SOTRU’s Year of Adventure
By State of the Re:Union
As we are nearing the end of what has been an extremely eventful year, State of the Re:Union would like to recall some of the fantastic adventures and captivating stories shared, and the wonderful people we encountered along the way. The spring episodes took SOTRU to visit and explore rich stories in:
- Las Vegas, Nevada: we find more than just bright lights and glitter here – like an underground tunnel community formed by the homeless, de facto community centers, “the ninth island,” and Uberschall.
- Miami, Florida – we learn of Miami’s cultural diversity, Little Latin America, 1st and Alton – a Haitian rescue mission, and meet The Spam Allstars.
- Birmingham, Alabama: we see how people are still wrestling with desegregation, the Hispanic cultural is pouring in, and “The Giving Effect” – one woman’s gamble to provide a music program for underprivileged children is paying off.
- Oakland, California: we explore the cost of people dreaming big in Oakland, the hip-hop renaissance, and how different cultural communities are overcoming tensions to unite.
- Utica, New York: we see how refugees are reviving Utica and making it known through food and culture, and what a jam band, a monk, a revolution and a New York home have in common.
The fall episodes take us coast to coast and allow an intimate look at communities facing various issues affecting many people, and the solutions that helped to further unify their communities:
- Cleveland, Ohio: we find how a new generation of entrepreneurs are reviving the city through education, beer and the environment, an inside mountain biking range, and other plans to save their town.
- Sacramento, California: we see how residents are remaking their beloved American city through rescuing a city’s favorite park, trying to keep their beloved Kings, and why communities are connecting despite deep divides.
- The Mississippi Gulf Coast: we learn how residents unite to deal with the aftershocks of disasters – both nature and man-made, about Turkey Creek, and the life-altering struggles some residents are facing as a result of the disasters.
- The Bronx, New York: we meet determined residents and learn of their roles in taking back their city, including a teen mentor helping to inform teens about HIV, to a teacher who is keeping teens off the street with a new international music scene, to some fun-loving Franciscan friars helping the community.
- Wyoming: we learn how people are adapting to the New Old West, how Bibles and beer work together to unite people, what fracking is and the havoc it is wreaking, from the land to lives.
All of the stories featured in this season’s episodes have made an incredible impact, not just in the lives of those telling them, but in the lives of those who have heard them. In the Birmingham episode, Jeane Goforth told her story of making a difference in the lives of school children by cashing in her life savings and starting a music program for underprivileged and underfunded schools. Incredibly, but not surprisingly, some of our listeners jumped into action, and soon, Jeane’s program began receiving instruments and donations from all over our country.
The Wyoming episode took us to the southern part of Wyoming and explored the ill-effects fracking – a process used by some companies to extract oil and gas – was having on the community. After the episode aired in the fall, the EPA began a deeper investigation into the effects of fracking in consumable water. Coincidence?
The stories we covered have produced some interesting feedback and provided additional avenues that are helping other communities find solutions. We would love to know some of your favorite moments from this season. Use the box below to tell us what they are and why you think those moments stay with you.
Tags: alabama, birmingham, California, Cleveland, Florida, fracking, las vegas, miami, Nevada, New York, Oakland, Ohio, sacramento, State of the Re:Union, the bronx, The Mississippi Gulf Coast, utica, Wyoming