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Sunday, May 8 at 10 p.m. – State of the Re:Union

(Rochester, NY)AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2 presents State of the Re:Union (SOTRU), a series with Public Radio Talent Quest winner Al Letson who travels the country in search of real stories of the people working to make homes, lives, and neighborhoods across the country. SOTRU, airing Sundays at 10 p.m., beginning May 8, explores the resonating themes, stories, challenges and cultural components that create communities across the country and celebrate the commonality that links us as a people. Letson brings his formidable stage and poetry slam skills to the mic in each episode.

Episodes and air dates are as follows:

Las Vegas, NV – Sunday, May 8 at 10 p.m. These days, competing versions of Las Vegas occupy the public imagination. One is of Sin City, the City of Lights, home to The Strip, to glitter and entertainment. The other is as a dramatic victim of the recent economic recession, a city where whole neighborhoods have been foreclosed upon, where the jobless rate shot up to double digits, where massive casino and hotel construction was suspended, leaving hulking ghosts to remind residents of the boom times. SOTRU explores stories of people making Las Vegas home between these two sides of the city, those working to cultivate community in a place that has a reputation for being impersonal.

Birmingham, AL – Sunday, May  15 at 10 p.m. Birmingham, Alabama -- The words tend to make you think about freedom riders, church bombings, civil rights marches, and police dogs. Almost 50 years later, people in Birmingham still can't escape their history, especially the painful parts. Some have started trying to unearth the city's past and face it. In this hour, SOTRU brings listeners into the courtrooms, churches and backyards of Birmingham to answer the question borne out by the lives of people here: is Birmingham a monument to brutal segregation, or one of the few American cities willing to take a hard look at race?

Utica, NY – Sunday, May  22 at 10 p.m. A couple of decades ago, Utica, New York was dying; a popular bumper sticker in the '90s read "Last One Out of Utica, Please Turn Out the Lights." Once a bustling textile city perched on the edge of the Erie Canal, Utica lost its mills in the mid-20th century, and has lost population ever since. But something has changed in recent years, with a surprising influx of refugees to this part of snowy, upstate New York -- the newcomers have given Utica hope for second chance. SOTRU looks at how Utica has opened its doors to the world's needy, and how that's bringing fresh energy to a city in dire need of it.

Miami, FL –   Sunday, May  29 at 10 p.m. Dubbed the "Magic City" for its stunning growth rate and rapid proliferation of high-rise skyscrapers, Miami is also the third poorest city in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 numbers. If you own a store in South Beach, your customers are equally likely to be billionaires as they are homeless people. And on top of that, they're very likely to have started life somewhere else. Miami is an incredibly international city -- and so is impacted more than most cities by world events such as the Haitian earthquake or the political situation in Cuba. In this place of class, racial and cultural juxtapositions, SOTRU has an hour of stories of Miamians reaching out from their enclaves to create community across those lines.


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.