Not too many bonuses in 2020 but here’s one! We talked to Director of the Philadelphia Storytelling Project, Mark Lyons, on this week’s main episode. He mentioned a book he helped to edit and translate by a young woman who fled alone to the United States when she was 14. In this bonus episode, Mark reads a powerful excerpt from the book, Dreams and Nightmares/Sueños y Pesadillas by Liliana Velásquez.
The session in which we talk to Mark Lyons about the power of stories to create social change. As an author, and director of the Philadelphia Storytelling Project, Mark has worked with youth and adults to create audio stories about their lives. He has worked with inner-city youth using audio stories to improve literacy; with immigrants to document their dreams, barriers and determination, and with veterans who have found a way out of homelessness.
The session in which we spoke with Marion Hamermesh about her participation in the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, an organization working to build relationships between Muslim and Jewish women. We focused our discussion on a ‘Building Bridges’ trip some of the Sisterhood went on in January 2020. A group of 48 Muslim and Jewish women from all across the United States traveled to the U.S./Mexican border in Arizona.
The bonding and learning was deep and heartfelt for all of the participants. In addition to each woman’s personal moral compass, they were following respective Islamic and Jewish text (from their website):
“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus, 23:9)
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Beware of oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection.’” (Muslim 2578)
Learn more at sosspeace.org
The session in which we spoke with Selena Alonzo, J.D. a public defender in Maryland. Selena is a Mexican-American and was strongly influenced by her family experience of having several of the most important men in her life (grandfather, uncles, cousin) incarcerated for various reasons. Selena holds deep knowledge of the effects of incarceration on people and their families. Knowing that the truest solution will be systemic change in our criminal justice system, Selena uses her law degree to work within the system to help change a potentially negatively spiraling life course for people as best she can.
We spoke with Selena just as the pandemic began to shut down the nation and asked for an update – this update also needs an update as we received it on March 25, 2020 but is interesting nonetheless: