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A sampling of the most memorable stories that aired on 'Morning Edition' in 2022

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

As the year comes to a close, we asked some of MORNING EDITION's staff to talk about their most memorable stories of 2022.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHAD CAMPBELL, BYLINE: Hi. I'm Chad Campbell, a producer with MORNING EDITION. Before every host interview, we do extensive prep work behind the scenes. But sometimes we get a surprise. And those moments can be magical, like when Rachel talked with singer Ifedayo Gatling of the Harlem Gospel Travelers in September. Thanks to the album's liner notes, we knew there was a special guest on the song "I'm Grateful." But we didn't know the guest and Gatling were related.

IFEDAYO GATLING: This special guest is my mom. And...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Wait, what?

GATLING: Yeah, that's my mom.

MARTIN: Get out.

GATLING: I'm a preacher's kid. My mom is Pastor Cynthia McCants. That's my mom.

CAMPBELL: I think we were all grateful that Pastor Cynthia McCants said yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M GRATEFUL")

HARLEM GOSPEL TRAVELERS: (Singing) Grateful on a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday, a Thursday, a Friday, a Saturday, a Sunday. Yes, I'm grateful.

DESTINEE ADAMS, BYLINE: Hello. My name is Destinee Adams. My home state, Oklahoma, is also home to one of the first sit-ins in the civil rights movement. In 1958, Clara Luper led 13 Black students to a whites only lunch counter. One of the students was Luper's daughter, Marilyn.

MARILYN LUPER: She would say all the time, I want you to believe in the sun when the sun didn't shine, and to believe in the rain when the rain didn't fall and to believe in the God that we've never seen. That's the way she would want to be remembered.

ADAMS: Sixty-four years later, Marilyn retells her mother's story, hoping to memorialize her contributions to the civil rights movement. With this conversation, I hope to do the same.

LISA WEINER, BYLINE: My name is Lisa Weiner, producer with MORNING EDITION. Back in early February, I traveled to Ukraine with our host A Martínez and MORNING EDITION editor Reena Advani. We were there to report on the diplomatic wrangling that eventually led up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. But on a Sunday afternoon, two weeks before the start of the war, we attended a unity march of foreign expats who now called Kyiv home and who were determined to fight for their adopted homeland.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I don't call myself an expat. That means I'm an ex-U.S. patriot. I'm a dual-pat. I'm a thorough U.S. patriot and a Ukrainian patriot.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Ukraine might be a distant country, but it is an important ally. And it is really important to show that we, as international and foreigners, support Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: If there's ever a threat to Kyiv, then I will join up with the territorial defense battalion, like I know many of my friends will.

WEINER: Remembering that scene and the unshakable patriotism of those marchers holding their nations' flags and chanting in Ukrainian, I think about where they are now. Did some of them join the fight? Maybe they were injured or worse. It was a moment before so much changed. And that's what will stick with me.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing in non-English language).

MILTON GUEVARA, BYLINE: My name is Milton Guevara. Look; I love working at NPR, but I'm not going to lie. I think about quitting my job and moving abroad all the time. So I was excited when we got to speak with somebody who did exactly that. Rick Martinez is a food writer. A while back, he bought a car and traveled to all 32 states in Mexico. He was doing research for his cookbook, "Mi Cocina."

RICK MARTINEZ: People inviting me into their homes and showing me how to cook this food, or cooks in a restaurant or in a stall in the market, like, inviting me into the kitchen to show me how something was done.

GUEVARA: I think about our interview with him a lot because I've been trying to get more in touch with my food culture.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ADAM BEARNE, BYLINE: I'm Adam Bearne. A moment I'll never forget was our interview with Kaomi Lee, a Korean American who found out in her 50s that her adoption story had been a lie.

KAOMI LEE: Through DNA, I discovered a half-sister who was also adopted. And we have a shared father. And that's when I discovered that he had been alive until about 10 years ago.

MARTIN: Wow.

LEE: It begs the question, did that parent even consent to having me be sent overseas and basically vanish from Korea?

BEARNE: You heard Rachel Martin there say wow when Kaomi revealed that she'd been robbed of the chance to meet her father. I had the exact same reaction listening in from the control room. I hope that she gets some answers from Korea's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is investigating cases like hers.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JULIE DEPENBROCK, BYLINE: My name's Julie Depenbrock. And the most memorable story I worked on this year was about censorship. In their last issue of the year, students at a high school newspaper in Nebraska had published op-eds on LGBTQ rights. Days later, the paper and the journalism program were shut down. Rachel Martin and I spoke with one of the journalists, a trans student named Marcus Pennell.

MARCUS PENNELL: This had been, like, the first official thing from the school that was kind of saying, you know, like, we don't really want you here. Like, you can't really be yourself here.

DEPENBROCK: As a journalist, a queer person and a former teacher, the story hit me really hard. Students are being censored at the same time that schools across the country are banning books that center LGBTQ stories.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LILLY QUIROZ, BYLINE: Hey. My name is Lilly Quiroz. And during a year when reproductive rights were stripped away, this conversation between Leila and Ella was so comforting to me. It was a reminder to take time to ourselves, even when we're feeling frustrated with the world, and that people who have a platform should speak out for people's rights. Ella chooses to do that through her music.

ILE: Now the protests are happening, which is empowering. But these things were happening still, you know, this oppression towards women because patriarchy says so.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Is it why you put politics in your music, to have these conversations?

ILE: Yeah, definitely. For me, it's my way of letting things go for a while and just having more energy to want to keep talking about this in a better way every time, because there is a lot of social ignorance in this world. And it can be cleared out in just a simple conversation.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALGO BONITO")

ILE AND IVY QUEEN: (Singing in Spanish).

MARTÍNEZ: That's a sampling of the producers and editors who make MORNING EDITION with their memorable moments of 2022 on our air. They are just some of the dozens of journalists who make this program, along with engineers and technical directors, working every day to bring you stories from throughout the U.S. and the world. Happy New Year from us to you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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