Emma Bowman

Ever since he was a child, Michael Menta looked up to his uncle Sal Leone for becoming a Marine. Menta would eventually follow in Leone's footsteps to serve his country, enlisting in the Navy during his senior year of high school.

Their shared veteranship brought them closer.

"We spoke the same language," Menta said, when he and Leone visited StoryCorps last month.

Between the election of President Trump and Britain's ongoing debate over Brexit, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros recognizes that populism is on the rise and that his brand of liberal democracy is faltering.

"When I got involved in what I call political philanthropy some 40 years ago, the open society idea was on the ascendant — closed societies were opening up," Soros said in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered. "And now, open societies are on the defensive and dictatorships are on the rise."

Yet he remains optimistic.

This week, Jewish people observed Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement.

Growing up in the 1960s, siblings Michael and Vickie Feldstein marked a different way to repent for their transgressions: Amnesty Day, which their dad, Bernie, had created.

At StoryCorps in 2011, Bernie tells them about that tradition he started in their Brooklyn household around forgiveness. A few times a year, the Feldstein children could say anything on Amnesty Day, without retribution, condemnation or discussion.

Willie Ito, 85, wanted to be an animator from the moment he first saw Snow White in theaters as a young boy.

"I remember the seven little men walking across the screen, singing, 'Heigh-ho, heigh-ho!' and I thought to myself, 'Wow, that's what I want to be.' Not one of the seven dwarves, but an animated cartoonist," Willie told his son, Vince Ito, 60, at StoryCorps last month.

With the fraught negotiations over Brexit continuing to embroil British politics, the nation's former prime minister, David Cameron, says his "greatest regret" is that those who advocated to stay in the EU lost the vote — which ultimately divided the country, paralyzed the government and left Britain increasingly at risk of leaving the European Union without any deal.

Since 2015, under the threat of the Taliban, Afghan filmmakers Hassan Fazili and Fatima Hussaini, along with their two young daughters, have been on the run for their lives.

The family fled Afghanistan after the extremist group had called for Fazili's death over a film he'd made about one of its commanders.

Even as the refugee family navigates a still-incomplete journey — of death threats, discrimination and paralyzing immigration systems — Fazili and Hussaini turn their cameras on themselves and their daughters.

Inspired by her father's passion for military service, Denise Baken joined the Army in 1975 at age 24, looking to follow in his footsteps.

But the retired colonel didn't realize how closely her father's experience in the military mirrored her own until she faced challenges — both as a woman and an African American — over her 28 years of service.

When Elizabeth Coffey-Williams first came out to her family as transgender in the late 1960s, the language of gender identity wasn't what it is today.

"A lot of the words that they have today, like transgender and non-binary, they didn't have them," Elizabeth, who was in her early 20s at the time, told her niece Jennifer Coffey in a recent StoryCorps interview.

At one time, the Volkswagen Beetle was so ubiquitous that its sighting is often punctuated by a swift punch in the arm and a shout of "Punch Buggy!" (Or "Slug Bug!" depending on your regional take on the road trip game).

But this week, the Beetle set off down the road to extinction. On Wednesday, Volkswagen ended production of the Beetle, saying it wants to set its sights on manufacturing electric vehicles.

When Corinthia Isom was a child, her mother sat her down on the steps of their home to tell her she had a deadly illness.

"I have HIV, and things are gonna change within our lives," Isom says, recounting the words of her mother, DeSeane Isom.

DeSeane was a single mother, so before her death, she asked two of her closest friends if they would care for Corinthia after she was gone.

The two friends, Kathleen Payne and her partner, April, had met DeSeane through an LGBTQ gospel choir in New York City.

Already a bold trendsetter on the pop stage, Rihanna is also breaking barriers in the makeup and fashion industries.

The 31-year-old Barbadian singer has partnered with the historic LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fashion house, becoming the first woman of color to have a label under LVMH and the first woman to start an original brand for the world's largest luxury group.

The new label is named Fenty, after the last name of the singer (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty). It's an expansion of her cosmetics empire of the same name, launched in a 2017 partnership with LVMH.

Nina Martinez just became the world's first living HIV-positive organ donor.

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital late last month successfully transplanted one of her kidneys to a recipient who is also HIV positive.

"I feel wonderful," Martinez, 35, said in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, 11 days into her recovery. The patient who received her kidney has chosen to remain anonymous, but is doing well, Martinez is told.

For as long as he can remember, Tommy Tomlinson has understood his identity as inseparable from his body.

John Nordeen and Kay Lee served in the same Army platoon during the Vietnam War.

Nordeen and Lee had very different personalities, but in the life-or-death setting of war, the two bonded. Nordeen, a soldier from Seattle, was one of the first people that Lee, a combat medic from San Francisco, talked to.

But after the war, they lost touch.

In 2015, after a years-long search by Nordeen, the veterans finally reconnected.

In a male-dominated industry, Geneva Robertson-Dworet is as rare as the female superhero characters she helps craft. The breakout action-genre screenwriter will be adding a historic project to her resume with Captain Marvel, Marvel's first female-led movie, due out next year.

Robertson-Dworet, who penned the Tomb Raider blockbuster reboot, has also been tapped to work on Sherlock Holmes 3, Gotham City Sirens and the new Dungeons & Dragons adaptation.

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