“I Want This To Not Be Normal”: After Giving Birth Prematurely, Two Moms Are Working To End The Cycle
Sabrina Beavers and Shantay Davies-Balch have spent their careers fighting for Black maternal and infant health.
When both women had their babies weeks before their due dates, they found themselves at the center of that very issue.
Sabrina came to StoryCorps in 2019, just five weeks after giving birth to her daughter Destiny. She talked with her friend and colleague Shantay about their firsthand experiences with preterm birth, and their shared hope that conversations like theirs will become more common.
Top Photo: Sabrina Beavers and Shantay Davies-Balch at their StoryCorps interview in Sanger, CA on May 3, 2019. By Nicolas Cadenat for StoryCorps.
This interview was recorded in partnership with Independent Lens and Valley PBS as part of a project to record stories about health and access to care in rural communities.
Originally aired July 2, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Divided By Immigration Status: Brothers Reflect On Their Bond
Growing up in Bakersfield, California, Randy Villegas and his older brother Angel lived under the same roof, but in separate realities: Randy was a U.S. citizen, but Angel was undocumented.
Randy (left) and Angel (right) at the California Speedway car show, in Fontana, CA. in 1999
In 2012, Angel became a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a government program that protects nearly 700,000 immigrants brought into the United States as children from deportation. It also grants them a range of benefits, such as work permits and health insurance from employers who offer it. Despite this, every decision Angel makes is still influenced by the uncertainty of his residency status.
The two siblings came to StoryCorps in 2020, when they were in their twenties, to talk for the first time about the moment Angel realized he was undocumented, and how that affected their relationship.
Top Photo: Angel and Randy Villegas at Angel’s graduation ceremony from the New School of Architecture & Design in San Diego in 2018. Courtesy of the participants.
This interview is part of the Tapestry of Voices Collection through StoryCorps’ American Pathways initiative. This initiative is made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and an Anonymous Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Stuart Family Foundation. It will be archived at the Library of Congress.
Originally aired April 23rd, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.
“There Was Always Music In The House”: Memories Of Luis M. Moreno, A Father And Prolific Songwriter
When Luis M. Moreno was around six years old, he encountered a fayuquero or traveling vendor who had a little guitar up for sale. The family story goes that Luis wanted the guitar and the vendor, seeing that Luis was just a small child, told him the guitar was his if he proved he could play it. After fiddling with the strings for a while, Luis played a little tune, and the vendor gave it to him.
This moment marked the beginning of a lifetime of music for Luis.
He drew inspiration from all the things he lived. Born in 1899, he became an orphan at the age of 8 and grew up seeing other musicians perform in the cantinas or taverns of his native Mexico. Then, the family tales say he was conscripted to fight in the Mexican Revolution, and after being shot in battle, he immigrated to the United States, settling down in California in the first half of the 20th Century.
Photo: A young Luis M. Moreno
That is where he met his wife and creative partner, Carmen Moreno. Together they were known as Los Moreno or El Dueto de los Moreno, famous for the Mexican folk music they performed on the radio and in venues throughout the Los Angeles area.
More than a century after their parents’ birth, his daughters, Rosemary Selzer and Carmencristina Moreno, now 67 and 81, came to StoryCorps to share their memories of growing up surrounded by music, and the bittersweet legacy that their father left behind.
Photo: Carmencristina Moreno and Rosemary Selzer in March 2021
Top Photo: Carmen Moreno and Luis M. Moreno performed under the name of Los Moreno or El Dueto de los Moreno
Originally aired March 26, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Waving Goodbye: Remembering a Mom Who Was “Strong In Everything”
A lesser-known part of StoryCorps’ work happens in StoryCorps Legacy, which gives people with life-threatening illnesses the chance to record their story, and their loved ones a chance to remember. Over the past nine years, we’ve recorded over 2,000 interviews through the program.
In this recording, we hear from Maria Rivas, who remembers her mom, Julia Medina. Julia was a single mom who raised ten children while working as a cleaning woman in Fresno, California.
For the last six years of Julia’s life, Maria took care of her mother as her health deteriorated.
She came to StoryCorps to share her mom’s story with Caroline Dezan, a social worker at Hinds Hospice.
Top photo: Caroline Dezan and Maria Rivas at their StoryCorps interview in Fresno, CA on April 4, 2014. Courtesy Caroline Dezan.
Middle photo: Maria Rivas poses with her mom, Julia Medina, at a Christmas in the years before her mom got sick. Courtesy Maria Rivas.
Bottom photo: Maria Rivas poses with a picture of herself and her mother, as well as the picture of her mother waving as she drives away. Caroline Dezan for StoryCorps.
This interview was recorded in partnership with Hinds Hospice as part of StoryCorps Legacy, which provides people of all ages with serious illness and their families the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories by partnering with organizations across the country, including hospitals and clinics, pediatric centers, hospice and palliative care departments, and disease-specific organizations.
Originally aired September 20, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
StoryCorps Legacy: Maria Rivas
“I miss her waving goodbye.”
Maria Rivas (above right) sat down with Caroline Dezan (above left), a social worker at Hinds Hospice, to record this Legacy interview about caring for her mother, Julia Medina, during the last six years of Julia’s life.
Listen to an excerpt of Maria and Caroline’s conversation:
Click here to download a PDF transcript of this conversation.
Recorded in April 2014, Maria recalls Julia’s strength and remembers a time she got in trouble in junior high school for chewing gum, and how her mother dealt with the vice principal, “The guy put his fingers in his ears ‘cause he didn’t want to listen to my mom. And my mom just reached across that desk, I remember, and she pulled his hands out and she goes, ‘You’re gonna listen to me.'”
Maria also talked about the rewards of caring for her mother later in life, “As she got older, you know, she couldn’t move her body as much. So after I’d bathe her, I put the lotion on her and she would tell me, ‘Oh, that feels so good…it’s good.’”
Remembering the things she misses most about her mom, Maria discussed seeing Julia wave goodbye from their porch when she would leave. Before Julia died, Maria was able to capture a photograph of that moment and she brought the picture with her to her StoryCorps Legacy interview, “I’m so, so happy I took this picture, ‘cause before I leave for class, or before I go to work, I always open the door back up and I go, ‘Bye, Mom!’”
Click here to listen to more stories from Hinds Hospice.
Click here to learn more about StoryCorps Legacy.