The “Toledo Voices” series highlights Toledo community members, institutions, and legacies that shaped the past and continue to shape our present and future. Ranging from childhood memories to the historical legacies that cemented Toledo’s industrial identity, each story dissects the foundation on which Toledo was built and the community-centered vitalization that will propel Toledo higher.
Gabriel Kramer is an Ohioan, through and through. He entered into this world at a hospital in Medina — the same one as his father. He walked the stage at Medina High School — the same as his grandfather. Three generations here in the Buckeye state, and yet, he still found himself searching for ways to fit in while growing up— ways that sometimes required him to neglect parts of his mixed-race identity.
Lee Wong has long served his country: he spent two decades in the U.S. Army, has been a trustee of West Chester Township since 2005 and is a chairman at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati. Some would say Wong is a textbook patriot. But as the U.S. continues to grapple with anti-Asian hate, Wong has had to prove himself again and again throughout his life.
Born in Chicago to Thai immigrants, author and teacher Ira Sukrungruang spent much of his early life wrangling the divided aspects of his identity — one irrevocably tied to his birthplace and home in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and the other struggling to resonate with the culture, language and traditions of his family’s heritage.
The year Donald Hayashi was born, everything changed.
In 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9742, ending Japanese detainment in America — and the incarceration of Hayashi’s own immediate family.
For Ajino Wah, memories of home are tinged with bittersweet contradictions. On the one hand, he remembers hospitality, lush rivers and gardens. In particular, a love of peace stands out in his sense of home among the Karen people, one of the first ethnic groups to settle in present-day Burma (also known as Myanmar).
Over a year ahead of the election, P.G. Sittenfeld is already running to be Cincinnati’s next mayor. Born and raised in the city, he’s on a quest to build a more equitable future. Midstory talked with Sittenfeld about why he returned home and his future plans for Cincinnati.
Midstory is a 501(c)(3) non-profit thinkhub that progresses the narrative of the Midwest by incubating bright, diverse and interdisciplinary thinkers to exchange ideas and envision the future of our region through multimedia storytelling and solutions-oriented research since its founding in 2018.
As an educational media organization, we inform, interpret and inspire in and for the Midwest and believe that our region’s challenges can be our greatest asset to drive renewed interest and human capital into post-industrial cities.