Arms Around America

What is Arms Around America and what are its goals?

Arms Around America is a project of Los Angeles-based theater group, Dan Froot & Co. We are creating book-length oral histories of families whose lives have been shaped in some way by guns, in South Florida, Montana and Los Angeles. We will then adapt some of those families’ stories into a podcast, and a live play to be performed in each family's home community and around the country.

You can check out our current podcast season by clicking here. It's part of a project called Pang!. Pang! is based on the stories of real families around the country living with hunger or food insecurity. You can also see a promotional video about Pang! by clicking here. The process for Arms Around America will be very similar to Pang!, so you can get a sense of where this project is going.

Why would you want to speak with my family?

By opening a window into families’ lives, we hope to explore diverse perspectives and foster dialogue around the complex roles that guns play in our society. We hope that this project can help us all learn how to talk to each other (rather than talking ateach other) about gun-related issues.

  • We are conducting oral histories of families and individuals around the country whose lives have been touched in some way by guns.
     

  • We feel that guns are a major issue in our country, and that lives depend on learning to listen to each other's experiences and perspectives.
     

  • There are plenty of statistics about guns. We would like to introduce each other to some of the people, and stories, behind the facts and figures.
     

  • Telling some of your stories might help others to understand your experience.
     

  • We believe that telling our own and listening to others' stories decreases fear and increases respect and understanding, and that this can move us toward productive dialogue.

A smiling family, all huddled together with a green grass park behind them

What would participation look like for me or my family?

  • You and Dan Froot would sign a consent agreement together, which tells you your rights and guarantees you your privacy. It tells you that you can quit the project at any time with no consequence.
     

  • We would conduct a one-hour interview every other week with you and/or members of your family at a time and day convenient to you. During the restrictive phases of the coronavirus pandemic, interviews will be conducted remotely. We will provide all equipment and instructions.
     

  • We expect to interview you about ten times total, so it will take six to eight months to complete the interview process.
     

  • We will pay you an honorarium for each interview.
     

  • At each interview, you will receive a verbatim transcript of the previous interview.
     

  • In order to preserve your privacy, we will not use your real names in the transcripts. We will use pseudonyms. We will also change the names of other people, places and companies.
     

  • After the interviews are completed, some narrators will be asked to consult with us on the creation of a podcast and play based on their stories.
     

  • When the plays are performed, we will invite participating families and friends to join us as our special guests at the show.
     

  • After the performance, we will gather for a conversation with our audiences to talk about our perspectives on guns. We would ask you and your family to be our featured guests at these talks as well.

A family of 4, stands together. The young daughter and son smile. There is green grass and tress.

Am I right for this project? Is this project right for me or my family?

  • We are interested in people who want to tell their stories, who want others to listen, and who want to preserve their histories.
     

  • We are eager to meet folks whose lives have been touched in some ways by guns, either directly or indirectly. We are looking for a diverse group of people whose experiences in relation to guns are complex.
     

  • We welcome all definitions of “family.” If a group self-identifies as a family, they are a family as far as we are concerned.
     

  • We would prefer to work with families that live under the same roof.
     

  • Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide a translator so all narrators must be able to speak English fluently.
     

  • Your lifestyle and health need to be stable enough for you to reliably meet our oral historians for a one-hour interview every other week.
     

  • If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us.

What are the benefits of participating?

  • You would receive your oral history bound in book form.
     

  • If chosen, you may have the opportunity to collaborate with us on adapting your stories adapted into a podcast and theater piece, to be performed in your local community.
     

  • We would pay you for all activities having to do with the project.

Who is involved in the project?

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A blue square logo, white outline of a guitar & a gun inside that. Text reads Guitars Over Guns

Have more questions?

Interested in hearing more about the process?

We'd love to

hear from you.

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