Editor’s Letter: Beautiful little stories in Little America

Glimpses of everyday events that link us together just as important as the big headlines


Back when I was a reporter, writing about everyday people was my specialty.

My motto was — and still is — everybody has a story.

So along with glamorous concert and movie assignments, I also: wrote a weekly wedding column; stopped people on the street and asked them about their clothes; profiled local teens for a special youth section called Street (If you remember it, I love you).

One of my favorite subjects was a Chula Vista middle schooler so obsessed with the Backstreet Boys that every inch of her wall was covered with posters, and she made each band member a birthday cake on their birthdays (that she ate with her friends).

Over the years, I stopped writing human interest stories, but I never lost my passion for them. So I was delighted to discover a show on Apple TV+ called Little America.

It’s a series based on real-life, everyday stories, but told from the perspective of people who aren’t usually represented in mainstream culture: immigrants.

The first episode (which will just tear out your heart) is about a 12-year-old Indian-American boy who loves memorizing words from the dictionary. But then his parents get deported and he’s left to run his family’s motel in Salt Lake City.

There’s also an episode about an undocumented Mexican teen who makes a name for herself playing competitive squash, and another about a Nigerian college student in Oklahoma dealing with culture clash and homesickness.

These are quiet stories, and some don’t have much plot or action. But they give us an insight to the struggles, joys and complicated emotions of immigrants in the United States.

The show is produced by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon (The Big Sick), along with Alan Yang (Master of None) and Lee Eisenberg (The Office). It skillfully balances drama and humor and brings us the kinds of personal moments that go beyond political headlines.

I think that’s why I like it so much.

Despite all the terrible things happening in the world, Little America is told through a lens of optimism, which is not easy to find right now. It inspired me to bring that same lens to this magazine.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is filled with the most important information about world events. But at PACIFIC you get a glimpse of life that happens alongside the headlines … the stories, events, blind dates and art profiles that show a diverse city, populated with its own little stories.

—Nina Garin,