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Feet In 2 Worlds: A Better Life?
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Feet In 2 Worlds: A Better Life?

Author: Feet in 2 Worlds

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“A Better Life?” explores how America’s failed response to COVID-19 has reshaped immigrants’ lives and their relationship to the United States. Each episode tells a different immigrant story and examines how the crisis has challenged or changed that person’s ideas of what it means to be American.

The show also includes conversations with immigrant elders — grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles — to hear how they are coping during this time, and what they have learned over the years that can help the rest of us survive today’s challenges.
44 Episodes
The vice presidential nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris has made South Asian political power mainstream in the United States. In New Jersey — a state with a large and growing Desi population — differences over religion, culture and national origin make unity difficult to achieve.
As an immigrant in New York City, Rosalind Tordesillas has looked to her Tita Margaret Gomez — who came to New York from the Philippines in the ‘70s — as a role model for building a life there. The two New Yorkers remember their own resilience after 9/11, and Margaret offers inspiration for getting through this current moment.
Black residents in Maine make up 2% of the state’s population, but they’re twenty times more likely to get COVID than white Mainers. We hear from two members of the state’s African diaspora — Lewiston councilwoman Safiya Khalid and civil liberties attorney Michael Kebede — about the history of African migration to Maine and how they were transformed by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
After the U.S., India has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. New York City-based Ramaa Reddy calls her 93-year-old aunt Indira in Bangalore to see how she’s doing.
When Covid-19 hit Italy in April, Italian immigrants Sara and Maria were stuck in San Francisco. So the neighbors began reminiscing about all the things — music, bread, Neapolitan scenery — that home meant to them.
Rosa — an undocumented Mexican immigrant who cleans hotel rooms in Phoenix — lost her income just a few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic. But she quickly fought back. Reporter Maritza L. Félix tells us her story.
Philip and Niki Zias are Greek immigrants living on Long Island. When they first moved to Queens in the 1960s, their home was filled with music, food, and laughter. On this Call Your Elders segment, their granddaughter Anna pays them a visit.
The Home Clock

The Home Clock


When New York City became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, Brooklyn-based producer Beenish Ahmed struggled over whether to visit her parents in Ohio or stay put. Her parents — a landlord and hairdresser who immigrated from Pakistan in the ‘70s — begged her to come home. When Beenish finally decided to go in May, she recorded that journey, and the discoveries she made about her family’s relationship to America.
In our first Call Your Elders conversation, Haitian-American producer Florence Barrau-Adams checks in on her parents, Monique and Eric, to see how they’ve been making the best of quarantine.
When the coronavirus hit the United States, two immigrants — Heeja and Elsa — wrestled with the same question: should I remain in America, despite the flawed U.S. response, or return to my home country? Having sought a better life in the United States, both women are rethinking their ideas of America and arriving at different conclusions.
"A Better Life?" is a new podcast produced by Feet in 2 Worlds exploring how COVID-19 has changed immigrants’ lives and challenged their ideas about the promise of America.  Coming August 20th, the show features the work of journalists who are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
Feet in 2 Worlds has partnered with public radio station WDET to award fellowships to four journalists covering food, immigrant culture and communities of color in Metro Detroit. Their first audio postcards are sound-rich snapshots of people and places in the Motor City's diverse food landscape.
The Taste of Longing

The Taste of Longing


For many of us food is the most evocative way to recall different times and places. For almost 20 years the only way Yewande Komolafe could connect with her homeland of Nigeria was through food. Food shaped Yewande's profession, and it also gave her a unique perspective on the experiences of other immigrants in the U.S.
For decades New York’s Pearl River Mart was the place to go for Chinese goods. Pearl River wasn’t just a department store, it was a cultural landmark. Then in 2016, after 40 years in business, the store closed. But its faithful customers and its founders weren't ready to let go. Michelle Chen tells the story of her family’s store: from its origins at the cusp of the Cold War, through economic ups and downs, to how Pearl River revived itself in the new millennium for the next generation of consumers.
Dreaming of Damascus

Dreaming of Damascus


Yara and her family were forced to flee Syria and gained asylum in the US though they never had dreams of living in America.  They long for the life they loved in Damascus, but they must make a home in this new place.  That's hard enough without the constant reminders that they're not fully welcome here.
People immigrate for different reasons -- economic insecurity, political instability, or the simple desire to see another part of the world.  But when they leave their home country, they're usually leaving someone behind.  Most immigrants know the challenge of keeping connections with their families. Some may be separated from their loved ones for years, straining those relationships. Nathan Yardy tells us how one family's ruptured bonds spanned generations, and what it took for those wounds to heal.  
More than a million New Yorkers carry a municipal ID, issued by the city. The ID NYC program was launched in January 2015 to help undocumented immigrants and others unable to obtain other forms of government identification. City officials point to the program as an important aspect of New York’s sanctuary policies for immigrants without legal papers.  But the strident anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration are creating new challenges for the municipal ID. Rosalind Tordesillas has the story.
“When I first took [the hijab] off, I felt it was such an elaborate performance, but after two or three months, I’m so quick with it, I’m like a little ninja, you’ll be shocked how fast I do it, I remember a woman looked at me and was like ‘did I just see this girl?'” Reporter Tahini Rahman produced our story about how a young Muslim woman struggles to reconcile being the person she wants to be and the woman her parents want her to be.
India Home

India Home


When Americans talk about what they admire most about immigrants - and yes, many Americans do admire immigrants - one thing they point to is how elderly people are supported in cultures from other parts of the world.     India Home is a group of community centers throughout the borough of Queens set up to support South Asian seniors.  Alex Wynn and Sruti Penumetsa are graduate students at The New School in New York.  They visited India Home and found that the centers create a sense of community among a very diverse group of senior citizens.
99 Cent Store

99 Cent Store


Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things that the rest of us take for granted in our daily lives.  Tiu Wu is a graduate student from China studying sociology at The New School in New York City.  When he looked around his neighborhood in Brooklyn he noticed an unusual number of 99-cent stores.  These Chinese-owned discount shops all seemed to be selling the same merchandise and competing for the same customers. How can they all survive, he wondered?  At first, Tiu had a hard time getting store-owners to talk.  He finally found one store where the woman behind the cash register agreed to answer his questions. She introduced him to a world full of surprises. This story was produced as part of the Telling Immigrant Stories course at The New School.
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