***I just finished reading a book called The Nightingale. Nazi Germany rolled into France and caught its citizens by surprise. The world changed quickly and dramatically. The two main characters, sisters Isabelle and Vianne, come to a realization of what is happening in different ways…at different speeds. Isabelle is young and single. She responds to the horrors of war swiftly and boldly. She joins the … Continue reading Where do you stand?
Elaine Baker grew up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Founded in 1887 by former slaves, Mound Bayou is the oldest self-governing all-black municipality in the United States. Elaine grew up in an era of segregation, with “white only” and “black only” signs in neighboring communities, though she didn’t experience day-to-day racism in Mound Bayou. She learned that her value and worth were not determined by others. … Continue reading Elaine Baker
Sheila Goldtooth teaches Navajo culture and philosophy at Dine College in Chinle, Arizona. She also works as a traditional healer for the Navajo Nation. Her interest in healing began at a very young age when she saw her uncle do the work. She apprenticed with him and now performs ceremonies and blessings for people to help bring them back into balance and harmony, particularly for … Continue reading Sheila Goldtooth
There is a typo on a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. It’s in front of Brown Chapel, where the famed march from Selma to Montgomery began in support of voting rights. I was there a couple years ago to interview Joanne Bland who was on that march with Dr. King when she was 11 years old. The statue says, “I … Continue reading What is your dream?
Bud Welch lost his only child, Julie Marie, in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. She had worked as a translator in the Alfred P. Murrah building for just five months when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew it up in what remains our nation’s largest domestic terror attack. When Bud saw a news clip of McVeigh’s father, he saw a man who was as … Continue reading Bud Welch
Carl Kenney is a minister, author, advocate, teacher, and in his own words, a “prophet of the people.” He believes that we spend too much time and energy fighting one another because of our differences—with devastating and wide-reaching results. “I don’t have to tear you down for the sake of making me better.” My theology is rooted in the compassion of Christ. I’m a person … Continue reading Carl Kenney
Amy Robinson is a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Watford City, North Dakota—the epicenter for the oil boom in the Baaken Oil Fields, which took off just as the rest of the nation was in recession. With economic prosperity came social challenges—alcohol and drug abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence—as people flocked to the region for jobs. Like many other residents, Amy moved to Watford … Continue reading Amy Robinson
Tony Thomas was born and raised in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee. He worked in the coal mines and never finished high school. Tony records folk musicians in rural areas in an effort to preserve the local culture. He is also a singer and a songwriter himself. Tony says he has written more than 200 songs and when he dies, they are all going to … Continue reading Tony Thomas
Cesar is an undocumented immigrant who lives in Riverside, California. He was born in Mexico and crossed the border on foot when he was 16 years old. On the journey, he was robbed, nearly died of dehydration, and was almost caught by border patrol agents. He works odd jobs and hopes to move toward citizenship one day. Although Cesar told me his full name, I … Continue reading Cesar
Donna Watts is president and CEO of the South Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce in Foley, Alabama. She has worked in business development for 30 years and takes great pride in helping people pursue the American Dream. Donna says the triple punch of hurricanes, recession, and the BP oil spill brought people in the region to their knees. She says there is a sense of community that … Continue reading Donna Watts