Associated Files
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Brian Corr
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Brian Corr. Clip 2
Contributor
Corr, Brian (Interviewee)
Guberman, Jayne (Interviewer)
Girdharry, Kristi (Recordist)
McDonough, Ryan (Contributor)
Language
English
Date created
February 11, 2014
Type of resource
Sound recording
Genre
Interviews
Oral histories (document genres)
Format
Sound Recording
Digital origin
born digital
Abstract/Description
Countless lives were affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath. The WBUR Oral History Project collects stories from individuals whose lives were immediately and irrevocably changed by these events. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of WBUR, our team of oral historians, and the participation of these interview subjects, Our Marathon has tried to ensure that these stories are not forgotten. We believe that these stories matter, and that they demonstrate the ways historical events transform the lives of the people who lived through them. Oral historians Jayne K. Guberman, Ph.D., and Joanna Shea O'Brien conducted the interviews for this project. Oral History Project Manager Kristi Girdharry, Our Marathon Project Co-Director Jim McGrath, and Community Outreach Lead Joanne DeCaro recorded the interviews and provided research assistance and post-interview processing. McGrath and Our Marathon Audio Technician Ryan McDonough provided sound editing and processing for all of the interviews and clips. The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project. Brian Corr, executive director of the Cambridge Peace Commission, grew up in Detroit during the 1960s and '70s. With a lifelong interest in peace and justice work, Brian remembers family political conversations and participating in the McGovern campaign as a child. Growing up in an integrated, middle class neighborhood, he first encountered racism during his college years, when classmates would ask if he had an athletic scholarship and many had no experiences with black people. Since 2006, Brian has lived in Cambridge, which he describes as a microcosm of the United States. A physically dense city, Cambridge combines a diverse mix of different races, nationalities, and socio-economic statuses, where people live in their separate worlds. The Peace Commission, founded in the 1980s, today works to transcend the gaps and build bridges among Cambridge's communities. An avid bicyclist, Brian recalls learning about explosions at the marathon while on a long bike ride. Initially skeptical about claims of terrorism, he says it never occurred to him that the bombs could have been placed at the finish line by neighbors who lived a half mile from his home. Throughout the interview, Brian reflects on the communal angst among Cantabrigians, especially once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as longtime residents. Holding up the city's image as a model of diversity and openness, Cambridge residents grappled with what, if anything, they could have done differently to recognize the Tsarnaevs' problems or prevent their acts. Brian notes the critical role of the Cambridge Response Network in planning the city's response to the bombings and his own part in facilitating cooperation among different agencies and constituencies. He discusses the healing power of the many gatherings that allowed people a safe place to express themselves. In particular, he notes the planning meeting for Cambridge Rindge & Latin staff on the Sunday after the bombings, as well as student assemblies the following day. Citing Riverside Community Care as an important partner, he describes the student assemblies as "Cambridge at its best." In particular, he notes the example of a Muslim student who was able to express her worries about the impact of the bombings and get support from her school community. Brian also discusses the impact of the bombings on the Cambridge mosque, where the Tsarnaev brothers had occasionally worshipped. Despite being inundated by media, the mosque leadership worked tirelessly to promote healing within its own membership and the larger community. The "Peace Walk" from Cambridge City Hall to the mosque exemplified their inclusive approach. Brian also describes other gatherings, including "CRLS Strong," organized by recent Rindge & Latin graduates, some of whom had known the Tsarnaevs personally, and a community meeting at the Senior Center in May. In the latter part of the interview, Brian reflects on the impossibility of ever truly knowing what motivated the Tsarnaevs or what would constitute justice in this case. Citing his abiding faith in people's goodness, Brian feels that the pressing need in the wake of the bombings was to create spaces for people to be present for one another and come together for healing. Real power for change, he believes, comes from working in community. In this clip, Brian recalls both his own and others' struggle to make sense of what had happened, especially those who knew the Tsarnaevs personally.
Notes
The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project.
Source note
The WBUR Oral History Project. Brian Corr (Oral History), Jayne Guberman (Oral Historian), Kristi Girdharry (Recorder), Ryan McDonough (Sound Editing and Processing)
Related item
Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive
Subjects and keywords
Boston Marathon Bombing, Boston, Mass., 2013
Permanent URL
Use and reproduction
No media use without permission of Brian Corr. Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to Our Marathon (marathon@neu.edu) and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. Commercial use of content is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

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