Although it is officially 2012, we couldn’t let this listener response to our 2011 Auld Lang Syne go unheard. Another rockin’ SOTRU listener of Oakland, California, gives us her Fan’s Fab Five. Thanks, and take it away, Courtney Supple …
As a resident of Oakland, CA, I have to put my town’s episode at the top of the list. You helped listeners envision an Oakland that isn’t normally portrayed in the mainstream media. We are a town of entrepreneurs, of artists, of farmers, of loving people from all walks of life who take care of each other, in spite of and because of the struggles we face. I remember listening to the episode as I’m riding my bike from East Oakland (where Sobrante Park is located), past Lake Merritt, to Downtown Oakland, and as I’m listening to our stories, I am filled with joy and pride and I begin to feel an even deeper level of closeness to the neighbors I’m passing by and the neighborhoods I’m passing through. I didn’t know I could love this town more than I already did, but I do. Thank you
“As for my other top four (it’s so hard to pick; y’all create such a great show every time!):
1. Cleveland, OH - I love the entrepreneurial spirit and it’s so inspiring to hear the stories of people who put their ideas into action and are succeeding!
2. The Bronx, NY – I hear a lot of Oakland in The Bronx story, particularly the first story about the woman taking care of her block. Reminds me of the episode you did on Detroit, where there was a mural that said, ‘you don’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one.’ It’s always a matter of regular folks taking it upon ourselves to create the lives and world we wanna live in
3. Birmingham, AL - I love it when y’all share voices that don’t fit nicely into a comfortable little narrative that makes us all feel warm and fuzzy and satisfied. The stories heard in the beginning of this episode challenged me and my ideas, and I think we all need more of that in our lives and in our larger cultural dialogue.
4. Wyoming - Nobody talks about Wyoming. Nobody goes to Wyoming. There are more people in several major American cities than there are in the entire state of Wyoming. But there are stories there that everyone can relate to, in some way or another. Whether it’s hearing that little girl sing with her mama, or that police officer talk so openly about being homophobic and how he’s changed, or from communities divided by economic opportunity/environmental devastation, we can all relate to something somewhere in these stories. To realize that connection is incredibly powerful and, I assume, part of the reason you produce this show.
Thank you SOOOOOO much for SOTRU! Thank you for connecting me to others around the country that are creating beautiful communities in the most simple, yet innovative ways. You make me cry and laugh and hope and that’s what good storytelling is allllll about. Well done and keep it up!!!
Thanks, again, Courtney. Like Courtney, some of our incredible SOTRU listeners have been moved by the issues being brought to life, mobilizing them to take action and help these communities. It is moments like these that make all of the toiling, hard work and frustrations transform into pride and reaffirm why SOTRU does exists: it is because of the resounding awesomeness and community produced by people in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Happy 2012 to all of our awesome friends, supporters and communities. It’s going to be an interesting year full of great and surprising episodes that introduce more fantastic people and places in the great country of ours. Stay tuned … it’s going to be a phenomenal SOTRU year!