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Arts & Culture

In This Together: A PBS American Portrait Story

Cat G., who had COVID-19 at the time of birth, gets to see her babies for the first time.
Courtesy of PBS/RadicalMedia
Cat G., who had COVID-19 at the time of birth, gets to see her babies for the first time.

Stream now or tune in Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. on KPBS 2

Featured Participants from Across the U.S. Include a First Responder, an Essential Worker, and a Recovering COVID-19 Patient

PBS and its recently launched crowdsourced storytelling project, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, present a new coronavirus special.

Since early January, the PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT website has captured thousands of stories by Americans that, together, hope to answer the question:

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What does it really mean to be an American today?

With the unprecedented global and national impact of COVID-19, the answer to that central question and related prompts has shifted in recent weeks, which is reflected in the submissions still pouring into the site.

The half-hour special will spotlight some of the many personal stories, photographs and videos shared by thousands of people in response to the prompt “I never expected…,” and viewers will hear first-hand accounts of how this global pandemic has affected our nation.

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Medical professionals wear masks and protective gear to lower their risk while working on the front lines. (Undated photo)
Courtesy of PBS/RadicalMedia
Medical professionals wear masks and protective gear to lower their risk while working on the front lines. (Undated photo)

Throughout the special participants from across the country use self-shot video, photos and text to share how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting their lives, their communities and their understanding of what it means to live in our country at this unique moment in time.

“In This Together: A PBS American Portrait Story” will blend collages of various stories from across the country with a focus on three main stories:

First Responder

Allison A. is a first responder from Raleigh, North Carolina. As a critical care transport nurse, Allison finds herself at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has always loved her job but is candid about how scared and nervous she is now.

Since her husband is also a first responder, they have sent their six-year-old son to live with his grandparents out of fear for his health.

She and her husband have also been forced to prepare for the worst, signing over power of attorney to her parents and updating their will due to the severe risk associated with their jobs.

In the meantime, Allison waits for the crisis to peak in her North Carolina district.

Essential Worker

Second is Mario C. an essential worker from Romulus, Michigan. Mario works as a warehouse associate at a facility on the outskirts of Detroit where confirmed cases of COVID-19 are multiplying among employees.

Designated an "essential worker" in the pandemic crisis, Mario is concerned for himself and his family. He ultimately has to make life choices that define his future for years to come.

Recovering COVID Patient

Finally Cat G. is a recovering COVID patient from Aurora, Colorado. Cat tested positive for COVID-19 when she was 33 weeks pregnant with twins. When she gave birth, Cat had to be immediately intubated and separated from her babies.

As she recovers at home, Cat documents her difficult emotional experience as her and her husband’s only contact with their newborn sons is through a monitor in the NICU unit. The family prepares for the twins’ homecoming as they wait for the hospital to approve the babies' discharge.

Watch On Your Schedule:

“In This Together: A PBS American Portrait Story” featuring these three stories among many others, will begin streaming May 8 on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV and Chromecast.

Join The Conversation:

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT is on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @PortraitPBS on Twitter. #AmericanPortraitPBS

PBS is asking you to submit your individual story!

A woman in New York prepares for a drive through COVID-19 test. (Undated photo)
Courtesy of PBS/RadicalMedia
A woman in New York prepares for a drive through COVID-19 test. (Undated photo)

Credits:

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT was developed and created with RadicalMedia. For RadicalMedia, Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as executive producers, and Naomi Gilbert is the senior interactive producer for the web platform. Craig D’Entrone is executive producer for RadicalMedia and showrunner on the project. Bill Margol is the Executive in Charge for PBS. For “In This Together: A PBS American Portrait Story,” RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as executive producers alongside Director and Executive Producer Craig D'Entrone. Michéle Stephenson is series producer.