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Ep. 79: Who We Are Now

When she found herself out of a job in the midst of a global pandemic, Michelle Fishburne got the idea to hop in her RV and travel the country to find out how people have fared throughout 2020. Her oral history project called Who We Are Now highlights the first-hand stories she’s gathered on her journey and today, she joins us on the podcast to share her insights into what she’s learned about people in small towns.

At a time when so many things threaten to divide us, this episode reminds us of all the ways in which we’re united. If we can “park judgment” as Michelle says, and keep our minds and hearts open, there is nothing we can’t get through.

About Michelle:

Michelle Fishburne started Who We Are Now in September 2020, when she left her home in North Carolina and RV'd west, all the way out to Wyoming, in search of stories of how Americans are making their way through this challenging time. She's interviewed small town mayors, yoga instructors, doctors, teachers, grocery store owners, corn hole board makers, etc. All sorts of people because everyone has a story. Everyone's life has changed in some way because of the pandemic. Who We Are Now captures those stories, in each person's own words.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What it means and why it matters to “park judgment"

  • The role that fear and assumptions play in our inability to connect with others

  • How to be our best selves and focus on serving one another

  • The value of local leadership and local decision-making

  • The ways that the pandemic has made us better

Links and Resources Mentioned:

New stories are posted every week to Michelle's Who We Are Now website: and her Facebook and Instagram accounts @whowearenowusa.

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Growing Small Towns Show! If the information in our conversations and interviews has helped you in your small town, please click on the images below for Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver relevant, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more small-town trailblazers just like you!


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