on the road
We drove across the country to manifest a representation of the We Are All Ants format. We asked people to share their life stories and the mental tools they have created for themselves. America is currently experiencing a palpable mental health crisis. Suicide rates are up. Social media is eroding our ability to foster genuine connections. Families are finding it difficult to communicate. Bullying is pervasive in our schools; the list goes on and on. After traveling the country and collecting dozens of hours of footage, the importance of incorporating the cross-country adventure into journalism has crystallized. Some of the themes we uncovered include the importance of honest communication, the creation of community around ideas where people feel safe and listened to, the reformation of our education systems, the necessity to treat our elders with respect and learn from them.
some of the people we interviewed
Jane Elliott, IA
A legendary anti-racism teacher, who is passionate about reforming the American education system. Jane is 85 and sharper than most people in their 30’s. The day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Jane decided to educate her third-graders on racism by demonstrating the ‘blue eye brown eye exercise’ that labels people inferior or superior based on eye color. She continues to bring this impactful exercise around the world, educating people of all ages about race and its impact on society.
Jillian Mercado, NY
A supermodel with MS breaking glass ceilings in the fashion industry. Jillian has been featured on the cover of Teen Vogue, on billboards in Time Square for Olay, and as a part of campaigns with Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger. On Instagram, she is a storyteller using her following as a chance to create social change, blowing the whistle on injustices relating to how we treat disabled people in America.
Tom Radke, MN
A local historian in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tom is retired and sits down every day for hours on end at Dunn Bros Coffee on Grand Ave. He is a part of the coffeehouse generation and enjoys engaging in conversations with new people who walk through the doors at Dunns. Tom is a storyteller at heart and believes culture needs to change for us to progress.
Lisa and Al Baker, WI
They met at a sweat lodge ceremony where Al was drumming. They live in the rural plains of Wisconsin and continue to educate young people about native traditions. They are passionate about climate change and feel that a return to traditional ways of life and respecting the land can help save the planet.
Caleb Walbon and Alaina Sandau, MN
Seniors at Maple Grove high school in Minnesota. Each year the number of students who commit suicide rises. Their friends are dying, forcing them to critically evaluate American culture and education.
Patrick Talbot, UT
A military veteran with PTSD. Pat has a harrowing story about a rogue shooting at a Halloween party where both he and his son were wounded.
Osiris Lane, MN
An artist who overcame being under 25 and homeless in America. Creating music is a therapeutic process for Osiris that helps them cope with their mental health, turning trauma and negativity into beauty.
Mary Weaks, MN
Executive Director of The Walk In Clinic in Minneapolis – the only completely free and anonymous psychotherapy clinic in the country.
Joe Pulliam, SD
A First Nations Lakota ledger artist who paints on US historical land deeds and documents. After struggling with substance abuse, Joe revisited his ancestral healing practices and artistry to move him toward sobriety.