By: Christine Cordero
I was that little girl who sat up front during reading time in the school library, and borrowed the maximum amount of books at least once a week. I would try to read books at the dinner table (Sorry, Mom!) and at parties when I couldn't leave my friends - I mean, characters - and their adventures behind. Stories, dreams, alternate realities, and fantasties were the avenue by which I learned empathy and the world. In true if blunt terms, I was a nerd.
As an organizer and activist, story merged with power. I learned environmental justice and the power of a surprising messenger with the story of Crizel Jane Valencia, a beautifully fierce 6-year-old with leukemia from the toxic waste from the former US bases in the Philippines fighting for her life and justice for her communities. I learned the power of assumptions in the fight for janitors, and the insidious and pervasive bootstrap mythology "if you just work hard enough you will succeed," eroding our sense of worth and what counts as a "good job."
Could my nerd world meet my social justice world? Could there be a place where my way of seeing the world through story, my passion for social justice, and sense of play and creativity co-exist together?
I attended a workshop in Baltimore in 2006 and heard these words that I would eventually learn to say in my own way: "Humans are the narrative animal. The currency of narrative is meaning, not necessarily truth. We believe something not because it's true, but because it's meaningful. Every day, stories are defining who we are and what is possible, and we must contest for the power of story, ideas, and belief to win for social justice." And from that moment, I knew I would find some way to work with the people and organization that I eventually came to know as the Center for Story-based Strategy.
I am excited to announce that 10 years later, three of which I have served as Training and Program Director here at the Center for Story-based Strategy, I now serve as the Executive Director. I am incredibly excited and humbled to usher us into the next phase of the organization's work to change the story on issues that matter the most to our communities.
We are thrilled to have Co-Founder and Former ED Patrick Reinsborough back from sabbatical to support our growing team and contribute to CSS’s exciting new phase. This coming year, we will expand the Meme Army and the community through this year's Advanced Training, our 3rd season of Stop the Presses, and hiring a new team member!
With the amazing (and growing) team we are looking forward to finding, developing, and building with you fellow library nerds, story crusaders, organizers-come-communicators, and artivists to begin rebuilding our collective political imagination and propagating visions for a just future. Continue walking with us on this journey. Join us and let's get this thing to fly!