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STORYCENTER Blog

We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.

Filtering by Tag: human rights

SpeakUP! Young Women Share Powerful Stories of Identity, Gender, and Violence

Root Barrett

Traditional and cultural norms in South Africa, coupled with the legacy of the systemic, state-sanctioned violence of Apartheid over generations, has fueled a society with one of the world’s highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women. The nature of patriarchy is long-standing and profoundly embedded in the country, and women’s stories are often forgotten and untold.

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"Gathering Strength" Digital Stories: Immigrant & Refugee Communities Ending Violence

Root Barrett

For four years, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV) has been leading the Gathering Strength project (GS), which holds an overarching theme of storytelling as it supports California’s API immigrant and refugee communities in ending violence. In August of 2016, project advisors and participants came together for 2.5 days, to strengthen and expand the GS community, honor and celebrate individual and collective accomplishments, and co-create a bold vision for the next phase of this work.

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My Mother Makes Me Proud to Be an Afghan Woman

Root Barrett

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about the women who inspire and empower me. The one woman who has always made me proud to be an Afghan woman is my mother, and this childhood memory illustrates exactly why.

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"Gathering Strength" Digital Stories: Immigrant & Refugee Communities Ending Violence

Root Barrett

For four years, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV) has been leading the Gathering Strength project (GS), which holds an overarching theme of storytelling as it supports California’s API immigrant and refugee communities in ending violence. In August of 2016, project advisors and participants came together for 2.5 days, to strengthen and expand the GS community, honor and celebrate individual and collective accomplishments, and co-create a bold vision for the next phase of this work.

Read More

SpeakUP! Young Women Share Powerful Stories of Identity, Gender, and Violence

Root Barrett

Traditional and cultural norms in South Africa, coupled with the legacy of the systemic, state-sanctioned violence of Apartheid over generations, has fueled a society with one of the world’s highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence against adolescent girls and young women. The nature of patriarchy is long-standing and profoundly embedded in the country, and women’s stories are often forgotten and untold.

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Fighting Violence through Story

Root Barrett

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.  StoryCenter is currently recognizing the importance of speaking out about rape and abuse by sharing new and archived pieces from our blog. Today, MA candidate Marit Erdal shares her work on the power of story to prevent violence against women.

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Amy Hill: 2014 AHN Awardee

Root Barrett

Arts & Healing Network is delighted to present one of the 2014 AHN Awards to Amy Hill, storyteller, documentary filmmaker, public health consultant and co-founder of Silence Speaks. In 1999, after ten years working in community-based public health projects, Amy co-founded Silence Speaks, an international participatory media initiative offering a safe, supportive environment for telling and sharing stories that all too often remain unspoken. Silence Speaks surfaces personal narratives of struggle, courage and transformation and works to ensure that these stories play an instrumental role in promoting gender equality and human rights. Since 2005, Amy has continued to lead Silence Speaks and other global health and human rights-related projects as a staff member at the Center for Digital Storytelling. Amy has overseen the use of storytelling all over the world in places like Nepal, Ethiopia, Uganda, Brazil and more.

To learn more about Amy Hill, please visit the Silence Speaks web site where you can also watch some of the digital stories that have been recorded from around the world.

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Too Big to See – by Jamie Mayo

Root Barrett

Sometimes racism is so big you don't notice it. I grew up in an all white town. I didn't think about it much. It was just the way it was. It didn't mean anything. After all, we sang, "Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight," every Sunday. And that's what I knew about diversity. But what I didn't know then was that it was an intentional racist act that ensured that my hometown was all white. By law, black people had to be out of town by sundown. Until 1968. And that is the way it was.

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Black History Month: Stories and Storyteller Reflections

Root Barrett

February is Black History Month, and we couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate and honor it than by sharing some incredible stories from our All Together Now project on civil and human rights. With great admiration and appreciation for all the stories and storytellers in the project, we have selected a few stories to share with you here. 

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All Together Now: Featured on Upworthy

Root Barrett

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Movement changed laws and minds, securing basic rights for many, through the actions of people who did what they knew to be right. At StoryCenter, we’ve been running a project called All Together Now, collecting intergenerational stories of civil and human rights from around the country.  Dr. King dreamed about a day when we would recognize each other by “the content of our character,” and storytelling allows us to do this – stories help us find out who we really are.

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I Too Dream an American Dream – by Eugenia Gardner

Root Barrett

My family’s history and active involvement in the Civil Rights movement began four generations ago in Selma, Alabama where my great-grandparents and their children tended cotton fields. As a child, I heard their intergenerational stories about sharecropping, Jim Crowism, and “Daddy King” around the dinner table. My grandmother, who recently turned 92, participated in the Bloody Sunday March with John Lewis and Dr. King. In the 1970s, when Shirley Chisholm ran for president, years before there was Hilary Clinton, my mother and Ms. Shirley took me with them to voter registration events every Saturday. I don’t think I knew what voting was, but I knew Dr. King had given up his life for my right to vote. I also knew that Dr. King and his fight for black civil rights would, in many ways, define me.

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To Stand Now Is to Tell Our Stories – by Tommy Orange

Root Barrett

I’ve been so excited about the good work being done through the All Together Now workshops across the country. Thinking back, I can’t really say I’ve had an opportunity – or I haven’t seen it ­– to take a stand, and to engage in the necessary civil disobedience required to go against the American grain. Even if it’s “only” telling our stories. If telling our stories is subversive to an ultimately damaging master narrative, then let our voices be like a march, and let them be heard by as many people as possible.

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Breaking Down Walls: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“I got very emotional when I read my story aloud in the first story circle before the recording. Probably it’s because November was the month when Esther passed away; this is the fifth anniversary of her death. When I said that line about the anniversary of her death, I just broke. I felt so vulnerable because I was embarrassed and then Mr. Westmoreland said, ‘Just breathe.’ That was when I was able to actually sit up and continue to read the rest of what I had written. Then when I actually did the recording, I didn’t cry. I started to get choked up toward the end, and I got choked up when Eugenia played it back. But when I actually recorded it, I didn’t cry. I’ll never forget that, when Mr. Westmoreland just said, ‘Breathe.’"

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The Point of Storytelling : All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“When I told my story in our small breakout session, I got the whole point of storytelling. It’s a way to initiate conversation. That’s when other folks were asking me, ‘How is your brother a U.S. citizen, but you’re undocumented? How come your parents didn’t do it this way or that way?’ That’s when you actually sit down and have the conversation about this is how our legal system works. For example, my mother had her work sponsorship from 2001, and it wasn’t until like last year that her appeal for residency was even taken into consideration. That’s when you can talk about the 10-year backlog in our current immigration system. You can talk about what it’s like to be a youth living through that with no control of the matter. But it’s that initial storytelling that opens up that conversation.”

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The Story of The Rich Coast Project – By Katie Beck

Root Barrett

Unlike most law school students nearing the end of what can be a less than enjoyable experience, I spent my final semester living and working in the southern Caribbean region of Costa Rica. This experience was life-changing and led to the establishment of The Rich Coast Project, a community storytelling and collective history project aimed at supporting and protecting the cultural heritage of coastal Afro-Caribbean populations and other communities living along Costa Rica’s Talamanca coast.

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A Southern Boy: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“I'm a Southern boy. I was born in Alabama. My dad was from Mississippi. This was in the Twenties and Thirties, and I grew up in an extremely segregated society. I ended up clearly outside—far beyond—the racial rage I was raised in as a child. I gave that up. There was something obscene about it.”

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The Artists’ Side: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“The March on Washington: I remember my parents being very afraid for me to go. You know, thinking something was going to happen. I was kind of afraid too, but I knew that I had to do this, that it didn't matter whether I lived or died. I was going to go peaceably. I wasn't trying to fight. I wasn't going to get arrested, but I wanted to be there.”

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Day 7 of the 11 Days of Action: Opening Doors, by Tahira Hussain

Root Barrett

Today is Day 7 of the 11 Days of Action leading up to International Day of the Girl on October 11. This youth-led movement to advocate for girls' rights and speak out against gender bias was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 when it adopted Resolution 66/170. This year's theme is "Innovating for Girls' Education."

In honor of this movement, and in celebration of girls everywhere, we share this story.

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