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These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves

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#WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism.

These videos will automatically play in order, but you can also skip to a specific episode by clicking on the link to the part you want to watch.

Part 1 - This teacher remembers her Muslim students who were murdered in a shooting.

Nine months before her murder, a young Muslim woman talked with her former teacher and friend about growing up, life lessons, and the power of perspective. On Feb. 10, 2015, three Muslim students were shot and killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. One of the victims was Yusor Abu-Salha. Nine months before she was murdered, Yusor recorded an interview at Storycorps with her former teacher and principal Mussarut Jabeen. This is their story.

Part 2 - He was robbed at knifepoint and handled it in a most unusual way.

On his way home from work, Julio was robbed at knifepoint and ended up handling it in a most unusual way.

A social worker in the Bronx, Julio Diaz was coming home from a long day’s work when he had an encounter with a teenager who held him up at knifepoint. This is the story of the unusual way Julio reacted. 

Part 3 - A young kid and his dad talk about growing up black in the South.

A lovely conversation between fourth-grader Aid an Sykes and his father, Albert. 

9-year-old Aid an had some questions for his father , who reflects on Aidan's birth, the importance of standing up for civil rights, and the special challenges of raising black boys in America.

Part 4 - A transgender grandmother talks to her daughter about her struggle.

"Now I walk in love": Alexis, a transgender grandmother, speaks with her daughter about her life struggles and fears.

In the 1960s, while growing up in a housing project on Chicago's South Side, Alexis Martinez had to hide who she was. 40 years later, she spoke with her daughter, Lesley, about her life as a transgender woman. 

Part 5 - Meeting with her son's killer led to something more than forgiveness.

She lost her only son to gun violence, but she found a way to forgive and formed a friendship to last a lifetime.

One night, 16-year-old Oshea Israel got into a fight at a party. It ended when he shot and killed Laramiun Byrd, the only child of Mary Johnson. 11 years after the trial, Mary spoke to Oshea face to face.

Part 6 - A mother and her transgender son talk about his journey of growing up.

8-year-old Gabe talks to his mother about how hard it was to tell her that he was a boy and the fears he has in the future.

Gabe Lopez was assigned female at birth, but he always felt like a boy. When he was 8, he sat down to talk to his mom, Chris, in Tucson, Arizona. In this episode of #WhoWeAre, Gabe talks about being trans and how it was hard to tell his mom.

Part 7 - They stepped in to care for elderly residents when they were left abandoned.

As the cook and janitor at an assisted living facility that abruptly closed, they wouldn't abandon those left behind.

Rowland was working as a cook and Alvarez as a janitor at an assisted living facility when suddenly they found out that the facility was going to close. There were about 16 residents left at the home with nowhere to go and nobody to take care of them. Some of them had dementia. The two men, who have been friends since middle school, decided they couldn't abandon the residents who were left behind. So they stepped up and started to care for the people. 

Part 8 - The family they have is not defined by her mom’s disability.

Bonnie is a disabled single mother who has overcome hurtful judgment from strangers over the years, but one person she never had to impress was her daughter.

When Myra was 15, she interviewed her mom, Bonnie. Bonnie works at Wendy's to support her daughter and is intellectually disabled. In this episode of #WhoWeAre, Myra and her mother share how they are a unique loving family.

Part 9 - This bus driver’s simple act of kindness made a woman's day.

It's the little things in life that matter: This bus driver reminds us that even a small act of compassion can make a world of difference in another person's life.

Ron Ruiz was a New York City bus driver. He met countless passengers on the job, but there is one he still thinks about today. In this episode of #WhoWeAre, Ron recounts a specific passenger he showed kindness to that he will never forget.

Part 10 - A widow recalls her husband's call from the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Beverly Eckert remembers the last conversation she had her with her husband, Sean, who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Sean Rooney worked in the south tower of the World Trade Center. He was killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. After the planes hit, Sean called his wife, Beverly Eckert. 

Part 11 - They crossed the border to the U.S. so they could have a better life.

Work hard and dream big. A mother and daughter share laughter and tears, as they look back on being an immigrant family in the 1970s.

Blanca Alvarez came to the United States from Mexico in 1972. She crossed the border with her husband and son, while pregnant with their daughter Connie. In this episode of #WhoWeAre, Blanca and Connie talk about the sacrifices their family had to make to reach their American dream. 

Part 12 - Her great-grandmother was assaulted for being black and wearing nail polish.

The story of a woman's great-grandmother about an America we should never forget.

Just 100 years ago, Mary Ellen Noone's great-grandmother Pinky Powell was assaulted for wearing nail polish in public. In a time when the #BlackLivesMatter movement has risen out of the killing of unarmed black men and there is public outcry about Colin Kaepernick protesting our national anthem, we should remember the history of our country and stories like Pinky Powell's.
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