in Chicago, their sexual orientations and gender identities, and how LGBTQ terminology has changed over the years. Gloria shares stories about being gay and then transitioning, and living an out life in both Chicago and New York.

Alaa Basatneh and Zainab Khan

Zainab interviews Syrian human rights activist Alaa about her experience using social media to aid protesters on the ground in Syria, a passion that resulted in a death threat from the Syrian regime. Alaa’s parents taught her that even though she was living in Chicago, she should never forget the people in Syria.

Yvonne Orr-El and Kimberley Rudd

Yvonne talks to her friend Kimberley about the impact that her revolutionary parents have had on her life. She talks about finding truth under layers of family secrets, what her activism looks like today, and the importance of “thriving instead of just surviving life.”

Nancy Faust Jenkins and Beth Finke

Nancy talks to her friend Beth about her career as an organist for the Chicago White Sox. They talk about how Nancy’s music helped Beth follow baseball games after she lost her sight, and how they met and became friends.

Raymundo Gomez Hernandez and Alexander Ewers

Raymundo talks to his husband Alexander about growing up in Mexico City knowing at an early age that he was gay, even before he knew there was a word for it. He talks about heroes, his experience at a “church camp” (actually conversion therapy) in Mexico, his religious beliefs, and how their first date ended with Alexander uttering, “Bye, I love you,” which they laugh about now.

Vishal Bhuva and Parag Bhuva

Brothers Vishal and Parag talk about their family role models and the cultural principles that influenced their career choices in public service. They discuss the challenges and fulfilling aspects of their work, and how they balance work, family, and personal growth. Vishal reads a poem he wrote after a 30 hour shift at the ER at Cook County Hospital.

Ashley Galvan Ramos and Christian Diaz

Christian interviews his friend Ashley about her activism in the Logan Square community. She also shares her family’s story of displacement, and talks about carrying on with the Chinelos’ traditions.

Wanda Bridgeforth and Beth Finke

Wanda Bridgeforth is interviewed by her friend Beth Finke about growing up in Bronzeville, Chicago, her time at DuSable High School, and her love of writing.

Cindy Alvarado and Astrid Tamer

Cindy and Astrid are friends and fellow advocates at Mujeres Latinas En Acción. They have a conversation about their work as volunteers in the Sexual Assault Program, and they also talk about the friendship they have forged.

Tania Cordova and Emmanuel Garcia

Emmanuel interviews his best friend Tania about the challenges as a Trans Latinx woman. Tania also talks about her new project called “SER el cambio,” a transitional housing center for the Trans community of Chicago.
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"Mauricio was able to teach us to live in the moment... life is a party. Enjoy it."
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Jessica Valdivia and Jorge Valdivia

Jorge Valdivia and his sister Jessica Valdivia honor the memory of their older brother Mauricio Valdivia who died in Chicago of COVID-19. They reminisce about their favorite memories growing up with someone full of life who “went out of their way for their family.” They also discuss their experience with grief and loss during the pandemic. Read the full transcript here.

Our booth in Chicago may be closed, but it’s never been easier to record a StoryCorps interview with the important people in your life. Find out how to record your conversations remotely with Storycorps Connect.