Jonaki Mehta

The day before a federal judge blocked enforcement of Texas' restrictive new abortion law, the parking lot of Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La., was filled with Texas license plates. Women held the door open as the line spilled out onto the sidewalk and into the grass.

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Next, we're going to tell you the story of a dream almost deferred. It begins with a little girl raised in the segregated South of the '30s and '40s.

When indie folk star José González arrived at the time to create his latest album, Local Valley, he reached for – what else – local sounds: "I took an evening, set up the stereo mic and recorded an hour of just bird songs," González says in an interview with NPR's Ari shaprio. Aside from his costars, the singer-songwriter recorded the record in the same mode, at his home studio outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, where he lives near the coast in a forest of birch and pine.

Bob Ross — the artist known for his calm voice, poofy hair and unflappable demeanor — spent 31 seasons gently encouraging at-home artists to pick up their palettes to paint serene landscapes and "happy little trees."

Actor Melissa McCarthy and her husband, filmmaker Ben Falcone, were big fans of Ross and decided to produce a documentary about his life. But as they began working on the project with filmmakers Joshua Rofé and Steven Berger, they quickly realized their subject — and the legacy he left behind — was more complex than they knew.

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Rodrigo Amarante is full of bird facts.

When we meet him at his home, sitting out on his wooden deck that overlooks northeast LA, his doors and windows are all open, sunshine cascading through them. Amarante sits cross-legged underneath a patio umbrella that he's fashioned wheels on so that it can move easily with the sun. Despite making shade, he wears round, turtle-shell sunglasses as he fiddles with a bottle-top, pondering what inspired the genesis of his second solo album.

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If there's anything the past year has put at the forefront, it's our mortality.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "70 OVER 70")

MAX LINSKY: You seem very convinced that you've gotten very old.

Updated June 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM ET

In the early months of India's coronavirus pandemic, Manisha Pande recalls watching the evening news tell the public to go outside and bang pots and pans in solidarity with healthcare workers. She says that the energy was very "we're going to fight this thing together," encouraged by Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

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Rock, pop, punk and fun - these are some of the flavors Japanese band CHAI captures in their genre-fluid music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PING PONG!")

CHAI: (Singing) You and me, racket and ball.

This story is part of an NPR series, We Hold These Truths, on American democracy.

Last summer, DonnaLee Norrington had a dream about owning a home. Not the figurative kind, but a literal dream, as she slept in the rental studio apartment in South Los Angeles that she was sharing with a friend.

At around 2 a.m., Norrington remembers, "God said to me, 'Why don't you get a mortgage that doesn't move?' And in my head I knew that meant a fixed mortgage."

For Simranjit Singh, spending time in his family's almond and raisin fields is "the most therapeutic thing I could ever ask for." He says it's something he could never give up.

Singh is a 28-year-old farmer in a town 15 miles west of Fresno, Calif., called Kerman.

His extended family gathered on the farm last weekend to celebrate Vaisakhi, a farming holiday celebrated annually on April 13 or 14, and throughout the month.

Home: It's where a lot of us have been spending our time since March 2020. For Mike Milosh, leader of the R&B music collective Rhye, the word has taken on new meaning — he's gone from life on the road to a more permanent idea of home at his house outside Los Angeles, where he created his latest studio album. But the sound of this record was conceived well before the pandemic: It began with the idea of wanting to include a choir, which led to Milosh inviting the Danish National Girls' Choir to come to the U.S.

The year of large racial justice protests led to an unprecedented number of Confederate symbols being removed around the country.

More than 100 Confederate symbols have been removed from public spaces or renamed since George Floyd was killed, according to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Photographer Janna Ireland aims to capture intimacy and relationships in her work, which she says focuses primarily on Black life in America.

For the Los Angeles-based photographer, that has included photographing staged scenes as well as self-portraits and portraits of her family — including, most recently, of her two sons during the pandemic.

"In my work, I'm happy when all different kinds of people appreciate it, but I feel as though I'm making it for Black people," she says.

As the presidential election draws closer, NPR wants to hear what kinds of issues matter most to California voters between the ages of 18 and 24. Are you concerned about climate change, racial justice, cost of housing, health care, the economy or student debt? Do you identify as a Democrat or Republican? Or do you think the two-party system doesn't work altogether?

We are interested in hearing from a range of people — conservative, liberal, BIPOC, white people, LGBTQ+, people attending college and those who aren't.

Across the country, students of color have been demanding change from their schools. At one Denver school, the push for a more inclusive and diverse curriculum came last year, from a group of African American high school students at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College.

Pirette McKamey is fighting for anti-racist education.

Over her more than 30 years as an educator, the principal at Mission High School in San Francisco spent a decade leading an anti-racism committee.

In the wake of ongoing protests for racial justice, young people in America are demanding change from their schools.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The decision is often framed as a landmark decision that transformed education for Black students, allowing them equal access to integrated classrooms.

June 2020 was a pride month that looked different from past years, and not just because people were socially distancing and wearing masks: Demonstrations for LGBTQ equality overlapped with protests against violence and systemic racism against Black people.

At the intersection of these two fights for equality are Black transgender people.

Imara Jones, an independent journalist and founder of TransLash media, told NPR's All Things Considered, that this moment has been "a crucible."

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