“The thing you’re most afraid to share is the thing you most want to say.”
This is one of the observations journalist Florangela Davila made during the workshop she provided last week as part of the Untold Story Project. Davila also said that stories are built on verbs and movement, and that the most powerful parts of a sentence – and a story – are the beginning and the end.
The Untold Story Project, in support of the county’s commitment to lead with racial justice, invites employees of color to submit a 750-word story of how racism has affected them and their sense of self, belonging or worth.
The first workshop was in March and was led by poet Daemond Arrindell, who led participants in an exercise called the “essentialized poem” to distill their story to its core. He also provided a handout on editing and revision, which included this tip: Don’t teach, preach or explain overtly, when you can do it through images (metaphors!), actions and stinky cheese smells (the senses).
The third in this series of three lunchtime workshops to assist potential submitters in writing their story is May 1 in Room 126 of the Chinook Building. It will be led by poet and essayist Jourdan Keith. She recently curated the Poetry on Buses project on the theme “Your Body of Water.” She’s been awarded numerous grants and artist residences. Her work, which has appeared in magazines, newspapers, radio and television, blends the textures of political, personal and natural landscapes to offer voices from the margins of American lives. She is the founder and director of Urban Wilderness Project, which provides environmentally and culturally based programs rooted in social change.
Registration for the workshop is online: 12-1 pm Tuesday, May 1 @ Chinook Building
Stories for the Untold Story Project are due May 25 on the project submission page. Submitters are cautioned that this project is not a forum for discrimination or sexual harassment complaints, which must be legally addressed by Human Resources.
Because stories are meant to be shared, the stories collected as part of this project will be made available online for all employees to read this summer. In the fall, several events open to all employees will feature local performance artists presenting some of the stories, followed by a facilitated discussion on racism. The Untold Story Project is based on the premise that story is what connects us and helps us understand each other.