Creative Ways to Use the StoryCorps App
If you’re a frequent listener, you know what to expect from a StoryCorps interview — two people, usually family members or close friends, come together for a conversation, which is recorded and preserved for future generations. But what if the person you want to record, or the story that you want to share, for your StoryCorps interview sits outside of this format?
At the heart of StoryCorps is our mission: “Listen. Honor. Share.” The StoryCorps App, launched in 2015, allows users to spread this mission and stretch the limits of what a traditional StoryCorps interview might allow. The accessibility of the app gives way to boundless creative freedom and the opportunity to experiment with, and innovate, the culture of listening. Participants are able to preserve their recording on the StoryCorps Archive, where it will live amongst a rapidly growing collection of diverse voices from across the country.
Looking for inspiration? We’ve compiled a list of ways for you to record and share your story — no matter how unconventional it is — with the StoryCorps universe.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING LISTEN
StoryCorps’ The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national movement that encourages young people — and people of all ages — to contribute to the oral history of our country by recording an interview with an elder during Thanksgiving using the StoryCorps App. Add some spice to your family’s meal this year and participate by interviewing a family member. Or, if you would rather participate with your chosen family, record during a Friendsgiving get-together.
The classic wedding video is a long-standing tradition, but the StoryCorps App can help launch your event into the 21st century — and you don’t have to pay for a videographer. On the big day, record salutations for the newlyweds (and embarrassing stories, of course). Create a digital keepsake of a bar or bat mitzvah, graduation party, or quinceañera by asking guests to download the app and record congratulatory messages.
Take inspiration from fellow StoryCorps participants who have used the app to commemorate family reunions, holidays, and birthday parties. Get to know someone besides your favorite cousin (it’s okay, we all have one) by asking guests to write their names on a piece of paper. Place all of the papers in a bowl, and each person can pick out somebody’s name to interview.
RECIPES AND FAMILY TRADITIONS
For so many families, beloved recipes are passed down through generations and countless memories are shared over meals. Next time you visit your Grandmother for her famous matzoh ball soup, or Dad makes your favorite lasagna, take out your phone and record the cooking process. The recording can serve as not only an heirloom, but a cure for homesickness if you ever feel like being transported back to the family kitchen.
END OF LIFE AND REMEMBRANCE
You may be familiar with StoryCorps’ Legacy Project, which partners with hospitals and hospices to provide people with serious illnesses the opportunity record and preserve their stories. If you have a loved one nearing end of life, record a conversation between the two of you with the app and preserve their voice for generations to come.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND AWARENESS
The StoryCorps App offers numerous ways to raise awareness. You can record and share stories to garner attention for smaller-scale, local projects. If your community was affected by a natural disaster or any other type of tragedy, collect interviews from victims. Personal stories can be a powerful tool to mobilize others to help or offer relief donations.
HOW WILL YOU SHARE YOUR STORY?
Browse the StoryCorps Archive for more ideas, and take a look at our user guides for tips and resources on how to enhance your recording. Or, if you’re already feeling inspired, download the StoryCorps App and record your story today!
Recipes for Success
From ironing out travel plans to deciding what side dish to bring, Thanksgiving can be stressful. However, your interview for The Great Thanksgiving Listen doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for the big day so that you can have a relaxing, enjoyable, and fulfilling experience with your interview partner.
PREP TIME: BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
• Participants will need access to a smartphone or Kindle tablet with the most recent version (3.3) of the StoryCorps App. Download the app for free through the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
• Make sure that your interview space has a strong wifi signal, or that you have a data plan that is adequate for uploading your interview.
• Take some time to think about who you choose to interview. While we all have a favorite aunt or uncle, The Great Listen can be an opportunity to get to know a relative or friend with whom you might not be as close. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a family member with a different worldview. Avoid trying to change their beliefs, and instead learn more about other aspects of their life — their loves, their hopes and dreams for the future, and stories from their past.
• Take time to plan some questions ahead of the interview. For inspiration, check out our list of Great Questions. Make sure that most of your questions are open-ended. For example, ask, “What was it like to grow up in a house with so many siblings?” instead of, “Was the house hectic growing up?”
• If you’re familiar with the space in which you are going to be recording your interview, plan ahead to make sure that you will be able to find a quiet nook for you and your partner. Not only does this ensure that your interview will be free of distracting background noise, but it also allows for an intimate setting that will help you both to feel comfortable.
LET’S GET COOKING: DURING THE INTERVIEW
• Make sure that you and your partner are settled into a quiet place. If they’re shy, start with some simple questions. For example, ask your grandfather about his daily afternoon walk, or the book he is reading, to get warmed up.
• Think of the interview as a conversation. Your prepared questions are a guide, not a script. If your partner goes off topic, follow their lead. Don’t hesitate to share a memory about your interview partner, especially if it highlights how much they mean to you and could potentially lead to a story. For example, “Grandma, you know we always look forward to your famous stuffing. When did you learn to make it?”
• Be aware of your body language. A warm smile, eye contact, and nodding of the head let your partner know that you’re interested in the story they’re telling.
COOLING DOWN: AFTER THE INTERVIEW
• And that’s a wrap! Once your interview is complete, you can share and archive it for future generations. Create a title and summary and use keywords to highlight who, what, when, and where questions along with this year’s keyword TheGreatListen2018.
• Share a selfie from your interview, and tag us with @StoryCorps #TheGreatListen!
Recording with the StoryCorps App is about sitting down with a someone you care about, asking them a few important questions about their thoughts and the life they have lived, and then listening. It’s a great opportunity to learn something new about someone you think you already know so much about. Just as importantly, it’s a chance for the two of you to connect.
Nearly a quarter million people have recorded and shared their stories using the StoryCorps App. More than 100,000 stories have been shared under the banner of The Great Thanksgiving Listen, our annual invitation for young people to interview an elder in their family or community. Now in its fourth year, the Great Thanksgiving Listen has grown from an experimental challenge issued by our Founder Dave Isay in 2015 into a vital intergenerational movement.
The StoryCorps Archive allows current users to search all interviews recorded during The Great Thanksgiving Listen in order to learn more about our shared humanity. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, our long-term preservation partner, will preserve these amazing interviews and family histories to live beyond our lifetimes and into the future for our great, great, great grandchildren to learn about where they came from through our own voices and first-person accounts.
But to access the voices in the StoryCorps Archive, you need a key — a keyword, to be exact!
Keywords are descriptive tags that will help current StoryCorps App users and future generations of friends and loved ones, historians, and researchers find interviews and information on the StoryCorps Archive. Keywords are shortened versions of the classic who, what, when, where, and why questions. Adding meaningful keywords will help make your interview accessible for years to come!
Tips for Great Keywording:
When you participate in an interview using the StoryCorps App, you will be prompted to enter keywords and a summary when you have finished recording. You can edit keywords through the app before you publish your interview, and on the StoryCorps Archive at any time.
Both platforms ask you to provide four types of keywords: General, Organizations, Places, and Location.
General: Keywords that describe the major themes discussed in the interview (marriage, peach pie, swimming, 1940s), as well as any recording languages other than English (For example, “Portuguese”).
Organizations: Keywords that connect your interview with organizations and schools that you have recorded in partnership with, or that are mentioned in the interview so that your stories can be part of a much larger collection. (For example, “Luso-American Fraternal Federation”)
Places: Keywords that describe the locations discussed during the interview (For example, “Pacific Coast Highway 1”).
Location: Keywords that provide the city and state where your interview was recorded. (For example, “Monterey, CA”)
To edit your title, summary, or keywords from a smartphone: log onto the app, click [ … ] in the lower right hand corner of your interview, and select “Edit Info.”
To edit your title, summary, or keywords from a desktop computer: log onto your StoryCorps Archive account, go to “View Profile,” and click on the edit icon in the upper right hand corner of the interview.
Try to provide between five and 15 total keywords per interview, and don’t forget to include TheGreatListen2021 as a “General” keyword, and your state abbreviation as a “Place” keyword.
Learn more about keywording
2016 StoryCorps Gala
StoryCorps participants, supporters, and staff celebrated a series of remarkable stories and storytellers at our annual gala Wednesday at Capitale in New York City. The evening, themed “Who We Are: A Celebration of American Stories,” explored our shared and positive humanity through animated shorts and personal stories.
“Who We Are is a little ripple of hope to remind us of our best and truest selves,” said StoryCorps Founder and President Dave Isay, in his remarks to the crowd of more than 300 guests. Through the outstanding leadership and generosity of our supporters, the event raised more than $750,000 for StoryCorps’ continuing work preserving and sharing humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people, and create a more just and compassionate world.
Hosted by two-time Tony Award-winning actor, singer, and musician, Michael Cerveris (pictured above), the program featured recent StoryCorps participants whose personal stories defy intolerance and hate. Among the featured participants were Alex Landau, whose encounter with Denver police in 2009 was the subject of the animated short, “Traffic Stop,” which has been viewed more than 20 million times and received a 2016 Emmy Award.
“StoryCorps creates a platform for narratives that exist in our communities and gives us opportunities to be heard and provides us with the ability to make change,” said Alex Landau, in remarks from the stage following a screening of “Traffic Stop.” He was joined at the event by his mother, Patsy Hathaway.
Chris and Gabe López (pictured above) spoke about the importance of their StoryCorps conversation, in which 8-year-old Gabe discussed coming out as transgender to his mom. Albert Sykes also reflected on the conversation with his son, Aidan, and the opportunity that StoryCorps provided for him to share his hopes and dreams for his son as a Black boy growing up in Mississippi. Mussarut Jabeen talked about being able to share what it means to be a Muslim American and to honor her students who were killed in February 2015 in what has become known as the Chapel Hill shooting.
The event also recognized two honorees: the Ford Foundation, one of StoryCorps’ longest-running and most generous supporters (represented by chair of the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees Kofi Appenteng,pictured above left with his wife, Stephanie), and StoryCorps’ Board of Directors Secretary, Dane E. Homes, and his wife, Barbara (pictured below), who together provide outstanding support and leadership for StoryCorps.
As has become a tradition at StoryCorps events, each table was equipped with a generous supply of tissues, which came in handy as guests listened to heartfelt personal testimonials and viewed animations throughout the evening.
StoryCorps Wins Emmy Award for “Traffic Stop”
This month, StoryCorps won a News & Documentary Emmy Award for the animated short, “Traffic Stop”—the story of Alex Landau, an African American man adopted by white parents who was severely beaten by Denver police after what he believed was going to be little more than a routine traffic stop.
At the time of the assault, Alex was a 19-year-old Community College of Denver student driving with a white friend when police pulled him over for allegedly making an illegal turn. His friend, who had marijuana on him, was cuffed. After Alex asked police to see a warrant, officers began beating him while claiming he had a gun and drawing their own weapons: “I could feel the gun pressed against my head, and I expected to be shot. And at that point I lost consciousness. And it took 45 stitches to close up the lacerations in my face alone.”
In 2011, Alex was awarded a $795,000 settlement from the City of Denver. Two of the officers involved have since been fired from the Denver Police Department for other incidents.
Released online in June 2015, “Traffic Stop” originated as a StoryCorps interview between Alex and his mother, Patsy Hathaway. It was recorded in May 2014 and produced by Jud Esty-Kendall, facilitated by Daniel Sitts, and broadcast nationally on NPR in August 2014. In 2015, StoryCorps animation producers Rachel Hartman and Lizzie Jacobs worked with indie animators Gina Kamentsky and Julie Zammarchi to bring Alex’s story to life, and “Traffic Stop” was broadcast on POV in September 2015. (Watch below as Rachel and Alex accept the award.)
Alex has since returned to college and expects to graduate with a degree in Communications and Social Justice. He still lives in Denver and works on law enforcement and criminal justice reform issues with two organizations, the Colorado Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform and the Denver Justice Project which he founded. When Alex recorded his StoryCorps interview, he and his partner, Helina, were expecting their first child, a daughter. Maya is now two years old and Patsy helps care for her during the day when Alex and Helina are at work.
Following the Emmy Award ceremony, Alex came to the StoryCorps offices in Brooklyn and recorded a follow-up interview with Jud discussing current events, how his life has changed since 2009, and parenthood. That conversation will be the subject of the next episode of the StoryCorps podcast.
Click here to subscribe to the StoryCorps podcast.
Top photo: Jud Esty-Kendall, Alex Landau, and Rachel Hartman at the StoryCorps offices in September 2016.
“Asking questions and listening intently to the stories that emerge is one of the most powerful forces in the world. If we all take one hour this year to do it, we’ll strengthen our national fabric at a time when it desperately needs it. “ –Dave Isay, StoryCorps founder and president
Join the 2016 Great Thanksgiving Listen
Last year, more than 100,000 individuals from all 50 states took part in our national education project that empowers high school students to record conversations with a grandparent or another elder over a single holiday weekend. Working with teachers and students, we preserved tens of thousands of priceless intergenerational stories, and at a time when so many feel their voices aren’t—or weren’t—being heard, the project provides a national platform for listening and empathy.
Students will then be given an opportunity to upload their conversations directly into the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
“The Great Thanksgiving Listen will foster meaningful connections within families, communities, and classrooms, and has the potential to strengthen our national fabric at a time when we desperately need it,” according to StoryCorps Founder and President Dave Isay. “Students will come away from the project not only knowing more about their elders, and having reminded them that their lives and stories matter, but also having experienced first-hand the power of listening to bring people together.”
In 2016, Dave delivered a follow-up TED Talk in which he shared stories and lessons learned during the inaugural Great Listen. In front of a global audience he played clips of the diverse voices heard in interviews recorded in cities, suburbs, and small towns across the country united by their discussions of universal themes like childhood, family, love, military service, and loss.
This November The Great Thanksgiving Listen will be even bigger and better with a new Teacher Toolkit, upgrades to the app, and a Facebook page for teachers where we will answer questions and connect them with fellow educators.
Together we will preserve more precious wisdom than ever before.
Here’s how you can join us:
Click here to download the app and make history with us this November.
Follow along on Facebook and Twitter using #TheGreatListen as we share interview tips, exciting app updates, and highlights from the archives. Know a teacher that would like to participate? Invite them to our StoryCorps in the Classroom Facebook page.
The StoryCorps mobile app was launched in 2015 using the $1 million TED Prize awarded StoryCorps Founder and President Dave Isay with the goal of taking the StoryCorps experience out of the booth and putting it entirely in the hands of users, enabling anyone, anywhere to record conversations with another person and then easily archive them at the U.S. Library of Congress and on the StoryCorps.me website.
StoryCorps is working with national partners in media, technology and education to activate The Great Thanksgiving Listen in classrooms and school districts throughout the country. Partners include The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, TED and NPR. ABC is the exclusive television partner for this historic effort.
Educational partners include Facing History and Ourselves, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), Teach For America (TFA), New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), and National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), with additional organizations to be announced.
Learn more at thegreatlisten.org
The Unedited StoryCorps Interview: Julie Stolzberg and Abigail Pogrebin
“I know that you can go through great sadness and still be a very happy person.”
While many StoryCorps listeners are familiar with the audio pieces we share on NPR’s Morning Edition and our podcast, StoryCorps interviews are really much longer conversations. For 40 minutes, participants are invited to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with someone they know and care about. These interviews can take place in one of our Storybooths or in another private space with a trained StoryCorps facilitator present.
Currently our archives house over 65,000 of these conversations, and because they are fascinating complete looks into people’s lives, and offer insight into the mechanics of a StoryCorps interview, we have started to bring these to you unedited.
In this conversation, Julie Stolzberg, 43, is interviewed by her friend Abigail Pogrebin (pictured together at left with Julie’s husband Craig). Abigail asks Julie about her family memories, her love of teaching, and the birth of her children.
Julie and Abigail recorded their interview in February 2016 in New York City. The interview was part of a collaboration between Mount Sinai Hospital and StoryCorps’ Legacy Program, which provides people of all ages with serious illness and their families the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories through partnerships with healthcare organizations across the country.
Julie, a teacher and mother of two, passed away in March, shortly after this conversation was recorded. More than 900 people attended her memorial service.
In her interview, Julie reflects on being the daughter of Japanese-American parents and describes her parents’ childhood experiences being interned during WWII. Julie’s father was taken to a camp in California as a young boy. “He was a great eater but the only food that he would not eat as an adult was okra because it was a food that he associated with being in the camps.” Julie says, “to this day I’ve never tried okra out of respect…to stand in solidarity.”
Julie also talks about losing her mother to Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 14. She remembers how her father kept her mother’s memory alive for the family. “I felt like that was giving us permission to see her as a real person, that we could talk about her and that she could be with us, even if she couldn’t be with us physically.”
Click here to download a PDF transcript of this interview.
Julie worked for many years as a school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, and in New York City. She remembers meeting her husband Craig, a PE teacher, on her first day of work at The Dalton School. Julie reflects on falling in love with Craig and starting a family with him. “There’s never been a day that I’ve felt he didn’t love me more than the day before. I want [my kids] to know that marrying their father was the best thing I ever did. I feel very confident that he will keep me alive in the same way my dad kept my mom alive. I take great comfort in that. I know that you can go through great sadness and still be a very happy person.”
Click here for more information about Legacy.
Disclaimer: All material within the StoryCorps collection is copyrighted by StoryCorps. StoryCorps encourages use of material on this site by educators and students without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. This interview has not been fact-checked, and may contain sensitive personal information about living persons.
Above (clockwise from top left): Julie, Craig, Tai, and Emi photo courtesy of Craig Stolzberg.
Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Organic Act of 1916, establishing the National Park Service as a federal agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. Today the National Park Service (NPS) maintains 412 areas over 84 million acres, and is a leader in preserving U.S. history and culture—including awe-inspiring natural parks and monuments such as Hot Springs National Park and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Over the past 15 months, in partnership with the National Park Service Midwest Region Centennial Committee, StoryCorps has visited many of these important sites to document the place-based stories of over 300 NPS staff and visitors. The region oversees a diverse number of sites, and we have spent time at nearly 30 of them attempting to preserve the meaningful connections between the people who work in and visit our national parks and monuments, and the agency dedicated to maintaining and preserving our resources and history.
Stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, we have visited towering sand dunes on Lake Michigan, a sacred pipestone quarry in Minnesota, and the Illinois home of Abraham Lincoln. StoryCorps facilitators zigzagged across the country, witnessing unique natural formations such as the huge glacial potholes near Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, and conducted interviews at Pea Ridge National Military Park—home of one of the Civil War’s pivotal battles—while the sound of historic cannon fire went off in the background.
In keeping with one of our overarching missions, the diversity of the sites drew participants from all walks of life allowing us to record the stories and experiences of interpreters, law enforcement officers, local craftsmen, administrators, long-time volunteers, and visitors.
Below is a sampling of some of those stories.
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, (St. Louis, MO)
“I begged my parents to take me back here as soon as possible…”
David Newmann first visited the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site with his family when he 9 years old. When he was 11, he became the youngest volunteer the site had ever had. Over time he has witnessed the site develop and change describing his work as a “cool dream come true.” With his friend and former coworker, Chiffontae Ross, they discusses the importance of remembering the history not just of the Grants, but also of the enslaved people who worked and lived at the site. StoryCorps visited the site and recorded their conversation in September 2015.
Nicodemus National Historic Site, (Nicodemus, KS)
“When I come back I get a feeling of refreshing my freedom…”
For some, visiting a national park site is an opportunity to come home. Founded in 1877 by freed slaves, the town of Nicodemus was once the only all-black community west of the Mississippi and today it remains a functioning town. In 1996, Congress designated Nicodemus a historical site. In August of 2015, StoryCorps joined the annual Nicodemus Homecoming Celebration to record recollections from visitors such as Barbara Christian and her half-brother, Thomas Wellington, who are descendants of the town’s original settlers. They sat down with StoryCorps to remember family gatherings in Nicodemus and their ancestors who founded the town.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, (St. Louis, MO)
“Our job doesn’t have a lot of praise to it, and we don’t really mind that…”
Roger Smith (left) and Terry DiBlasi (right) are tram mechanics at the Gateway Arch. Roger remembers seeing the 630-foot high arch for the first time on a high school trip and being afraid to go up to the top. According to Roger, the “tram is one of a kind, and we are one of a kind.” With more than 2 million visitors a year, the most common question they are asked is, “Will it make it to the top?” It always does and that’s why they have a saying: “If it doesn’t break down and it runs, we’re doing our job.” In September 2015 they sat down with StoryCorps to talk about their roles as veteran mechanics working on the tram that takes visitors up and down.
National Park Service Midwest Regional Office, (Omaha, NE)
“I tell people that I’m Smokey Bear without a costume…”
At the National Park Service Midwest Regional Office, J. Michael Johnson talked with his wife, Joyce Van Horne, about his unique role as a wildland firefighter and media relations coordinator for the National Park Service. He describes the grief and sadness that comes with the job and recalls comforting residents of a California neighborhood, whose homes had all been destroyed by fire. He also tells her about the joy he gets from moments of solitude, sitting alone in the parks, listening to the birds and appreciating the vast beauty. They recorded this StoryCorps interview in June 2016.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, (Empire, MI)
“We ingrained in you, early on, that this was a special place…”
In unique and individual ways, the National Park Service has changed millions of lives. For Steve Yancho, it redirected his entire career. Steve came to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore thinking that he would be there for a short period of time, but ended up staying for over 30 years. Today, he has passed the torch on to his son Sam, who is also a park ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
In the coming months, StoryCorps will travel to Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, and Illinois stopping to record at nine more sites; from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, to the Pullman National Monument on Chicago’s Southside, this growing collection will continue to celebrate significant moments in U.S. history, and preserve the stories of those who keep it alive.
Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!
Announcing the 2017 StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour
With the new year, we are on a new journey across the United States. In 2017, StoryCorps’ MobileBooth will travel more than 4,000 miles from the Gulf Coast of Florida to Michigan’s Great Lakes, then down the Mississippi River finishing the year in Southern Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and be the first to know when appointments open up.
StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour 2017
We are excited to work with the following NPR affiliated radio stations to bring the iconic Airstream trailer to their communities…
January 5 – February 3, Fort Myers, FL, in partnership with WGCU
February 9 – March 10, Mobile, AL, in partnership with Alabama Public Radio
March 16 – April 14, Lexington, KY, in partnership with WUKY
April 20 – May 19, Cincinnati, OH, in partnership with Cincinnati Public Radio
May 25 – June 23, Bloomington, IN, in partnership with WFIU
June 29 – July 28, Detroit, MI, in partnership with WDET
August 3 – September 1, Des Moines, IA, in partnership with Iowa Public Radio
September 7 – October 6, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN, in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio
October 12 – November 10, Shreveport, LA, in partnership with Red River Radio
November 16 – December 20, Corpus Christi, TX, in partnership with KEDT
Along the way, our iconic Airstream trailer and a crew of facilitators will stop in 10 cities for a month at a time each, recording meaningful conversations and preserving them in the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Since 2005, the StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour has visited more than 200 cities and traveled nearly 100,000 miles. In each city StoryCorps works with station partners, cultural institutions, and community based organizations to help spread the word, and encourage people to record a conversation with someone they love to be preserved for future generations.
As StoryCorps works to become an enduring institution that touches the lives of every American, the MobileBooth Tour continues to provide an authentic StoryCorps experience to individuals across the country who may not otherwise have access to one of our permanent StoryBooths in Chicago and Atlanta.
StoryCorps’ MobileBooth Tour is made possible, in part, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The fabric of American society is being tested this year—straining against a deluge of discord, division, intolerance, violence, and fear. In the coming months, the forces that want to pull us apart are likely to get even louder.
We believe the true story of this nation, its values, and its people is being drowned out as never before—we’re at risk of losing sight of who we really are.
But we also believe that each of us has the power to do something about it.
Through November, StoryCorps and Upworthy will release a series of real-life stories told by everyday Americans that speak to our best selves. Stories that amplify love over hate and empathy over fear. Stories that build bridges of understanding between people and help us recognize our shared humanity.
We’re asking every American to step up and participate not just by sharing these stories with others, but also by reaching out to someone different from them to ask about where they come from, what they care about, and who they love.
Asking questions and listening intently to other people’s stories is a powerful force for good. If we all take one hour this year to do it, we’ll strengthen our national fabric at a time when the divisions seem insurmountably wide. Because when we take the time to listen to each other’s stories, we see the beauty, poetry, and grace hiding in plain sight all around us.
During these challenging times, this series will inspire us to imagine something better for ourselves and for our country.
It will remind us #WhoWeAre.
Peter Koechley & Eli Pariser