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A national oral history project is trying to start a new tradition for Black Friday. Instead of hunting for bargains, StoryCorps suggests families sit down together and talk about their lives on a National Day of Listening.
Amanda Rigell, a 30-year-old middle school teacher from Johnson City, interviewed her grandmother, who was 89 at the time, for the first National Day of Listening last year.
"She was reluctant at first," Rigell said. "She doesn't really talk about herself." But then she talked for more than two and a half hours.
"She talked about her early education. She went to a tiny little school, I think there was only one other person there for a while. And she talked about drinking fresh milk from a cow. I guess that shouldn't have surprised me, but it did," Rigell said.
StoryCorps is a nonprofit project that seeks to preserve the stories of ordinary people. Rigell first learned about it when she heard some of those stories broadcast on public radio during her morning commute. She had already interviewed two people at StoryCorps recording booths when she and her father decided to interview her grandmother at home.
"I'm really glad we did it last year because her health has been declining," she said. "There was a while last month when she couldn't speak."
Buy Nothing Day, sponsored by Adbusters
So this November 27 (November 28 in Europe and overseas), we’re calling for a Wildcat General Strike. We’re asking tens of millions of people around the world to bring the capitalist consumption machine to a grinding – if only momentary – halt.
We want you to not only stop buying for 24 hours, but to shut off your lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off of your computer for the day.
We’re calling for a Ramadan-like fast. From sunrise to sunset we’ll abstain en masse, not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.
Take the Plunge:
You know what they say: a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You feel that things are falling apart – the temperature rising, the oceans churning, the global economy heaving – why not do something? Take just one small step toward a more just and sustainable future. Make a pact with yourself: go on a consumer fast. Lock up your credit cards, put away your cash and opt out of the capitalist spectacle. You may find that it’s harder than you think, that the impulse to buy is more ingrained in you than you ever realized. But you will persist and you will transcend – perhaps reaching the kind of epiphany that can change the world.