NPR's State of the Re:Union Kicks Off Fall Season

Fall comes a few weeks early with the second season of NPR’s Jacksonville-based, nationally syndicated State of the Re:Union with Al Letson, kicking off Wednesday, September 15, 2010. With 6 new shows depicting Letson’s travels to various communities, State of the Re:Union provides narrative of an America that is not always highlighted in the media, the individuals who work diligently to rebuild their cities, and the history that frames them all.
Where much of today’s news and media outlets highlight the divisions and conflicts that separate us, State of the Re:Union explores the resonating themes, stories, challenges and cultural components that create communities across the country, and celebrates the commonality that links us as a people. With a dose of spoken word, and a backdrop consisting of the music, sounds and styles born of the area in focus, noted slam poet Al Letson speaks with the artists, activists, politicians, teachers, preachers and every day people who are making a difference.
State of the Re:Union is heard on over 170 stations across the United States. This Fall, the show uncovers the following stories:
Twin Cities, Minnesota
It isn’t exactly Lake Wobegon anymore… Once known as the home of Midwestern Lutherans and Scandanavian farmers, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are now wildly diverse. With 14% of the population now foreign-born the look and culture of Minneapolis and St. Paul is beginning to change. State of the Re:Union explores the rich range of cultures and communities coming together in the country’s middle.
Española, New Mexico
Española, New Mexico is known as the first Capitol City in America. Settled by Spanish conquistadors in 1598, the area’s rich cultural past is still evident today in its music, art, and way of life. But changing demographics, along with a shift in the local economy has left many residents without land, water, and a sense of identity. State of the Re:Union travels to the Española Valley of Northern New Mexico to explore the area’s history of dispossession, and to discover what the rest of the country can learn from this still vital region of the American Southwest.
Austin, Texas
Austin is a town wrestling with its identity; not as a result of a natural disaster or economic meltdown, but rather its success. The population has spiked and so have its economic advantages. Many residents worry, however, that the development and growth might jeopardize the city’s unique, countercultural feel. State of the Re:Union explores the balance of culture and success in the Texas capital.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a sprawling city known to many outsiders as a dizzying, superficial and fragmented wasteland. But when looked at beneath the surface, LA reveals itself as a place of purpose, humanity and dignity. State of the Re:Union travels to the City of Angels to tell a series of stories detailing what home really means, and the way it connects people and community.
Central Appalachia
State of the Re:Union explores the misguided portrayal of the rural Appalachian region as a place of victims; a people at the mercy of the region’s poverty or bigotry. We travel to southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky to examine how residents are balancing deep ties to their history while facing the future in a new way.
Veterans’ Day Special
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sending our veterans home with wounds and obstacles not always clearly visible to the rest of the country. These two current wars also illuminate how veterans of previous eras are still trying to come home years after returning from war. In this episode, State of the Re:Union explores how veterans are serving each other after they come back home from serving the country.
This Fall, State of the Re:Union continues to go beyond the airways to offer listeners the opportunity to connect further with each community visited, each person in-focus, and each topic discussed. At, listeners can watch a lineup of documentary shorts that compliment each show, and delve further into specific aspects of each community. What’s more, with the music-focused podcast ‘Sounds of the Re:Union’(…) – which explores the creation and dynamics of music as a culture – listeners hear from the individuals who have made a visible imprint in their respective genre, and the establishments that have helped create and nurture underground, non-commercial sounds.