StoryCorps is launching American Pathways, a major two-year initiative to celebrate the stories and contributions of both Muslims living in America, including African American Muslims, and specific immigrant groups including asylees, refugees, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) recipients.
The initiative seeks to move the traditional media conversation beyond the oft-dominant lenses to highlight stories of everyday refugees, asylees, immigrants and Muslims — doctors, teachers, and cab drivers; parents, children, and families. The recordings, gathered through partnerships with a wide range of national and community-based organizations, will be preserved for future generations in two collections in the StoryCorps Archive at the Library of Congress: the Tapestry of Voices Collection and the Anwar Collection of Muslim Voices, named in memory of beloved StoryCorps producer Liyna Anwar, an American Muslim woman who died on March 26, 2020, at the age of 30, of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. American Pathways is made possible in part by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program.
The recordings build upon StoryCorps’ already-rich archive of U.S.-born Muslim and refugee, asylee and immigrant voices, including “Driving Lessons,” in which Muhammad Faridi describes the evolving nature of his feelings about his father being a taxi driver; a conversation, produced by Liyna Anwar, between Mussarat Jabeen and her former pupil Yusor Abu-Salha, who was murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2015; an interview in which immigration lawyer Irakere Picon and his wife Arianna Hermosillo talk about the challenges faced by Irakere, a DACA recipient; and a conversation between Maria Rivas and her teenage daughter Emily about potentially having her Temporary Protected Status (TPS) rescinded under the Trump administration.
Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps, said, “We’re excited and humbled to launch American Pathways, especially at this critical moment in American history. This initiative will honor and celebrate the stories and lives of Muslims and immigrants living in the United States. In doing so, we hope to remind all Americans of two eternal truths: that we have so much more in common than divides us, and that all of our stories matter equally and infinitely.”
Senior Program Officer for the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Zeyba Rahman, said: “We are proud to support StoryCorps in this effort to amplify a wide spectrum of voices from African American and other U.S.-born Muslims as well as refugee, asylee and immigrant communities that include Muslims and to share their stories with the public. Stories are the connective tissue of human relationships, illuminating our shared humanity and building our reservoirs for empathy. American Pathways provides individuals from a variety of cultural and geographic origins with a powerful platform for sharing their experiences, facilitating understanding at a time when the United States needs it more than ever.” The mission of the Building Bridges Program is to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities.
To gather recordings, StoryCorps has partnered with organizations including Refugee Congress, member agencies of Refugee Council USA, Islamic Speakers Bureau, and Silk Road Rising, and is working with an advisory council including Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Building Bridges/ Rethink Media, and Refugee Congress. Follow the project here, and learn more in our press release.