AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Aunt Betty. This week on the show, protest - present and past. All right. Let's start the show.
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SAM SANDERS, HOST:
Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. You are listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. And this episode, we are talking protests. We're going to start by unpacking one of the biggest stories of this week - all the professional athletes who have gone on strike over police killings of Black people. And then a bit later, we'll talk about a protest from 50 years ago in Los Angeles over the Vietnam War. It is called the Chicano Moratorium. And if you don't know what it is already, well, we're going to tell you.
All right. Let's begin with this week's protest in sports. This Wednesday the Milwaukee Bucks walked off the court ahead of their playoff game to protest for racial justice. Milwaukee is just 40 miles away from Kenosha, Wis., where police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back seven times. That shooting has led to protests across the country. Soon after the Bucks walked off the court, other NBA and WNBA players and former players and coaches - they'd all decided that they'd had enough. And sports as we knew it, beyond just basketball - for at least a bit, it all came to a halt.
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GEORGE HILL: Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot.
LEBRON JAMES: I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids - we are terrified.
ARIEL ATKINS: We're not just basketball players. And if you think we are, then don't watch us. You're watching the wrong sport because we're so much more than that. We're going to say what we need to say, and people need to hear that.
CHRIS WEBBER: I have young nephews I've had to talk to about death before they've even seen it in a movie. If not now, when? If not during a pandemic (laughter) and countless lives being lost - if not now, when?
DOC RIVERS: It's amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.
STERLING BROWN: We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves. Take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on November 3 on the behalf of Milwaukee Bucks.
SANDERS: So to help us talk this out, I called up a friend of the show, Clinton Yates. He is a columnist at The Undefeated.
So I've never seen anything like this. You have been covering sports for years, seen these strikes all happen at once in all these major sports. How surprising is this for you as someone who covers sports, like, on a scale of one to, oh, my God, I can't believe this?
CLINTON YATES: If we're using the metaphor of the frog in the water slowly heating up, the water is about half-hot. And people probably have forgotten that it was heating up this entire time. But if we step out of that cauldron and we look at this, it's 100% shocking. The idea of players walking away from a playoff game because they simply were too stressed out because of what was happening outside of where they were playing as well as inside of their personal situation - you couldn't write this stuff.
YATES: You know? It's dystopian in a very strange way, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. I mean, think about it. Everybody is locked up at Disney.
YATES: And they are marginally miserable because of what's happening in the real world.
YATES: And they can't leave, you know? It's so bizarre on...
SANDERS: Oh, yeah.
YATES: ...A lot of different kind of "Black Mirror" levels.
SANDERS: Well, and to think that, you know, these leagues fought so hard to get sports back to give the rest of us some sense of normalcy as the pandemic keeps us locked up - you know, a lot of folks are mourning that little bit of normalcy that they felt with these leagues playing. That's kind of on pause right now or has been on pause for the last few days.
YATES: Which is why this is so awkwardly, like, unfortunate - is because if these guys don't want to play, it affects a lot more than just them. And I don't just mean in terms of fans watching. I mean in terms of what you mentioned - all of the support staff, all of the TV production people, all of the people who feed these humans and all of them - all the people who have to make sure that everything is clean down there. There's a whole army of folks who are getting this thing off the ground in terms of producing and making sure that NBA games happen, so that decision is not made lightly. These guys just needed a break, Sam, you know? Like, bereavement is real, and this is one of those for me.
SANDERS: So this is what your piece got to this week. You know, there's all this rhetoric and question of these players, saying, what is a strike going to do for police violence? You know, these sports leagues aren't tied to police departments. What do you expect these owners to do? They're not police officers. But you wrote and said, what if they're not striking for anything but just to get a break because they're tired, because the news of these killings just wears you down over time? Why do you think so many folks are questioning what this is actually for? And is that in part because these players haven't really said what their end goal is yet?
YATES: I think it's because people like to switch track when it becomes a matter of them having to do something instead of just standing back and saying what they're not. You know, not to get too far into this, but you know how it is when you have your white friends. You say, oh, white people do this. And the first thing they'll do is either say, I didn't mean to do that, or they'll say, oh, that's not me, because that primary exculpation of themselves is the most important thing. And so when you look at guys and they say, I'm not doing any of this, the first thought people have is, oh, what did I do, or what are you going to do? It's this forced binary that I think is just so unfair in terms of how we are treated when it comes to expressing our basic levels of agency. And that general misunderstanding or, rather, willful misunderstanding that I think is a position a lot of Black folks get put in is kind of what's affecting this. These brothers are saying, yo, man, we ain't playing, dog. Take a look around, all right? That should be good enough, in my opinion. However, people start asking for, what does this mean? It doesn't mean anything. They're proven to themselves that they can have the agency to just say, nah, we're good today. That's good enough for me, Sam.
SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. You know, what substantive things might these strikes accomplish? I've heard that Milwaukee - the Bucks are asking state House leaders to come back for a special session. I think in Houston they're partnering to make the stadium that they plan in a voting site this November. What kind of actual, tangible things might come out of these activities and these strikes from these players?
YATES: Well, I think No. 1 - you know, I don't want to undersell the tangibility of the mental health of the guys that are on the court. So the No. 1 tangible thing that might come out about it is, frankly, the quality of the basketball. No. 2 - 20% of the guys in the NBA are registered to vote, 20%. That's it. And so I think that on a basic level, improving that and how that's going to send a message to other people is going to increase things overall. And, thirdly, I can't put enough emphasis on the notion of simply paying attention and believing us when it comes to what we say and what we do. The general notion of, OK, we hear you - Black Lives Matter. All right, that was the 200 level. Let's get to the 300-level course, where you actually say something to somebody that matters, and so that they understand that this isn't just about the generalized concept of respecting us.
SANDERS: Where do the owners in these leagues stand, and what can they do? You know, there are a lot of folks saying, what do you hope to - like, there's not a thing that you can do with these strikes. These rich white owners can't change anything. They just own sports teams. But these rich white sports teams owners, they are pretty powerful. And they do have some agency and some influence, and a lot of them know politicians. What could they do? What are they doing? What might they do?
YATES: Well, let's take a quick break, and I'm going to ask you a question. Do you know who owns the Orlando Magic?
SANDERS: I don't.
YATES: Take a quick look. Hit your Google box.
SANDERS: OK. OK (laughter). Google box.
YATES: And when the answer comes up, tell me what the name you see is.
SANDERS: Let's see. Orlando Magic owner.
YATES: Might be familiar.
SANDERS: Let's see. Let's see. Let's see. Rich DeVos.
SANDERS: Who is the - OK, of the DeVos family.
YATES: How about that?
SANDERS: Whoa. OK (laughter). OK.
YATES: So, yes, the owners matter in this situation, Sam. Absolutely.
SANDERS: All right.
YATES: Because some of these people are names you know that are involved in things you do. So that's the 400 level, you know?
SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.
YATES: And that's just in undergrad, Sam.
YATES: So we talked about that analogy. That's the next step.
YATES: The master's course would be, of course, getting owners to talk to other rich white people. And the Ph.D. course, of course, is obviously, literally, normalizing the concept of Black Lives Matter and, arguably, defunding the police. So that's where we are.
SANDERS: Does it look like any of these owners will be moved by this? I mean, we have seen how obstinate NFL owners can be, for instance.
YATES: Yeah, but NFL owners are printing money in a different way, and that comes down to the way the workforce operates in terms of - there's just more people that are available to play football, you know, and that's how that sort of system works - next man up, as they say. If the NBA loses, like, five players, the NBA starts to suck, you know?
YATES: And there's nothing wrong with that. So the owners in the NBA have a different calculus towards failure, I think...
YATES: ...Than a lot of the other owners do simply because they're more visible and because they're more global. But let's not forget this, either, Sam - we're not back at home markets yet. When these guys get back to where they live, with their families, back in their so-called routines - even though nothing will ever be the same, obviously, after 2020 - I think we're looking at a totally different landscape as far as how owners and how people who are power-players in this have to respond.
YATES: When they're all in the bubble and they're all in the playoffs...
SANDERS: It's different.
YATES: ...And they're all focused, OK, we can kind of deal with this there. But once summer camp gets out...
YATES: ...You know what I'm saying? And the school year's back, you better figure out what you're doing when you're teaching them when they're in class because what happens when they take that out into the world is going to be...
YATES: ...Completely different. And I'm talking about the fans as much as I'm talking about the players here.
YATES: So the owners have a lot to figure out, is my opinion.
SANDERS: Yeah. So we're taping this Friday morning, and there are still major questions about what happens next. What do we know at this point about what happens next? I mean, at a certain point this week, I was hearing rumors that LeBron was saying they might sit out the rest of the season. Where are we at right now?
YATES: We're at a point where the players are most likely going to come back to the playoffs because they understand that it is, in fact, in their greatest good to do so. The break was necessary. The point was made. But here's what the data point is that was unbelievable, Sam - Michael Jeffrey Jordan stepped into the proceedings.
SANDERS: Let me tell you. OK, as someone who just watched "The Last Dance," I feel like I'm a Jordan expert now.
YATES: (Laughter) Yes.
SANDERS: And I was like, that's not Jordan's style. He doesn't do that. What was that about?
YATES: I mean, I think it was about the fact that Jordan suddenly becomes a guy in a position that is wonderfully linking between the players and the owners. Let's not forget - Michael Jordan is ostensibly the owner of an NBA basketball team, which is amazing when you think about...
YATES: ...How that finally came to be worth something.
SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
YATES: So he comes into the fray and says, guys, if you play the basketball, the likelihood that people pay attention to your platform is higher. OK. And that's a reasonable stance, even if I don't necessarily specifically agree with it. However, when it comes from the god, MJ...
SANDERS: You got to respect it.
YATES: ...It's hard not to listen to, man.
YATES: Hard not to listen to because he stayed around the game. And as much as people think he might be a jerk or whatever, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's wrong. And so I will commend Jordan in this case for at least saying something. And it wasn't some whole public thing; he just talked to the guys, you know? And that to me was rather impressive.
YATES: So I think that we're still in a stage of healing and building, and I'm not going to put too much pressure on them to answer a bunch of questions about what's next, you know? Heal yourselves, and when you're ready to play, I'll be watching 'cause that's the kind of person I am, and I say that as a journalist as much as I say that as a fan.
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SANDERS: Thanks again to Clinton Yates. He is a columnist at The Undefeated.
Since we taped that interview Friday morning, the NBA released a statement - just a few hours later, actually. They announced that they'll resume games this weekend and that basketball arenas across the country, in conjunction with local officials, those arenas will turn into voting locations for the upcoming general election. And the NBA also says it's going to establish what it's calling a social justice coalition.
All right, listeners, stay with us. Coming up, we're going to go back 50 years to another protest movement and its legacy for Chicanos. You are listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. We'll be right back.
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SANDERS: We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. Protests are in the news right now. But when you think about it, some of them never really stop. This week, we saw protests against police brutality and systemic racism after Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis. And there were protests this May after George Floyd's death and in 2014 after Eric Garner and Michael Brown were killed by police and on and on.
If you look back 50 years ago, there were other protests when Mexican Americans in Los Angeles marched to protest the Vietnam War. Sheriffs deputies and police officers broke up the rally, and by day's end, about 200 people were arrested, and three were dead. This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of those protests, the Chicano Moratorium, which influenced an entire generation of Chicano activists - some who overcame the trauma of that day and some who never did.
I'm going to pass the mic now to one of my producers, Andrea Gutierrez. She and her sister have a personal story to share about how the Chicano Moratorium affected their family.
MONICA: Dad was a storyteller. I think that's the best way to put it. Dad was a storyteller.
ANDREA GUTIERREZ, BYLINE: That's my sister Monica (ph). And she's right - my dad was a storyteller, usually stories from his life. He had a whole repertoire, and we kids asked for his greatest hits a lot. Dad, tell us the one about Grandpa and the Reo truck. Dad, what about the time Father Guisel (ph) told you to get a haircut? But there was one thing he never really talked about much - his involvement in the Chicano Moratorium. Monica and I met up recently to go over these memories of Dad and to get to the bottom of them all.
But before we get to that, I wanted to know - can you tell me what you know about it and how you know about it?
MONICA: I know it's part of the Chicano movement, '60s, '70s. But it was a protest against the high number, the disproportionate number, of Chicano youth being sent to Vietnam and dying.
GUTIERREZ: Lots of people were protesting the Vietnam War.
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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Stop the war now. Stop the war now.
GUTIERREZ: But like my sister said, Mexican Americans were dying in large numbers - about twice their proportion of the population. That's why the movement was called a moratorium. Protesters and organizers wanted to end this loss of life.
LORENA OROPEZA: So this was the Chicano movement's main argument that, as the slogan said at the time - (speaking Spanish) - our struggle is here, our war is here, and we should be addressing inequities on the homefront, not dying in Vietnam.
GUTIERREZ: That's Lorena Oropeza. She's a professor of history at the University of California, Davis. And as my sister and I started to piece together the events of August 29, 1970, I called up Lorena to learn more. Lorena says Chicanos weren't just protesting the war; they were marching for other issues affecting their community.
OROPEZA: Broader to the Chicano movement and looking at Los Angeles, there were the high school blowouts from 1968, where you're looking at a long tradition of educational inequity in terms of funding, in terms of school resources. They also tapped in to the reality of poverty. This is a long-time struggle for Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants - is, like, even today, they're the essential workers, but those aren't necessarily the best-paying jobs. So the way the Chicano Moratorium tied with long-standing issues of injustice in its struggle for equality among Mexican Americans was really part of their brilliance.
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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Chicanos are marching to protest the high casualty rate of our people in Vietnam.
GUTIERREZ: Lorena says at least 20,000 marched that day on Whittier Boulevard, the main thoroughfare through East LA. People ended up at Laguna Park filled with hope.
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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Unintelligible).
OROPEZA: There's so much joy. Like, there's music playing.
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OROPEZA: And there's just chanting, and Chicanos are meeting people from all over. And then you have all these white liberals throughout LA and elsewhere coming in and Native Americans joining. And it's just such a sense of accomplishment and joy. And, like, what happens when you bring all these people? Like, what comes next?
GUTIERREZ: But then things take a turn.
OROPEZA: There's a disturbance in a liquor store at the corner of the park.
GUTIERREZ: People wanted to get sodas because it was a hot day.
OROPEZA: But the owner of the store said, oh, my goodness. I'm being robbed. And he, like, pressed the alarm. And you have sheriff's deputies come in.
GUTIERREZ: They drove protesters into the park, pushing against the crowd.
OROPEZA: You have young people deciding they're going to push back, so they form a counter-line. And so when the sheriff's deputies throw a tear gas canister, like, one young lady picked it up and threw it back at the sheriff's deputies.
GUTIERREZ: In the chaos, buildings burned. About 200 people were arrested, many were injured and three people were killed, including journalist Ruben Salazar. He was the news director of Spanish-language TV station KMEX and a columnist for The LA Times. And he was dedicated to covering the Chicano community.
OROPEZA: It was an absolute hammer blow to the Chicano movement.
GUTIERREZ: And not just a blow to the movement but, as I later learned, to my own father. My dad was there that day, and he almost never talked about it. This is how my sister found out.
MONICA: I think I was in my early 20s when I learned about it, and it was during the May Day protests, which had to do with immigration rights, in 2006. And I was going to Santa Ana College, and a large portion of students are brown. And I chose not to go to school on that day. And so Dad knew my schedule, and he asked me why I didn't go to school, and I told him why. And we were, like, watching stuff on TV. And just out of the blue, he said, you know, I was there when Ruben Salazar was murdered. And I was, like, what?
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MONICA: He didn't give a whole lot of detail, but he said he was there. And that was the first time that Dad had ever mentioned anything, like, of an identity of Chicano. Like, we - up to that point, I had only ever heard Dad, like, say, you know, we're American, and that answers all questions.
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SANDERS: All right. Time for a break. When we come back, Andrea digs into some family history and its impact on her father.
GUTIERREZ: I could never understand why my dad didn't want to talk about his heritage, let alone his involvement in the Chicano movement. But historian Lorena Oropeza helped walk me through it. And it's stuff that I and I'm sure many of you didn't learn in school.
OROPEZA: So the Chicano Moratorium was asking, like, why do we have to die to get equality? Why are the stakes so high? And then behind that question is, why are we still considered foreigners after being in this country in some cases before there was a country, right? So there was really a critical edge to the Chicano movement that asked, why is the price so high for equality?
GUTIERREZ: I'm interested in going back to 1848 and assimilation and kind of this being, like, a longer project. Tell me a little bit about that. Walk me through that bit of history.
OROPEZA: OK. So what happens in 1848, when the U.S. acquires through war, through aggressive warfare, a third of Mexico, is there's a treaty that ends this war. It's called the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. And one of the things the treaty promises is that the people in the conquered territories - so these people who were Mexican citizens - that they will be able to become American citizens at some point when Congress deems it's the right appropriate time. Think about it. In 1848, these former Mexican citizens are promised U.S. citizenship. Of course, it's only men, but in 1848, there are no Black people who have U.S. citizenship - right? - because most are enslaved. Native Americans do not have U.S. citizenship. So what is happening through the promise of eventual American citizenship is that there's a recognition of whiteness.
GUTIERREZ: Recognition by whom, though?
OROPEZA: Of the U.S. government. Like, hi, you get to vote. Hi. You're - so you are legally white. And whiteness in U.S. history is a powerful legal category. From the time they're Mexican Americans starting 1848, they have access legally to this privileged category - socially, economically. It's a completely different story.
GUTIERREZ: So I didn't learn about the Chicano Moratorium until college in a Chicano Studies class. I think that's a very common experience...
GUTIERREZ: ...For young people.
MONICA: I didn't either. I didn't either.
GUTIERREZ: Right. I grew up - and I grew up in Orange County, so it's, like, right there in LA near home. Why isn't the moratorium taught in K-12? Why are we - it seems to me that if you don't know something happened, you don't know what was once possible.
OROPEZA: Well, there is an effort to build ethnic studies into the K-12 curriculum, but I think some people see it as a threat. If you're going to include more about the Chicano movement, what do you exclude? And so some people are really vested in a narrative. And also the conservative argument for the past 30 years is that you need to have a singular, positive, uplifting, historical narrative that unites people, right? And if you fiddle with that, what holds United States together given all of our diversity? History becomes like a glue.
GUTIERREZ: Well, and that's also assuming that all the rest of history that we get in school, especially as kids, is uniting, that that's something that everyone agrees to and that it's just, like, we have a common ground about that.
OROPEZA: Right. Right. So this was a very long time ago. But, you know, there was, like, maybe a line about the missions. I mean, this was when I was in fourth grade, right? And it was like, I knew there was more there, but we didn't get more. American history starts on the East Coast and then just kind of moves westward. So if you're of a people who are already here and you're encountering as it comes across, it's just a different perspective that often isn't included. So yes, there's a - I'm going to quote a New Mexican politician here because, like, in New Mexico, for example, there's still people too trying to get their land that their ancestors lost after 1848.
OROPEZA: And the solution from New Mexican politicians when this - during the Chicano Movement was, we just have to help them forget.
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GUTIERREZ: Speaking of New Mexico, that got me and my sister Monica talking.
MONICA: Well, our grandparents on dad's side, they're from New Mexico - well, what is now New Mexico. So I had conversations with Grandma about that. And Grandma talked about how they only spoke Spanish in the family until she went to kindergarten. And then after that, her parents were very adamant she speak English - no more Spanish for her - and that she had to assimilate and try to be as white as possible. But no matter what Grandma did, time and time and time again, Grandma was discriminated against. Like, she participated in a contest - I think it was for shorthand. It was, like, shorthand and typing or something in high school. And it was like...
GUTIERREZ: Penmanship, something like that - yeah.
MONICA: ...Statewide or something like that. And Grandma won first place, and they didn't even recognize her in public. And so that stuck with Grandma her whole life where she stopped going by her birth name which is Mariana (ph) and went by Marianne (ph). And then she only spoke English, did not speak Spanish. There were, like, two stories that we were being told about our family or our identity, and I think Dad struggled with that a lot. Like, he went through that kind of identity crisis trying to figure out what the pieces that we had lost, the pieces that nobody talked about. But, like, I think he was kind of maybe alone in that. And so he kind of did the same thing with us, didn't really talk about that part.
GUTIERREZ: I - another thing - I don't know if I've told you about this. But when mom sold the house, you know, we were going through and getting stuff out, especially Dad's things, and there was, like, one place I'd never actually looked in before in my entire life, which was down below on his nightstand.
MONICA: Oh, yeah. That was, like, a no-no spot.
GUTIERREZ: Because there was always stuff in front of it. Yeah. There was stuff in front of it. I was like, am I going to find magazines? Like, what am I going to find here? No it was - and it felt, like, so poetic - was like - it was like his secret stash of Chicano books.
MONICA: Yeah. I have them - I have them on my shelf. You're looking at me with your, like - your jaw dropped right now (laughter). So...
GUTIERREZ: That was always one place dad was very adamant we can never look in there. Even if there was nothing in front of it, we cannot look in there.
MONICA: And it felt so perfect that that's what I found in there.
MONICA: So it was, like, Bless Me, Ultima by, like, Rudolfo Anaya. I kind of feel like Dad maybe had the same attitude that Grandma had in that right before Grandma passed away, I asked her if she ever imagined that people would want to learn Spanish, that it would be so common and so accepted. And she said, I had no idea. If I had known, I would have taught Spanish to my kids a long time ago. I would have made sure that everybody knew Spanish. And she said I was just trying to save my kids. And so I feel like Dad maybe had that same attitude of, like, you know, this was so traumatizing. This was so, like, heartbreaking. And so it's like maybe if I don't involve my kids in that, they'll be saved.
GUTIERREZ: I think we saw that, like, wait, you didn't save us from anything. It still happened, right?
GUTIERREZ: Like, it still - we've still dealt with discrimination and racism. We still dealt with people doubting us. We've still dealt with all those things.
MONICA: I mean, how many times in our lives have we been asked, like, what are you? And then we give an answer - no, but, like, really, what are you, you know? Or, like, you know, questioning do you speak Spanish? OK. Why don't you speak Spanish? Oh, shame on you. You don't speak Spanish and stuff like that. Like, that, you know, is not a shameful thing. And I feel like it was kind of that way for Dad and then for the generation before.
GUTIERREZ: How much have you thought about that, especially now that you're a parent? How much does that - how have you brought that to the future?
MONICA: (Laughter) You're going to make me cry (laughter). It is a huge piece of my parenting. And with my daughter - can I say her name?
GUTIERREZ: If you want to.
MONICA: OK (laughter). So Olivia (ph) is my daughter, and she is 9. And before she was even born, I knew without a doubt I wanted her to learn Spanish from a young age. I'm going to find a way. And from there, like, I wanted to raise her to know where she's from and to keep fighting the good fight.
GUTIERREZ: I think about one of my professors in grad school who was there. Like, Dad died while I was in grad school, and I was, like, trying to finish my thesis. And he's like - he was, like, super empathetic. He's like, I don't know how you're going through what you're going through. But, you know, like, we keep them alive by keeping them in our memory, like, sharing their memories. And, like, it's always really good to talk about that (crying). This is where I cry (laughter).
MONICA: Yeah. I mean, Olivia was born three months before Dad died, and so it's really nice to share those stories with the grandbabies, you know, and let them know who was Grandpa-Dad from each of our perspectives and stories. And then to hear them repeat stories about Dad I think is, like, the most heartwarming thing you could hear.
GUTIERREZ: I love it. I love you.
MONICA: I love you.
SANDERS: Thanks again to producer Andrea Gutierrez, her sister Monica (ph) and Lorena Oropeza, history professor at the University of California, Davis.
AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.
LAURA: Hi, Sam. This is Laura (ph) from Geelong, Australia. And the best part of my week was listening to my 16-week-old little girl belly laugh for the first time because of something I did. It was the best sound in the whole world.
RAY LOVE JR: This is Ray Love Jr. (ph) in Atlanta, Ga. The best thing that happened to me this week was receiving and accepting a job offer for a company that I've wanted to work with since first moving to Atlanta back in 2013.
SUSAN: Hi, Sam. This is Susan (ph). The best part of my week was that I officially adopted the two kittens I had been fostering.
ARIANNA: Hey, Sam. This is Arianna (ph) coming to you from Busan, South Korea. The best part of my week happened as I survived a 14-day government-mandated quarantine. I'm so thankful to live in a country where the government is organized, proactive and really trying to squash COVID-19.
REBECCA: Hi, Sam. It's Rebecca (ph) and 10 month old Lyla (ph) from Rockville, Md. The best thing that happened to us this week was that Lyla learned how to clap.
NATALIE: Hey, Sam. This is Natalie from Frederick, Md. And the best part of my week was that I started college. It was virtual college that I attended from my bedroom at home, but it was still college, and it was still pretty cool.
CAROLINE: Hi, Sam. This is Caroline (ph).
JAKE: And Jake (ph).
CAROLINE: And the best thing that's happening this week is it's Jake's - what is it?
JAKE: Gotcha Day.
CAROLINE: Yes. And that's the day that we celebrate your adoption.
CAROLINE: Yes. So thanks, Sam. Have a good week.
JAKE: Bye-bye. I spitted.
LAURA: Have a great week.
ARIANNA: Thanks for your show. I really love it, and it kept me great company.
NATALIE: Love the show. Keep doing what you're doing. It's wonderful. And it always brightens my day. Thanks.
SANDERS: A lot of small humans this week. I love all of it. Thanks to those listeners and those children of listeners you heard there and those two kitty cats - Caroline and Jake, Natalie, Rebecca and Lyla, Arianna, Susan, Ray and Laura. Listeners, you can be a part of this segment. Just send your best thing to us at any time throughout any week. Record yourself and send the voice memo to me at email@example.com - firstname.lastname@example.org.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SANDERS: This week the show is produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry and Andrea Gutierrez. Also thanks to Katie Daugert for her research and fact-checking in this week's episode. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson, who I hope is not hearing this because he's still on vacation. Our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann. All right. Listeners, till next time, keep calm, carry on, stay safe, all that good stuff. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.
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