Beginning later this week, WFPL will air the first story in a new series: “Tough and Universal: Stories of Grit.”
These stories — produced in partnership with IDEAS xLab — are first-person accounts from people in your community who’ve overcome some significant challenge and thrived despite the odds. They’re hopeful stories, in a world that’s often full of the opposite.
The series name is inspired by a James Baldwin quote from his book “The Fire Next Time.”
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within,” Baldwin wrote. “I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace — not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
The experiences our subjects talk about are tough — and like the love Baldwin describes, many are also universal. You’ll hear stories about growing up with parents challenged by addiction and incarceration, difficulties conceiving a child, failure, racism, gun violence and poverty. But you’ll also hear about love, triumph, success and hope.