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Is Change In America Possible? A 12,000 Mile Journey To Find Out

Sarah van Gelder developed a sharp sense for injustice as a little girl when she moved to India with her family for a year and witnessed the poverty all around her. She decided that the only way she could make sense of her unearned privilege was to commit her life to making the world a more just place. 

After stints working at the community level on issues like food and environmental justice, van Gelder founded YES! Magazine to highlight not just the complex issues facing people, but also the solutions they were putting in place to address them.
The magazine focused on topics such as racial, economic and social inequality and showed what people were doing about them. But after nearly 20 years of this coverage, van Gelder found that in many cases, change was not occurring. So, she embarked on a 12,000 mile road trip through parts of America she was less familiar with to speak with those she feared she had not been listening to before. In her travels she spoke with ranchers in Montana and native peoples in North Dakota as well as sit-in veterans in Greensboro.

She tells their stories in a new book “The Revolution Where You Live: Stories From A 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers/2017). On her journey she observed that people’s enthusiasm to make change in their communities outstripped their skills to do so, which led her to found PeoplesHub, a training platform to empower and equip people to tackle issues that matter to them. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sarah van Gelder about her journey.

Van Gelder will speak at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 7 p.m. on Monday Oct. 9

Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.