WBEZ | StoryCorps http://www.wbez.org/tags/storycorps Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gay journalist battles Boy Scouts in court for 18 years http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140905 Noel Tim bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1970s, Tim Curran loved camping. When his best friend joined the Boy Scouts, Curran signed up too. He rose up through the ranks, achieving scouting&rsquo;s highest honor, Eagle Scout, during high school.</p><p>Curran, who is gay, came out when he was a teenager. His troop was supportive of him. But after his senior year, he was featured in a newspaper story with his prom date, who was also male. And the newspaper found its way into the hands of some higher-ups within the Boy Scouts, who decided to take action against Curran.</p><p>These days Curran works as a journalist with CNN, but three decades ago, he found himself in a very different position, as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Curran was in Chicago recently for a convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, when he stopped by the StoryCorps booth with his partner, Noel Parks.</p><p>Curran was a freshman at UCLA, when he got a letter at his dorm. &ldquo;I opened it up and it was from the council executive, the head guy of the local scout council, the Mt. Diablo Council. And it said, &lsquo;Your application to attend the national jamboree is rejected. And we need to have a conversation about your future participation with scouting.&rsquo;</p><p>So I called the council executive from my dorm room and I said does this have something to do with the article in the [Oakland] Tribune? Does this have something to do with the fact that I&rsquo;m gay?&rdquo;</p><p>And he sort of hemmed and hawed and said &ldquo;Well, yes, and we can talk about it at Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p>So that&rsquo;s what happened. My mother and my stepfather [and my troop leader] and I met with this council executive guy over Thanksgiving vacation and we had this lengthy conversation the gist of which was, &ldquo;Do you still espouse homosexuality?&rdquo; And I said: &ldquo;If by that are you asking whether I&rsquo;m still gay, the answer is yes.&rdquo;</p><p>And he said, &ldquo;Scouting does not believe that you have the moral qualifications to be a leader. And so we are revoking your registration in scouting, we&rsquo;re revoking your registration in your troop.&rdquo; And he said knowing that my troop knew that I was gay and was perfectly happy to have me. So that was the end of that.</p><p>I just remember shaking with anger at the injustice of it, but also sort of impotent to do anything about it. But also knowing that you&rsquo;re talking with this guy, it&rsquo;s a civilized conversation and you just have to keep cool and act like a scout would act.</p><p>And so in April of 1981, we filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. We meaning myself and the ACLU of Southern California.<br />It was a trial with testimony, and both sides, my friends in scouting getting on the stand and me getting on the stand, and the council executive, all testifying.</p><p>And the judge at the trial ruled against us, so we appealed. And 18 years almost to the day after we filed that suit, I lost.</p><p>But I have to say that I think it&rsquo;s very much made me a better journalist.</p><p>Because unlike nearly all of the people I&rsquo;ve ever worked with in journalism, I know what it&rsquo;s like to be on the other side of the mic.<br />I volunteered for that. But it has very much informed the way that I treat others and the way that I concern myself with accuracy. Because I heard my story misreported a million times, and knew how the little details could be gotten wrong. And so I really struggled &ndash; much to the annoyance of my editors - to get those details, the nuances right, even though sometimes it takes more time to tell a story that way.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 Sept. 11 through the eyes of an NYU undergrad http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-140912-Asha-Joseph_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;You know sometimes when you&rsquo;re in your house and a big truck will drive by and kinda shake the house? That&rsquo;s what it felt like,&rdquo; Asha Veal Brisebois says to her husband, Joseph, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Asha was in her bedroom at New York University&rsquo;s South Street Seaport dormitory, a five minute walk from the Twin Towers, when she felt her whole room rattle. &ldquo;And then I felt it again, and our suitemate opened the door and she was like: &lsquo;Something&rsquo;s going on.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brisebois and her roommates gathered in the living room, turned on the TV and saw what was happening: Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. &ldquo;It was weird. The only reference point that we had was those Denzel Washington movies, or those big Hollywood movies, where it&rsquo;s like, &lsquo;The terrorists have attacked.&rsquo; And no one quite knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>One of Asha&rsquo;s childhood friends called to see if she was okay. Asha said she was, and asked her friend to call her parents. As soon as she hung up, Asha&rsquo;s cell phone went dead.</p><p>Asha and her roommates started to panic. They lived on the fourteenth floor and someone suggested moving to a lower floor for safety. One of them had friends on the third floor, so they went downstairs. Their friends didn&rsquo;t answer and so the girls knocked on the door to the apartment next door. Three strangers let them in, and together they watched news reports on TV.</p><p>&ldquo;It was fine&hellip;Then it got weird when the Towers started to fall,&rdquo; Asha said. &ldquo;We felt it before we saw it on TV &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if there was a delay - and then the windows would go dark. So it was just kind of: You feel it, you see it on TV, and then the windows go dark... And it happened twice.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;At one point the RA came and knocked on the door and was like: You have to leave. Everyone&rsquo;s afraid that all of downtown is going to fall&hellip;.Everything&rsquo;s unstable.&rdquo;</p><p>The air outside was dirty and Asha began to worry about her asthma. She asked to borrow a shirt from one of the men whose apartment they were in, so she could breathe into it. She was delayed and lost her friends in the chaos of the evacuation.</p><p>She walked for a while and eventually found herself in the school&rsquo;s gym, where she was reunited with her friends by chance. One of her roommates had Asha&rsquo;s asthma inhaler in her purse and had insisted on waiting for her outside of their dorm. Asha didn&rsquo;t see her, but the gesture was still meaningful.</p><p>&ldquo;You have your best friends from college&hellip;Those are my friends forever &ndash; people that took care of you like family on the worst of worst days&hellip;That&rsquo;s your family. Those are your friends. You stay with each other. You look out for each other.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 Hepatitis C survivors bond over advocacy work http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hepatitis-c-survivors-bond-over-advocacy-work-110754 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140822 Alan Lucinda bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In 1988 Lucinda Porter checked into a motel room and took a massive overdose of Tylenol.</p><p>Her organs began to fail and her liver was completely gone. She survived, but she needed blood transfusions. And six weeks later, she started feeling tired.</p><p>Eventually she was diagnosed with non-A, non-B Hepatitis. &ldquo;Hepatitis C didn&rsquo;t even have a name yet. It would be another year before it would,&rdquo; Porter says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Porter was joined in the Chicago booth by her friend and fellow Hepatitis C survivor Alan Franciscus.</p><p><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm">Hepatitis C</a> has been in the news a lot lately. An expensive new drug called Sovaldi has the potential to cure people of the disease. But the costs are extraordinary, and<a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-illinois-allocates-84-000-drug-for-hepatitis-c-1407114940?mod=rss_Health"> state Medicaid plans are still tyring to figure out how to pay for it.</a></p><p>Both Porter and Franciscus have been cured of the disease, but their experiences offer a window into the effects - both good and bad - that Hepatitis C can have on a person&rsquo;s life.</p><p>Franciscus ran a support group for people living with the disease, and in time he invited Porter to write a monthly column for the group&rsquo;s newsletter. Porter went back to school and became a nurse. And she continued to learn about the disease from Franciscus and others.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things we hear about Hepatatis C is that there are no symptoms,&rdquo; Franciscus says. &ldquo;Did you have any symptoms?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I did and I didn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Porter says. &ldquo;Like many people, you find out what the symptoms are and you find out later. And I think that was why meeting you changed everything because suddenly we were talking about it. And we compared notes and we found out that neither one of us could remember anything, we both had brain fog. &nbsp;And we were both tired&hellip;Everything changed.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can you expand on that a little,&rdquo; Franciscus asks, &ldquo;about meeting kindred spirits and people we become so close to?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I remember one time working in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco,&rdquo; Porter say. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t do much, because I was a nurse walking around in San Francisco, It wasn&rsquo;t like I had a mobile van with me. I was with other outreach workers. But I got to make a difference for that moment. I got to look in their eyes for that moment.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And here we are, we&rsquo;re both cured,&rdquo; Porter continues. &ldquo;We both went through treatment and both of us continued to do advocacy while we continued treatment.&rdquo;</p><p>Treatment for Hepatitis C can be variously depressing or agitating, depending on the drugs you&rsquo;re given. Patients often are subject to either rage or malaise. But, Porter says, &ldquo;When I&rsquo;m open, it invites you to share your suffering. And we can carry it together.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though she&rsquo;s cured, Porter says, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to forget the memory of it...and I want to help others.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hepatitis-c-survivors-bond-over-advocacy-work-110754 Wheelchair-bound couple describes budding romance http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140808 Greg Rebecca_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve actually known each other for six years,&rdquo; Rebecca Wylie says while talking to her boyfriend Greg Anger in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center. They met on Facebook when he was a freshman at the University of Missouri, her alma mater.</p><p>&ldquo;I was in the hospital and I was not sleeping, and Greg was the only one on Facebook at one in the morning, and it kind of just turned into a romance.&rdquo; &ldquo;You&rsquo;re a tough egg to crack, let me tell you,&rdquo; Anger says.</p><p>Wylie is working towards a Law Degree from Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on health care. She is also a quadriplegic, and uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t born with my disability,&rdquo; she says. &rdquo;I was seven years old when it happened. So I do know what it&rsquo;s like to ride a bike and run around.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What about you?&rdquo; she asks Anger, who is getting a Master&rsquo;s in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and who also uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t had the experience of riding a bike like everyone else.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Everything that I&rsquo;ve gotten in my life is somehow connected to me being disabled,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;Which is weird because it&rsquo;s not something that I like to use to identify myself, like, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the wheelchair basketball player,&rsquo; or &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the guy in the wheelchair.&rsquo; And I don&rsquo;t really like that per se, but then again everything I have gotten in my life is because I&rsquo;m disabled. I wouldn&rsquo;t have went to the University of Missouri to play basketball. I wouldn&rsquo;t have started talking to you.&rdquo;</p><p>And it&rsquo;s the talking to each other that has helped sustain both of them through difficult times.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of hard for me to put into words,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;She has a wonderful heart and personality.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just very accepting of who I am regardless of any of my abilities or disabilities,&rdquo; Wylie said.</p><p>&ldquo;Living with a disability provides so many daily challenges,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And you have no idea what those challenges are going to be because everyday the challenge is something different. Dealing with that and pushing through it, are the hardest and most rewarding things.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s really nothing we can&rsquo;t do together,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re gonna get me to move back to the freezing cold Midwest, you can pretty much do anything because I will tell you that that was not on my plans and now there&rsquo;s nowhere I don&rsquo;t want to be as long as you&rsquo;re there too.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 Survivor of sexual abuse inspires others to speak up http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140801 Sheila Murphy Barbara Blaine_bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Barbara Blaine was in eighth grade when she was sexually abused by a priest at her Catholic grammar school in Ohio. She felt responsible, that she had caused a good, holy priest to sin.</p><p>Last week, Blaine sat down with her friend and mentor, retired Judge Sheila Murphy in the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the trauma that led her to create a network of survivors of sexual abuse by priests.</p><p>Blaine asked church leaders to ensure that the priest who abused her would be monitored, and would not come into contact with children. To her surprise, he began working at a hospital where kids sometimes went unsupervised.</p><p>Around that same time, Blaine&rsquo;s father had a stroke and wound up in the same hospital where the priest worked. When she asked the head of pastoral care to make sure the priest didn&rsquo;t come by her father&rsquo;s room, she discovered that he was not being monitored, and &ldquo;It was like a knife going in my stomach,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I felt so betrayed. I immediately started wondering: If they lied about this, what else did they lie about? I learned much later that he had actually continued to abuse many more girls over the years. And it&rsquo;s heartbreaking because I feel somewhat responsible.&rdquo;</p><p>In the years that followed, Blaine spoke up about the abuse she suffered, and encouraged others to do the same. As some people spoke up, others came forward. Each year, Blaine says, the victims&rsquo; group got stronger, despite denial and minimization on the part of church leaders. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t even have cellphones or the internet back then,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But we found each other, and we wrote letters and called.&rdquo;</p><p>Thus began<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/"> SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests</a>. The group will hold its<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/2014_conference_schedule"> annual conference in Chicago</a> this weekend (August 1-3, 2014) with special guest speakers, including Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke and historian Garry Wills. StoryCorps will be on hand to record survivors&rsquo; tales.</p><p>Over its twenty-five year history, SNAP leaders have proven adept at getting their story to the public. In 2011,<a href="http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/survivors-network-of-those-abused-priests-v.-joseph-ratzinger,-et-al"> SNAP leaders, working with the Center for Constitutional Rights</a>, asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict and other high-ranking Catholic clergy with Crimes Against Humanity for their alleged role in the cover-up of sexual abuse in the church. The International Criminal Court chose not to charge them at that time, Blaine says, but said they would take notice, should SNAP or CCR desire to bring additional evidence. The United Nations&rsquo; Committee Against Torture and Committee on the Rights of the Child both issued scathing reports, Blaine says, saying some church leaders care more about the reputation of predatory priests than the protection of children. On Pope Francis, Blaine said, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s set up a committee about sexual abuse. He&rsquo;s held a meeting. He&rsquo;s met with some victims. But we don&rsquo;t see him doing simple things like turning over all the records he has about sex crimes. Turn over those records to police.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Most survivors want to remain anonymous,&rdquo; Blaine said. &ldquo;And they have every right to their privacy. But sometimes, keeping things private makes it a little more difficult to do fundraising or hold public meetings. And the other thing is people frequently perceive us as being anti-Catholic. And to be honest, I think someday when history looks back on our movement, people will say those survivors speaking up made the Church safer.&rdquo;</p><p>Children remain at risk in many countries, she says, including the United States. But the goal of SNAP is to make sure that risk lessens with each passing year. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the hope,&rdquo; Blaine said, &ldquo;that our efforts will protect another generation of children.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590 Former gang member describes transformation http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-gang-member-describes-transformation-110565 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/sc_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Carlos Kasper, 26, has already learned more about himself than most people ever do. Kasper grew up in Little Village and was raised by his step-dad and his mom &ndash; who struggled to make ends meet. &ldquo;We grew up in the gang culture,&rdquo; Kasper said in a recent StoryCorps interview. &ldquo;[We would] smoke a lot of weed, listen to a lot of gangster rap, hang out with the guys from the block.&rdquo;</p><p>As a kid he had a lot of pent-up anger and frustration. But his brother and cousins kept him out of the gangs&hellip;for a while, at least.</p><p>There was a period towards the end of high school, when Kasper learned community organizing techniques. But he soon became disillusioned with the non-profit world when he realized their focus was on eradicating gangbangers in Little Village.&nbsp; &ldquo;I took it very personal,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;Because a lot of my family is gangbangers. And I knew them and they weren&rsquo;t these savages or these evil people. They&rsquo;re just regular people who just chose another lifestyle.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Gangbangers are people&rsquo;s sons, people&rsquo;s brothers, people&rsquo;s cousins, people&rsquo;s fathers,&rdquo; he continued.</p><p>&ldquo;These [community organizer] people are acting like they&rsquo;re aliens, murderers, running around wildly.&rdquo;</p><p>Little by little, he transitioned into gang life. He appreciated the sense of brotherhood that he got as a gang member and the looks he&rsquo;d get from people who were intimidated by him.</p><p>Then he got locked up for two months in the county jail. &ldquo;I had all these problems that I didn&rsquo;t let out,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But I didn&rsquo;t take care of the root base of my deep personal issues.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m glad I got locked up,&rdquo; Kasper said. &ldquo;There was just so much time to think, so much time for reflection, so much time for meditation, exercise. And when I came out, I came out a whole different person.&rdquo;</p><p>When he got out, he refused to take orders from some gang leaders. He still valued his fellow gang members and their ideals, but he wanted to make a change for himself.</p><p>In order to get out of the gang, he agreed to a &ldquo;violation,&rdquo; which meant that he was beat up from head to toe, for three minutes by his fellow gang members, two at a time, each guy taking five to ten seconds. By the end of it, his bones were aching and he couldn&rsquo;t lift his arms above his shoulders.</p><p>He believes he ended things on good terms with the gang. &ldquo;I feel really strong being able to step in front of them without insulting them and telling them that they were my brothers and I love them, but I can&rsquo;t do these things anymore because my life had changed.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I was real with them. I kept it genuine. And I really loved them and I showed them that.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-gang-member-describes-transformation-110565 Minister haunted by decades-old domestic dispute http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/minister-haunted-decades-old-domestic-dispute-110524 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/sc.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Carl Johnson&rsquo;s parents weren&rsquo;t around much when he was a kid.</p><p>He was an only child and he was very inquisitive. &ldquo;There were three things I said I wanted: I wanted peace. There was so much chaos in my life. I wanted hope. And I wanted love. And that&rsquo;s what I found in the church.&rdquo;</p><p>This year, Johnson celebrates 50 years as an ordained member of the Lutheran clergy.</p><p>He came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center with his children, Matthew Moy Johnson and Bethany Kaufmann, to talk about his experiences as a minister.</p><p>He was ordained in 1964 in Granite City, Illinois, near St. Louis. &ldquo;When I became a pastor I realized I had a responsibility and that I needed to be very much aware of what I said and how I lived my life,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The main thing was to find a deeper meaning.&rdquo;</p><p>As he reflects on his five decades as a clergy member, Johnson remembers small moments: Helping a husband and wife through the loss of their teenage son. Teaching people about God and watching them teach each other. Being an advocate for issues of social justice.</p><p>One experience that shaped him as a young pastor was talking to a couple going through a domestic dispute with a loaded gun. He&nbsp; felt like, as a minister, it was his responsibility to counsel them no matter what the circumstances.</p><p>Looking back, though, he says entering such a volatile fray - with an angry spouse and a loaded weapon - could almost be considered reckless. He successfully counseled the couple, but said, &ldquo;Today I would be more cautious.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnson says he is humbled and grateful for everything that&rsquo;s happened in his life. But, he adds, I still have &ldquo;so much more to learn.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/minister-haunted-decades-old-domestic-dispute-110524 StoryCorps: Veteran encourages his kids to be proud of the United States http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_13.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Sam Guard graduated from high school on D-Day, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower launched troops onto the beaches of Normandy. Within two weeks of graduation, he turned himself in to an army post and began his military service. He was sent to the Pacific, earning his first battle star in the Philippines.<br /><br />When Sam visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with his neighbor and friend Ruth Knack, he described his time in the military as being like a marriage. &ldquo;You think to yourself. &lsquo;This is it. Let&rsquo;s make the best of it.&rsquo; It is a continuous challenge and you need to rise to the occasion.&rdquo;<br /><br />He used the GI bill to go to college, but was soon recalled for the Korean conflict. He earned four more battle stars by being in 270 days of continuous combat. He recalls sleeping in a hole in the ground, without changing his clothes or washing himself. &ldquo;Our sink was our steel helmet turned upside down,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />In the trenches, he was reminded of something his mother would say when he was a kid. &ldquo;No son of mine will ever serve in a war,&rdquo; she would tell her friends. Her husband had served in the military and she believed that it was supposed to be the &ldquo;war to end all wars.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Sam remembers a time in the 1970s when his kids came home from school in tears.<br /><br />&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the matter?&rdquo; he asked. They said they were ashamed.<br /><br />&ldquo;Ashamed of what?&rdquo; he asked. Ashamed to be Americans, they responded.<br /><br />Kids at school were reacting to news of the Watergate scandal. &quot;And I thought about this,&quot; Sam said. &quot;I spent four years and two wars fighting for my country and my children are ashamed to be Americans?&quot;<br /><br />But Sam felt that the Watergate scandal was a net positive because the country corrected itself, without a revolution. &ldquo;What seems like a great defeat is possibly the highest moment,&rdquo; Sam said. &ldquo;Our greatest insight into the ultimate truth. It&rsquo;s that taking apart that may reveal its true nature.&rdquo;</p><p>He looked into his children&rsquo;s tiny faces and told them &ldquo;that they are witnessing not the disgrace of America but the triumph of our system that works.&rdquo;</p><p>And so, throughout his life there has always been a mixture of pride in his military service and shame in having to explain things to his family.<br /><br />&ldquo;We call them heroes? But what the hell is heroic about dropping bombs on people?&rdquo; To soldiers today he would say: I have some understanding of the price they paid and I wish them well. It is appreciated.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 Transgender man learns to accept love http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-man-learns-accept-love-110424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140627 Nick Heap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;I was the oldest of three girls and I had really only male friends for most of my growing-up years,&rdquo; Nick Heap says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I had long, long blonde hair, long enough I could actually sit-on-it, blonde.&rdquo;</p><p>Nick grew up female and transitioned to male as an adult. He recorded his story as part of a partnership between StoryCorps Chicago and the<a href="http://transoralhistory.com/"> <u>Trans Oral History Project</u></a>.</p><p>As a kid, Nick was a &ldquo;tomboy&rdquo; who enjoyed riding around the neighborhood on his dirt bike, without a shirt on. His parents were supportive of expressing his identity as much as they understood it, but he struggled to understand himself.</p><p>In seventh grade, Nick wrote anonymous love letters to a girl at school who figured out pretty quickly who was writing them. &ldquo;Within days it was all over the school,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The harassment I would get after that was daily.&rdquo;</p><p>Nick&rsquo;s parents were called into the principal&rsquo;s office, but they stood firm: &ldquo;Is she causing an academic disruption in the classroom?&rdquo; they asked. &ldquo;So she wrote some notes to another kid. Kids do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Nick says that years later he talked to the girl who passed his notes around. She became a family counselor as an adult and they were able to talk through the experience in a healing way.</p><p>Even with that kind of support, for a long time it felt like he was on the outside looking in.</p><p>&ldquo;It was really hard feeling like I was utterly alone,&rdquo; Nick says. &ldquo;Now that I am passably male one hundred percent of the time, I am finally free to express those aspects of myself that are feminine, safely. But for so long, I spent so much of my life being ultra-masculine.&rdquo;</p><p>Over time, Nick has learned to have more patience with his family and himself.</p><p>&ldquo;For so long in my life, I couldn&rsquo;t feel the love of all the people around me,&rdquo; Nick says. &ldquo;It was like I was walking around inside a shell of armor. And their love just couldn&rsquo;t get to me. I couldn&rsquo;t feel it. I saw it, I knew it was there, I just couldn&rsquo;t feel it. And today that&rsquo;s not the truth. I can absolutely experience all this amazing love that has been all around me all the time and I&rsquo;m able to give that back to people now.&rdquo;</p><p>In June,<a href="http://storycorps.org/outloud/"> <u>StoryCorps launched the &ldquo;Out Loud&rdquo; initiative</u></a> to collect stories from LGBT people. One of these stories will be broadcast nationally on NPR each week for the next year.</p><p>The Trans Oral History Project continues to collect stories in partnership with StoryCorps Chicago. They <a href="http://transoralhistory.com/uploads/toolkit/ilive-interactive.pdf">recently published a toolkit</a> for gay-straight alliances and community organizations that work with LGBT youth.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 07:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-man-learns-accept-love-110424 Interracial lesbian couple falls in love http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/interracial-lesbian-couple-falls-love-110385 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140620 Angela Virginia_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;There are lots of things about the queer community that I love and there are lots of things I don&rsquo;t love. I think there tends to be a big emphasis on looks and size,&rdquo; Angela Ibrahim says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>&ldquo;You tend to see people who look alike together. And if there are two people who don&rsquo;t look alike &ndash; It&rsquo;s Virginia and I. I&rsquo;m six feet tall and I&rsquo;m a big kid. Virginia is five (foot), five (inches), small and blond. So, we don&rsquo;t look alike.&rdquo;</p><p>There are other differences too: Angela is black and Virginia is white.</p><p>Angela grew up in the suburbs, while Virginia grew up in the city.</p><p>There are similarities as well. Both women work in higher education and both have brothers who have been to prison.</p><p>Angela says for a while after they met, though, she thought they could never be together because of their differences.</p><p>In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center, where the women were visiting from Wisconsin, Angela and Virginia express fear and excitement about their impending wedding and their families&rsquo; reactions.</p><p>&ldquo;I never really envisioned myself marrying someone,&rdquo; Virginia says. &ldquo;And even though I didn&rsquo;t have a vision for it, I know that when I&rsquo;m with you, I feel like it&rsquo;s gonna be okay&hellip;It just makes sense, and I trust that.&rdquo;</p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/interracial-lesbian-couple-falls-love-110385