“A Better Life?” explores how America’s failed response to COVID-19 has reshaped immigrants’ lives and their relationship to the United States. Each episode tells a different immigrant story and examines how the crisis has challenged or changed that person’s ideas of what it means to be American.
The show also includes conversations with immigrant elders — grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles — to hear how they are coping during this time, and what they have learned over the years that can help the rest of us survive today’s challenges.
Desi Voters, COVID-19, and the 2020 Election
The vice presidential nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris has made South Asian political power mainstream in the United States. In New Jersey — a state with a large and growing Desi population — differences over religion, culture and national origin make unity difficult to achieve.
Call Your Elders: We're Going to Be Okay
As an immigrant in New York City, Rosalind Tordesillas has looked to her Tita Margaret Gomez — who came to New York from the Philippines in the ‘70s — as a role model for building a life there. The two New Yorkers remember their own resilience after 9/11, and Margaret offers inspiration for getting through this current moment.
Black Immigrants in the Whitest State
Black residents in Maine make up 2% of the state’s population, but they’re twenty times more likely to get COVID than white Mainers. We hear from two members of the state’s African diaspora — Lewiston councilwoman Safiya Khalid and civil liberties attorney Michael Kebede — about the history of African migration to Maine and how they were transformed by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Call Your Elders: Hugs from Here
After the U.S., India has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. New York City-based Ramaa Reddy calls her 93-year-old aunt Indira in Bangalore to see how she’s doing.
Call Your Elders: A Letter to Italy
When Covid-19 hit Italy in April, Italian immigrants Sara and Maria were stuck in San Francisco. So the neighbors began reminiscing about all the things — music, bread, Neapolitan scenery — that home meant to them.
Rosa’s Story: Undocumented and Unemployed in the Pandemic
Rosa — an undocumented Mexican immigrant who cleans hotel rooms in Phoenix — lost her income just a few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic. But she quickly fought back. Reporter Maritza L. Félix tells us her story.