The Systems That Built Us

In 1993, Sandi Lynn travels back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma carrying a VHS tape that documents the city’s neglected history. That same year, Pete Wood makes his own pilgrimage to Gettysburg, where he confronts his great-grandfather’s service in the Confederate Army. And, in 2020, alone in her apartment, Joni Dobson reflects on her 1960s activism as protesters return to the streets.

This summer, in midst of the historic uprisings for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd, participants in GeNarrations—our year-round storytelling performance workshop for adults 55 and older—explored the theme “Stories of the Systems that Built Us.”

We are honored to share three of these stories with you today.

Life Can Hurt by Sandi Lynn

Sandi Lynn is a storyteller, award-winning entrepreneur and Amazon International bestselling author featured in Extraordinary Lives: Stories of Triumph and Inspiration. She has been a member of the GeNarrations group at the DuSable Museum of African American History for four years and performed at the Fillet of Solo Festival at Lifeline Theater in 2018. Outside of GeNarrations, Sandi enjoys golfing and mentoring young women. She is currently working on a second book.

Awareness is the First Step by Joni Dobson

Joni Dobson is an Evanston resident who has participated in the GeNarrations group at Willye B. White park since September 2018. After years of writing in bullet points for IBM, she joined the program to learn more about creative writing and storytelling. Before the pandemic, Joni spent her free time participating in aerobic dancing and Tai Chi at the Botanical Gardens; these days, she logs into her exercise classes via zoom and walks 6-10 miles each day.

Southern Cross by Pete Wood

Pete Wood has been in GeNarrations for two years. He was chosen to represent the Willye White group, Rogers Park in the Citywide show Stories of Extravagance and performed on stage as part of the Summer 2019 InterGens Program at the Goodman. Pete played Nunzio, Sal and Vinnie Black in Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding at Pipers Alley Chicago. He has been a 1920’s Gangster Tour guide for Untouchable Tours since 2009 and also performs stand-up comedy.

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