Upstanding Short Docs

As we first admitted a year ago, Starbucks not only can brew up a kick-ass latte, but also some first-rate mini-documentaries. The brand has just released the second season of its series Upstanders, with 11 more stories of Americans making positive change in their communities – such as The Disappearing Island:

The Disappearing Island and the other 10 season two episodes can be found free at, and will roll out Mondays and Thursdays on Facebook for the next few weeks. All episodes are also available to Amazon Prime subscribers, along with an exclusive hour-long compilation.

You can also still watch the first season’s 10 episodes at Starbucks or on Amazon Prime.

Upstanders’ co-writer and producer is entrepreneur Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a former senior editor of The Washington Post, is the other co-writer and executive producer.

Here are Starbucks-provided summaries of all season two episodes:

“Knives, Fire and Opportunity”: Chad Houser quit his job as the executive chef at a hot Dallas eatery and risked his career to open a restaurant staffed almost exclusively by former juvenile detention inmates;

“The Wave to Recovery”:  Navy SEALs Alex West and Kyle Buckett spend their nights and weekends designing specialized surfboards for wounded warriors, helping them build strength and confidence in the waves;

“From War to Montana”: Mary Poole, a mother with no background in foreign policy, convinced her community to welcome refugees by harnessing hundreds of volunteers and embracing her opponents;

“Befriending Her Shooter”: Ian Manuel was just 13 when he shot Debbie Baigrie. A year into his life sentence, he called her to apologize. That eventually led to her forgiveness, an unlikely friendship and a mission to help free him;

“Planting Hope in the Coalfield”: Entrepreneur Brandon Dennison decided to address poverty in his native West Virginia by extending a hand of opportunity to former coal miners;

“A Racist’s Rehabilitation”: When Garry Civitello admitted he was prejudiced on national television, a black woman named Heather McGee offered him advice to become a better American. The exchange transformed his life and forged a remarkable friendship;

“One Doctor’s Needle Fix”: Hansel Tookes spent four years on a life-saving mission to convince Florida legislators to allow drug users in Miami to exchange dirty needles for clean ones;

“Love for All in Utah”: Stephenie Larsen forged past fear and skepticism to create the first LGBT community center in Provo, Utah, in an attempt to reduce suicides among gay teens and build bridges with the Mormon Church;

“Saving Middletown”: Ami Vitori gave up a successful big-city career and tapped her retirement fund to help rebuild the struggling Rust Belt community of Middletown, Ohio;

“The Firefighter’s Rescuer”: Seattle firefighter Mike Washington told colleagues about some of his most painful and personal moments to encourage them to seek help and draw more attention to stress among our nation’s first responders;

“The Disappearing Island”: Former South Carolina Republican congressman Bob Inglis, who once scoffed at climate change, overcame a humiliating defeat by deciding to take on skeptics within his party.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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