Buddhist temple outside Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia


Atlanta, a center of Southern culture located along the historic Bible Belt, has a long history of faith-based activism that is perhaps best represented by the role of the Black Church in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the city lays claim to a vibrant religious landscape which includes a wide variety of evangelical, Catholic, and Jewish communities. In 2013, a permanent StoryCorps booth opened at the Atlanta History Center. The American Pilgrimage Project draws from the stories recorded in Atlanta to explore the a wide range of themes, including the connection between Buddhist faith and personal identity.

The interviews below were recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

Demetrius Brooks and Tanequa Tunstall

June 1, 2019

More stories about: Buddhism

Demetrius Brooks and Tanequa Tunstall are queer people of color who have drawn on their Buddhist faith to grapple with personal challenges as they each make a life in the American South. In this conversation, the friends reflect on the transformative power of Buddhist thought and practice in their daily lives.

This story was produced by Alero Oyinlola.

Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel and Rita Sabbagh

April 16, 2019

More stories about: Christianity Immigration

Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, a Presbyterian pastor, came from Palestine to the United States in the 1960s and found inspiration in the activism of Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. In this conversation, Abu-Akel joins friend Rita Sabbagh to reflect on his experiences as an American immigrant and to explore his work to promote interfaith collaboration in the Atlanta area.

This story was produced by David Dault at Sandburg Media, LLC.

Jackie Howard and Todd Slutzky

September 4, 2018

More stories about: Judaism Gender

Jackie Howard identifies as Jewish but has always had a complicated relationship with her faith, owing to her largely secular upbringing and her friendships with people of different religious backgrounds. In this conversation Howard joins her son Todd Slutzky to reflect on the evolution of her faith and what being Jewish means to her today.

This story was produced by David Dault at Sandburg Media, LLC.

Donna Peera and Haseena Peera

August 7, 2018

More stories about: Healing & Recovery

Donna Peera was raised Catholic, but in adulthood she has found her spiritual home in Shamanism, a collection of practices through which she transcends into different realms to access information from nature. In this conversation, Peera joins her daughter, Haseena, to discuss how Shamanism has shaped her personal and family life as a way of healing. 

This story was produced by Alero Oyinlola.

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