On August 25, ZUMIX will open its doors to Eastie residents for the kick-off of Constelación de historias – a
community storytelling project and event series about life and housing in our neighborhood. Imagine your dad’s favorite story about his antics at the bowling alley or fishing on the pier..preserved on tape. This bilingual event will offer all ages the chance to record audio stories of love, transformation, hope and courage in our neighborhood. It will be a space for neighbors to connect, hear the youth-produced work of ‘City to City’ — a ZUMIX summer program in which youth traded place-based audio stories between East Boston and Pilsen, Chicago — and create artistic audio of their own.
The spirit will continue throughout the fall with storytelling events in fun and inventive formats. The 3rd Annual ZUMIX Radio Block Party will enliven Orleans St. on Saturday, September 8, bringing a visual audio installation to the streets in celebration of 94.9FM ZUMIX Radio’s second birthday. A Sound Walk on October 20th will invite neighbors to walk and listen — to audio dispatches, histories and personal stories about significant locations through the eyes of those working for a just housing environment. And finally, on November 8, Story Loft will welcome a storyteller and a live audience for a long-form interview about cooperative culture here in East Boston.
Together the events hope to open opportunities for discussion and deeper understanding amid rapid housing development in East Boston. The series is produced in collaboration by ZUMIX Radio Station Manager, Brittany Thomas, and partner organizations Stand for Democracy and The Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity. “The beginning of this idea came from listening to ZUMIX Radio every day. Almost every day we have a guest speak on the air, who is working on the issue of housing in our neighborhood, anxious about finding a place to live, thinking about the impact of quick and dramatic infrastructural change on the culture of Eastie. It’s an issue that’s front of mind for so many people,” said Thomas of the formation of the project. “It’s important that the stories told about East Boston and the topic of development don’t forecast an inevitable ending. We can find hope for and connection to the place we live, through stories.”
Constelación de historias is one project of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR)’s national initiative, Localore LIVE — a coast to coast series that launched July 1 to reconnect communities across political, economic, geographic, linguistic, and other divides. The grants support collaborative projects that bring more face-to-face interactions into local journalism.
Have you seen the signs on Eastie streets? Constelación de historias also invites neighbors to weigh in on community-related questions posted in windows around town. By texting ‘Eastie’ to 617-539-2867, you can let ZUMIX Radio know your answer to this question: “What is your favorite place in East Boston? Why?” Neighbors’ anonymous answers will be compiled and posted to constelaciondehistorias.org for reading. Questions are evolving and open — readers are welcome to submit questions they’re curious to ask their community about life and housing in East Boston.
The kick-off for Constelación de historias will take place Saturday, August 25, from 11-2 p.m. at ZUMIX, 260 Sumner St. in East Boston. The event is free and open to all ages. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and be hungry for lunch. The event will be facilitated in English and Spanish.