On June 17-22 Intelligent mischief members traveled to Detroit to attend the 17th Annual Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. There, we presented a workshop titled "Grieving Through Humor: The Black Body Survival Guide." We opened up the space by asking people, "Why are you here?" to which many responded, “I wanted a space to discuss the conditions of black people but at the same time relax, and not be so heavy”. This answer sums up one of the main purposes of the Black Body Survival Guide.
Below is an excerpt for CSS Executive Director Patrick Reinsborough’s speech at our recent Flock Together Party & Fundraiser in Oakland, CA.
Effective strategy is rooted in a critical analysis of the systems and power relationships we are working to change. The story-based strategy approach is grounded in a narrative power analysis which means examining power relationships through the lens of the stories and cultural assumptions that frame public understanding of what is legitimate, desirable or even possible.
When we look at our current world through this lens we quickly see that this is an Era of Outdated Stories – a time when many of our dominant political and economic institutions are still shaped by destructive stories rooted in the violence and exploitation of the past
THE POWER OF STORYTELLING
by Felicia Perez, STP Season 2.0 Lead Host
Even though I was right in front of her, she simply never saw me. We practically touched noses, and still she never said my name or acknowledged that I was even in the same room with her. This was what it was like to watch American television in the early 80s and in English. The show was Romper Room and the host Miss Genie spoke in a language I was still learning. It’s not super important that you know the show or remember it, as far as I am concerned. But the thing you may care to know is that at the end of each episode, she would pull out a “magic mirror,” that really looked like a magnifying glass, and she would get close and look out into the tv audience (or in to my living room) and shout out names of people she saw. Everyday I sat closer, legs crossed and hands folded. I smiled. I didn’t smile. I sat a few inches away. I wore different clothes. And while she said names like Jenn, Michelle, Chris, Michael, Bobby, Lou Ann, Stuart, and Melissa, she never said my name, “Felicia.” Come to think of it, not only did she not seem to see me through that mirror, but I never saw anyone like myself standing next to her. Girls with short hair who dressed like boys did not exist on Romper Room.
I was simply not part of this story.
This marked the beginning of my learning to expect that, no matter how magical I thought or was told it was, TV was never going to be a mirror of me or my life. I was slowly learning that either I, or the people in the TV, would have to change. At least this is what English speaking TV told me.
Two years ago a handful of fast food cooks and cashiers went on strike in New York City. Their brave action, taken without the protection of a union or a labor contract, sparked what has grown into the Fight for 15 Campaign that includes fast food workers, home care workers, gas station attendants, Wal-Mart workers and airport workers (for more information go to fightfor15.org).
This movement is one big powerful story.
We think it is time to #ChangeTheMcStory. Do you?