A story from our friends at The Experiment, plus a listener's reflection on last week's shootings in Atlanta.
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It’s been another heartbreaking stretch of violence in America. How disorienting, how disgusting, to feel pulled away to the next occasion of mass, terrorizing gunfire just as we are learning the names and stories of the people killed in the last one. What devastating, senseless losses. 

This Friday, March 26, is the holiday we have declared as “Pick Up The Phone And Call Day.” It’s a day to encourage each other to be intentional about taking a few minutes to reach out to people who have crossed our mind, but we haven’t taken the time to connect with.  Now, this may seem like a strange pivot from mass shootings and collective grief, but it’s actually not such a big leap. Because at its heart, this is a day dedicated to putting a little more effort into finding out, over the phone, what people we care about are thinking about and going through. Maybe you’ll hear about a broad sense of grief about America, or maybe you’ll find out there are more intimate, personal struggles going on that you didn’t know about. As Donna Perry put it in last week’s episode, we just need to step up through the social awkwardness of an out-of-the-blue phone call to express care, so it doesn’t go unsaid: 

I just want to die empty. When I go into the ground, I want you to be able to say that I did every single thing that I ever wanted to do. And I said everything. That I said, "I love you," even when I felt like I would've felt foolish saying it, I said, "I love you.” 

Listen here if you missed that episode. I also talked about the holiday on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC and you can hear callers talk about some of the reasons they’ve felt hesitancy to reach out to people in their lives. If you feel a little self-consciousness and uncertainty about how pandemic isolation has affected your relationships, you’re not alone. We have tips for making that call right here, or you can text “call day” to the number 70101. And if you do reach out to someone on Friday that you wouldn’t have otherwise, let us know how it goes.

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team

This Week on Death, Sex & Money
A dark green rectangular frame surrounded by the podcast art for The Experiment, which features a series of lions, a zebra, a deer, and other animals on the great and in water. That is superimposed with an Associated Press photo of the sign of the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where federal death-row inmates are executed.
This week, we’re sharing an episode of a new podcast called The Experiment with you. It’s a show about America, and what happens when the big ideas and forces that have shaped our country collide with everyday lives. Also—it's really good. 

As our colleagues at WNYC Studios and The Atlantic were putting together the episode we're sharing with you today, we here at Death, Sex & Money heard about it and really wanted to share it with you all. It’s about a man in Indiana who got an email—an email that he could’ve ignored, but didn’t. It’s a really powerful story about faith, duty, and the death penalty. Listen here.
Your Stories: A Listener's Heartbreak
A listener named Audrey emailed us last week to share her reaction to the shootings in Atlanta. She agreed to let us share that reflection with you here:
“I'm just... heartbroken. Yes, in the 'I feel terrible for the families who lost their loved ones,' and heartbroken as in 'I feel like America has punched me right in the chest and broke my heart.' As a second generation Korean-American, the question of 'home' has always hung around my periphery. Where do I belong? It is neither 'here' in the U.S., nor 'there' in Korea. But the targeting of Asian women in Atlanta, Georgiaon top of the sustained spike in anti-Asian commentary and crimes across the U.S.has just capitalized and bolded the message that I, and people who look like me, are not welcomed here. I am afraid for the elders in my family, I am afraid for my siblings and cousins, I am afraid for the very young children of my cousins, my soon-arriving nephew. In addition to mourning the physical harm done, I am also mourning this sense of rootlessness. I grew up here (and am privileged with documents), but what do lived experiences and papers mean to others that think people like me are the literal root of sickness and evil?

I was so looking forward to watching
Minari. I thought it would be healing, cathartic to watch a Korean-American family make a home in America. I was looking forward to pointing at the screen and saying, 'Look. It's me. It's us.' But now, I can't bear the thought of watching a scene of yet another Asian-American family being rejected, being told that they don't belong, being undermined and thwarted when all they want is to make a life. 

Yes, I can donate to organizations and organize. But right now, I am shocked and weary. The road ahead looks so long and I don't have the strength right now.”

—Audrey, 30, Queens, NY
We also wanted to offer some resources for learning more about the recent attacks on AAPI communities in the U.S., the broader history of anti-Asian sentiments in the U.S., as well as mental health resources by and for Asian communities, and other ways to help.

Listen to This: Audio We Love

A dark blue square with a red outline of the United States on it. The words "The United States of" are at the top in white, bold text, and "anxiety" is below in white text. A white line is below the word, and the WNYC Studios logo is centered at the bottom.
An orange and blue gradient square with the words "Chris Gethard's" in white text in the top left corner, and an upside down, black silhouette of a man in the top right corner. The "Beautiful/Anonymous" in white in the middle. The Earwolf logo is in yellow and black in the bottom right corner.
On the latest episode of The United States of Anxiety, host Kai Wright leads us through a conversation on the mass shooting in Atlanta, an act of white violence that has forced yet another look at historic racism against Asian-Americans. Guest Helen Zhia, an activist and author, explains how Asian countries and therefore Asian-Americans have long been scapegoated for America’s problems. It’s a cycle, and it’s happening again, she said: “Right now is a lot like the 1980s—except I have to say worse.”

And Anna’s guest hosting the WNYC show All of It this Friday (which also happens to be our new "call-iday," Pick Up The Phone And Call Day), and she’ll be talking with Chris Gethard—comedian, podcast host, and phone call enthusiast. We really enjoyed the recent episode of Chris’s podcast Beautiful/Anonymous, where he talks with a caller all about rethinking her sex life after having three kids, and finding elements of self-care in intimacy that she hadn’t appreciated before. 
"I value hearing different perspectives and the sense of community built among listeners."
—Sarah, West Virginia

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There's still time to join our "call-iday!"

Pick up the phone and call that loved one you've been meaning to talk with this Friday, March 26th. Text “call day” to 70101 for tips and a reminder.
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