The novel Esperanza Rising tells the “riches to rags” story of a girl who lived comfortably in Mexico in the 1930s until her family’s situation changed. She and her family had to move to California, where they worked in farm labor camps and lived in poverty as migrant workers during the Great Depression. Listen to hear an excerpt and a book discussion and learn how the author’s grandmother’s experiences inspired her to write the novel.
Current Event October 8, 2019
Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, destroyed people’s homes in the Bahamas and sent thousands of islanders fleeing to Florida for refuge. The refugees are facing many challenges, such as gaining entry to the U.S. without proper documents, finding schools for their children, and supporting themselves. Listen to learn how some Bahamians are coping with the effects of a devastating hurricane and what they are doing to move forward with their lives in a new country.
Collection October 2, 2019
A person’s identity has many facets, and it develops over time. For example, one’s interests, personality, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, politics, and nationality all influence one’s identity. In certain contexts, particular aspects of one’s identity may be more prominent, while in other situations, people may feel pressure to hide parts of who they are. Experiences shape one’s identity, and identity inevitably shapes one’s experiences. This audio story collection focuses on individuals who feel conflict among aspects of their identities. They may be torn between who they are and who others want them to be. Ultimately, by embracing their own personal stories and the complexity of their identities, these figures ultimately come to accept themselves for who they are and make deliberate choices about who they want to be.
Collection October 2, 2019
Years ago, the idea of “the American Dream” entered the national dialogue as an ideal and achievable goal. It represents the notion that in the United States of America, everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and prosper, regardless of class or origins, with hard work and determination. In subsequent years, while people continue to believe in and aspire to achieve “the American Dream,” transcending social barriers that may operate elsewhere, the dream remains more of an ideal than a reality for many. This audio story collection explores the theme of the American Dream through the perspectives of various individuals, inviting consideration of how the dream manifests in reality for people of different backgrounds.
Collection October 1, 2019
Fear is a powerful motivator. As a basic animal instinct, it can help to protect people from danger, but it can also inspire behavior that is harmful. Fear manifests in many ways, and it can spread quickly and easily. Fear can be used as a tool to abuse power through exclusion, intimidation, or force. The embers of natural anxiety can be fanned into flames of irrational fear, driving people to act in ways that hurt themselves or others. A hint of fear can also be exciting, and many people seek amusement that offers the opportunity to vicariously experience the thrill of danger. This audio story collection includes tales that illustrate the power of fear in a range of circumstances, including its origins and its consequences.
Current Event September 17, 2019
President Trump recently tweeted that some Congressional representatives should “go back” to “the places from which they came.” These comments sounded familiar to many Americans, who have had others tell them to “go home,” though they were born in the United States. Listen to hear stories of Americans who have been told to “go back” and learn how such remarks have affected them.
Current Event September 12, 2019
Dr. Ayaz Virji moved to Dawson, Minnesota to help fill a need for doctors in rural America. At first, all was well, but during the 2016 election, the climate began to shift. As a Muslim, he no longer felt as welcome in Dawson, and he regularly faced discrimination. Virji decided to take action to help his community and others like it better understand and tolerate his faith and has since written a book about his experiences. Listen to hear Dr. Virji’s story and learn about his plans for the future.
Current Event August 21, 2019
Many California immigrants become their own bosses. For example, one immigrant from Thailand started a Thai food business that will likely be expanding very soon. Experts note that there are some good reasons why immigrants are likely to become entrepreneurs. Listen to learn the causes behind this Californian trend and hear more of one immigrant’s story.
Current Event July 29, 2019
A policy adopted by the Customs and Border Protection agency known as “metering” has significantly reduced the number of immigrants being processed daily at the U.S.-Mexico border. While the agency says that they cannot keep up with the large numbers of asylum seekers, migrants and immigration reform advocates say that this slower processing speed causes serious problems. Listen to hear about how metering has affected those seeking asylum in the U.S. through its southern border.
Jose Antonio Vargas is an award-winning author who arrived in the U.S. as a young boy. Like thousands of other immigrants, his parents brought him into the country illegally in pursuit of the American Dream. In this audio story, Vargas explains how he found out his family’s secret and why he decided to tell the world he is undocumented. The story examines why America is seen as an ideal country for opportunity for thousands of people around the world and why some people send their children alone to the U.S. in pursuit of the American Dream.
Current Event March 18, 2019
The recently proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexican border would not be the first of its kind. In 2006, Democrats and Republicans passed a bill to construct a secure fence across part of the border. To build the fence, the government took land from private property owners, which is allowed through a power known as eminent domain. In such cases, the government is not required to ask owners for permission to claim their land. Listen to hear about the laws that allow this kind of land seizure, how they impact landowners, and how issues related to eminent domain might resurface with the current border wall proposal.
Current Event December 20, 2018
While some migrant children travel to the United States with their families, others arrive on their own to be reunified with family members they have not seen in a long time. Such family reunifications may bring happiness, but they can present challenges as well. Listen to learn about the experience of two girls from El Salvador who came to live with their mother in Virginia after not seeing her for ten years.
Current Event December 3, 2018
A large group of Central American migrants fleeing violence and seeking asylum in the United States have been gathering at the Mexican border as they await processing of their applications. Tensions erupted recently in Tijuana, Mexico during a protest by migrants impatient with the process, and some made a run for the U.S. border during the unrest. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers fired tear gas on the migrants and temporarily closed the border. Listen to this story to learn more about reactions to these events and ideas about how to improve the situation.
Current Event May 16, 2018
About 150 migrants have reached the entrance to a U.S. border station in Tijuana, Mexico. They came in a caravan from Central America, sleeping on the tops of trains to escape violence in their own countries. They are applying for political asylum, but U.S. officials say they can only take a limited number of asylum applications. The United States law is intended to provide a safe haven for people who can prove they are fleeing persecution in their home countries. Listen to hear more about migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
Current Event May 15, 2018
The demographic shifts in Texas may preview changes in all of America. More Americans being born and growing up in Texas today are people of color. These populations have experienced economic inequality and lack of opportunities. Making changes and investing in education may help reduce some effects of these inequalities. The growing numbers of Latinos, African Americans and Asians may also change Texas politically as young people become more active in speaking up and voting. Listen to hear about the changes that are seen in Texas demographics and the changes that could help to ensure the success of all Americans.
Current Event April 24, 2018
Refugees arriving in the United States typically get 3 months of government funded support. It’s often not enough time to adjust and learn everything from navigating the medical system to finding transportation and a job. One teacher in Virginia started a non-profit to connect refugees with people in the community to help them adjust to a new country and culture. Listen to hear more about this program.
Current Event April 11, 2018
In Sacramento, California, a new program was started to help refugees and immigrants understand their legal rights. The “Understanding Your RIghts” program was sparked by an increase in refugee groups moving into the area, and a need to educate these newly arrived people of their rights. Listen to hear more about this new program that will help people understand the laws in the United States.
Current Event April 3, 2018
The Trump administration designated March 5, 2018 as the last day that recipients of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, could apply to renew their status. But the fate of these young people is still uncertain as Congress hasn’t reached a compromise on this issue. One DACA recipient is a woman who graduated from college and is supporting her family on her teacher’s salary. But her younger sister is not protected by DACA. Listen to this story to learn more about the effects of the government’s decision not to accept new DACA applications.
Current Event February 5, 2018
Some people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children spend their days teaching students, many of whom might also be in the country without legal immigrant status. These recipients of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are working in American schools and are uncertain whether they can can continue to live or work in the United States. One teacher finds it difficult to talk with her students about an uncertain future. Listen to learn what could happen to DACA recipients and how this teacher has become resilient.
Current Event January 30, 2018
In a meeting to discuss immigrants from Haiti, Africa and Central America, President Trump said he believes the United States grants entry to too many people from these countries and instead should focus on welcoming immigrants from countries such as Norway. These comments came as a shock to many. But America once had a visa program based on national origin. Listen to learn what happened to this program and how Trump's comments could affect the multicultural identity of America.