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A Six-Year-Old Encounters Greatness

Jun 13, 2017
Robert Floyd, holding the ball signed by Jimmy Piersall.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Legendary Red Sox center fielder Jim Piersall died earlier this month at the age of 87. Commentator Robert Floyd had an encounter with the heralded player he'll never forget. 

Booth and Dimock Memorial Library, in Coventry, Conn.
Courtesy / Neal Hughlett

In President Donald Trump's proposed budget, he eliminates federal support for public libraries throughout the country. The White House has said these cuts -- and others -- are about fiscal responsibility, and an effort to "redefine the proper role of the federal government." But the move has commentator Erin Valentino thinking about what she sees as the crucially important places that libraries take us.

Hannah Tran-Trinh is a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Commentator Hannah Tran-Trinh graduated last week from UMass Amherst. She says she learned a lot there, but the best lessons were hard-won.

I grew up in Boston. My friends were quite the colorful bunch, but I never thought twice about the fact that we were a diverse group of kids. I just loved feeling comfortable. Being a part of something I felt I belonged to.

But then I showed up in western Mass. and it was the whitest place I'd ever seen.

A Sunoco road map of Boston, Mass.
photolibrarian / Creative Commons

For many drivers, GPS is the greatest thing since unleaded gas, anti-lock brakes and cup holders. But for commentator Martha Ackmann, not so much.

Finding Community, One Radio Variety Show At a Time

May 11, 2017
The last rehearsal before the first "Shad Ladder Radio Hour."  From left to right: Rae Ann Jenks, Holly Osborne, Gershon Eigner, Janet McKenna-Lowry, Carmela Lanza-Weil, Stephen Fruchtman, Christine Mirabal.
Submitted Photo / Sarah Kanabay

Finding cures for the blues can sometimes take some ingenuity. Commentator Sarah Kanabay wondered whether relief might come from putting together a radio variety show, a kooky Yankee cousin to "A Prairie Home Companion." She says it's worked wonders.

A Journalist's Challenge To Her Colleagues

May 10, 2017
Shaheen Pasha teaches international journalism at UMass Amherst.
UMass

Commentator and journalist Shaheen Pasha was a 19-year-old newsroom intern when a male colleague behaved in ways she felt crossed a line. As stories of sexual harassment in the media are surfacing more often these days, she's got some requests of her colleagues.

TV character Circus Boy as played by Micky Dolenz.
NBC / Creative Commons

Ringling Brothers' Greatest Show on Earth is slated to go dark at the end of May. Commentator Robert Chipkin says that in his childhood full of highways, malls and subdivisions, the annual appearance of elephants parading down Main Street, clowns piled into Volkswagens, acrobats and sword swallowers should have stirred his suburban heart, but there was serious competition. 

Toni Stone meeting her idol, boxer Joe Louis, c.1949.
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY  / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Red Sox open the season Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fans will head to Fenway for the 2:05 p.m. first pitch. Commentator Martha Ackmann says one of baseball's greatest fans was a player you've probably never heard of. 

Anjelica Jarrett is a senior at Mount Holyoke College.
Kristin Balboni / Mount Holyoke College

Commentator and college senior Anjelica Jarrett says her fellow students are jumping at ways to resist President Trump's policies related to science, health care and immigration. Jarrett says she's also passionate about these issues. But don't expect to see her at any protests.

The day after President Trump was elected, my friends and I gathered outside Mount Holyoke's majestic library. We were joined by students from all over the campus. A lot of people's eyes were puffy from crying. Many of us had been up most of the night.

‘Taking The Risk To Be Myself’

Mar 15, 2017
A debate on a transgender public accommodation bill drew crowds to the Massachusetts Statehouse on June 1, 2016.
Shira Schoenberg / The Republican

The Trump administration recently announced it was withdrawing the protections for transgender students established by President Obama. The decision comes at a tough time for commentator and high school student Jay, who’s known since childhood that he was a boy. The hard part has been trying to convince others that’s who he is.

It’s been obvious since the first day of kindergarten, when my mom dressed me in all pink and I hated it so much. As I saw it, I was the only boy dressed that way. 

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