Emma Bowman

When Luis Paulino started eighth grade at a new school in a new country, he was made to feel like he didn't fit in.

Paulino, who arrived in New York from the Dominican Republic in 2006, remembered being bullied for his differences.

Unlike his new classmates, Paulino didn't speak English and he wore baggy, drab clothes. As a Spanish speaker placed in strictly English-speaking classes, he struggled in school.

Years before humorist David Sedaris became a celebrated writer, he worked as a Christmas elf at a Macy's department store in New York.

His time as Santa's helper was less than merry and bright.

Sedaris wrote about the dark side of holiday spirit in the Santaland Diaries, a sardonic collection of somewhat-exaggerated stories based on his travails as Crumpet the elf.

In 1992, Sedaris read from Santaland on Morning Edition. Thus, an NPR holiday tradition was born, and the struggling writer became an in-demand talent overnight.

After spending more than 12 years as director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins is retiring this weekend. But he's no less worried about the public health agency's latest pandemic curveball.

As the omicron variant threatens record-breaking rates of infections in the U.S., Collins departs with a warning. If Americans don't take COVID-19 seriously, the country could see 1 million daily infections, he said.

"We cannot afford to let down our guard," Collins told NPR's Scott Detrow in an interview with Weekend Edition.

When opioid addiction began to ravage Suzanne and Jesus Valle's Ohio community more than two decades ago, the husband and wife saw another crisis unfolding.

In Blue Creek, Ohio, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country's opioid epidemic, children whose parents had become addicted to pain pills, heroin and other opioids were becoming the invisible casualties of the crisis.

So, the Valles stepped in to help.

In the fall of 1989, Mark Woodley saw an ad in a local New York newspaper: Macy's was looking for Santas to spread cheer in its department stores that holiday season.

Although he was trained as an architect, Woodley applied for the job. He thought lifting children's spirits might boost his own.

Woodley had been at an especially low moment. It was the height of the country's AIDS crisis, and he'd been grieving the loss of his best friend, who died of the disease. At the same time, he was coping with his own HIV diagnosis.

Updated December 4, 2021 at 8:34 PM ET

CNN has fired Chris Cuomo after new revelations detailed the journalist's role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is demanding that the FBI take full control over the investigation into the death of Jelani "J.J." Day.

The last time Carolyn DeFord, a member of the Puyallup tribe, saw her mother was in 1999.

That's when Leona Kinsey, who raised DeFord in La Grande, Ore., went missing. She was never seen again. Her disappearance is just one unsolved case in the nationwide crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous women.

Updated December 2, 2021 at 10:53 AM ET

Twitter will no longer let its users publish private videos or images of other people without their consent, in a new policy expansion meant to prevent harassment and abuse on its platform.

Updated November 29, 2021 at 5:41 PM ET

Opening statements began Monday in the federal sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the once prominent socialite who stands accused of helping disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein exploit and abuse multiple girls, including one as young as 14, over nearly a decade.

Brazil's Amazon rainforest saw its highest annual rate of deforestation in over 15 years, the latest data shows, after a 22% climb from the previous year.

The Marine Corps, the smallest U.S. military force, has plans for a big overhaul designed to address its lack of diversity and problem with retaining troops.

The goal that's driving what amounts to a cultural shift within the service, is for the Marines "to reflect America, to reflect the society we come from," Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

It's not a matter of being politically correct or "woke," he said.

As the children of circus performers, Fritzi and Bobby Huber would spend nine months out of the year traveling the country with their parents.

While on the road, the family of four lived in a 26-foot-long trailer, stuffed with an array of costumes that parents Fritz and Betty wore in their act.

And even though costumes were a part of everyday life in the circus, Bobby and Fritzi had never heard of Halloween until they were six and seven, respectively.

Grete Bergman had long wanted to get traditional facial markings, a practice for Indigenous women in Alaska that European settlers tried to extinguish.

But in 2016, Bergman became one of the first among the Gwich'in Nation — First Nations peoples whose homelands stretch from northeast Alaska to northwest Canada — to get tattooed, in a return to a centuries-old tradition.

"My dad would have hated it," Bergman said. "He would have looked at me and he would have said, 'What the hell you do that for?' "

This year marks the first time a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day.

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