Stories matter in movement building. I believe that movements start to gain real power - power to make systemic change - when many different groups of people come together for a common cause without flattening their diverse voices and lived experiences into one. As my partner Chelsea says, we want a movement that sounds like a chorus of voices singing together, not everyone speaking with one voice. Building that kind of movement requires listing to each other, hearing each other's stories.
That's the impetus behind Delicious Revolution, the radio show and podcast about the food movement that I make with Chelsea, where we set out to record in-depth conversations with people with many different backgrounds and experiences. It was also the idea behind a participatory photography project we did in Yucatan, Mexico, that sparked community conversations around the value of Mayan food traditions, and, transcending linguistic boundries, also allowed a global audience a glimpse into the complex decisions that young people what it means to be both young and Mayan. Digital media presents an unprecedented opportunity to hear and see people tell their own stories in their own voices.
Imagine putting participatory media to work in your organizing and planning processes. Imagine, before a meeting of diverse stakeholders to make decisions about funding priorities in a foundation, you record in-depth interviews with people about their lives and work. You could distribute those as a podcast, building understanding of where participants are coming from and jumpstarting the conversation. Imagine your frontline partners coming to meetings with decision makers equipped with powerful photographs and videos that help illuminate their perspectives.
I help organizations make media that highlights individual's voices and lived experience for the purpose of building movements.