Plug: This American Life’s Harper High School series

I’ve rekindled my love for the great storytelling that takes place on This American Life, and recently listened to parts one and two of the episodes about Harper High School. TAL spent five months at this Chicago school, where last year, 29 current and recent students were shot. As TAL explains, “We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances” (thisamericanlife.org).

The episodes are not easy to listen to, but I suggest you do. They’re timely, for one thing, and for me they really helped explain how difficult it is for kids living in poverty to make any other choice than to be in a gang and get involved in gang life. In fact, you’ll learn in the first episode that kids don’t choose to be in gangs: the choice is made for them.

Give it a listen.

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5 Comments

  1. James F Sidel

    Thanks Susie for directing our attention to this episode.

    Reply
    • Susie Meserve

      Tell me what you think when you listen… xo

      Reply
  2. Susan Szafir

    Pre-plug I’d heard Part I. This is a nice reminder to go back and listen to Part II. Good plug.

    Reply
  3. Susan Szafir

    Oh and I meant to add that one of the parts I found most eye-opening was how the only way to stay out of a gang is essentially to hole up in your house for the duration of highschool, which one student admitted was incredibly isolating and lonely, and the antithesis of what should be a very social time of life.

    Reply
    • Susie Meserve

      Yes. That and the fact that living in certain neighborhoods meant you were automatically in certain gangs. It was really eye-opening…and depressing.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

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