Stories From California

Sometimes I want to write more than just journalistically about my experiences as a reporter. That is why I started to write down my thoughts, observations and emotions beyond scripts for radio, print and TV. This experiment is a lot of fun and scary at the same time. But, as they say, you have to get out of your comfort zone.

A Small Town Woman Who Went Into The World


The local paper calls me a "writer and journalist, a woman from Müllheim who went into the wide world ... observing life in California." 

It is a funny feeling to be written about as a journalist. Hey, I am supposed to ask the questions! I am supposed to decide what makes it into a story and which details can be disregarded.

But I have to admit: the journalist reviewing my reading in my former class mate's book store right in the heart of the small town where I grew up got it right. This insight comes as a surprise. If she is right, I am and do exactly what I wanted to be and do when I left Müllheim after graduating High School: go out into the world, explore, discover, observe and write about it.

Looking into the familiar faces of family, friends and teachers from school while reading from my book about California and talking about my life, I feel at home. Not only the friendly faces are comforting. On my trip I recognize sounds and smells and views and tastes from childhood and youth. 

Plan B - When ICE Can Deport You And Your Family

"The scary part is, hearing the door break and someone could come into my house and take me or my family away."
"I told my Mom and my stepdad to go to Mexico with my little brother and I stay, because I can look out for myself pretty well."
"That's what I always wanted to do: come to school and learn. And that somebody is now threatening for us to be sent back, that's the scary feeling."

Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory High School is a Sanctuary School in Watts. Many of the students come from families that have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. Not all of them have papers, some of their 

Identity, Beauty and Prison - Students' Stories

"You sit there, sleepy eyes and sour coffee breath."
"Have you ever had someone tell you, you are ugly, you are not pretty? Lies."
"Next door there will be a church and the face of The Joker will be outside the church to scare zombie and creeper away."
"Blue nail polish is ignoring what other people think and staying true to yourself." 

For a while I have been feeling the urge to "do something" instead of just reporting about people who do something. Finally the urge became too strong and I started volunteering at two non profit organizations only a bike ride away from my home. 826LA encourages students age 6 to 18 to write. The Mar Vista Art Walk creates a space for artists and community to celebrate creativity, love and respect for each other and the planet.

When I learned that the next Art Walk's theme was VOICES, I knew I was right at the seam of a match made in heaven:

Tim Robbins: Do Not Provoke The Rattlesnake

"We all have to understand, what was it in our own actions and culture that created Trump.
There was something wrong, something sick in our society.
My suspicion is, that we have lost a sense of moral code. It is a big problem and it has to do with us, all of us."
Tim Robbins, director, writer, actor, musician, founder and artistic director of the Actors' Gang in an interview with soundslikerstin

The Actors' Gang has been a beacon for social justice since Tim Robbins founded the small theater in Culver City 35 years ago. Just a week before Donald Trump's inauguration as new president of the United States, Robbins and his team started their new "Axis Mundi" series to foster civic engagement and social justice within the community.

The first evening was a dialogue between Tim Robbins and Sister Helen Prejean. She wrote the book "Dead Man Walking" describing her own experience with Death Row inmates. Robbins turned this book into a script and a movie with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn as leading actors. This evening was about how we can create social justice in the current political landscape.

I had the chance to talk to Tim Robbins and Sister Prejean before they sat down on the stage. Asking Robbins about the tough questions we have to ask ourselves, like they asked tough questions in their movie 20 years ago, he answered, that we have to ask ourselves, how we contributed to a society that elects a man

Blizzards, Road Blocks and Water Protectors


"Create those spaces and explore those questions:
What it means to have a dwindling amount of resources to exploit, and an ever growing population that has more needs and are learning to expect those needs to be met, when we know this is not possible"
Johnnie Aseron, Lakota Elder at Standing Rock Camp, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, DAPL

This year one of the highlights of my reporter life came late - with the assignment to go to Standing Rock in North Dakota to tell stories from the camp of water protectors on a Sioux reservation. I landed in a blizzard and almost lost hope to ever make it to the tents along the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. It took the selfless help of several strangers to make this story happen. From the guys getting my car out of the snow and the lady sharing her hand warmers with me to Mixay Lay Vongnarath, a gentle soul who took me under his wings and to the camp. He also