// Category: Commentary

Storytelling Can Move Mountains

In 2011, Tania Mattos started working with filmmaker Christina Antonakos-Wallace when she was a leader in the fight for the New York Dream Act. Mattos expected filming to take a day or two. It took eight years and followed her through a pivotal time in her personal life and the immigrant rights movement as a…

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Changing the Conversation Around Reproductive Justice

“Reproductive justice” was first coined in 1994 by the Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice and defined in 1997 by Sister Song (a formal outgrowth of that group) as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” To…

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SxSW 2023: A Place for Narrative to Thrive

Two weeks ago, I descended into Austin, Texas for week two of the SxSW conference and festival. It’s a real-life gathering of folks who embody the saying “Revenge of the Nerds.” Politicians and thought leaders, activists and entrepreneurs, tech heads and gamers, cinephiles, bibliophiles and music aficionados; all who arrived were welcome. With my interactive…

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Fleshing Out History

Throughout American history, efforts to bring the stories and lived experiences of people of color into the broader American narrative have been met with fierce resistance. When SNCC and a broad group of educators organized to make Black studies a feature of the curriculum, states sought to ban — and defund — the teaching and…

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Facing Race: A National Conference 2022

Two weeks ago, Narrative Initiative took our goodies to the Facing Race conference in Phoenix. The conference is sponsored by my former organization, Race Forward, so this was my first chance to see old friends in person since 2020. As always, this conference crowd is multi-everything kind, loving, joyful and determined. There’s no better place…

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Gender is a story we tell ourselves

The first time I read Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit, I was captivated by the worldbuilding and the story’s overarching military conflict. Ninefox Gambit is a space opera about a female soldier and the undead male general whose spirit possesses her and, although the author is trans, the story has no explicitly nonbinary or trans…

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Looking out the front window of a car driving through traffic at night.

We all have narrative power

Narrative is shaped in conversations. Here’s how a meeting with a Ukrainian cab driver in New York clarified one person’s identity.

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What listening to Rusty Mae Moore taught me about narrative change

The story of Rusty Mae Moore and Chelsea Goodwin shows us how the strongest narratives are complex and woven through the richness of life.

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Photo of a man feeding flying birds at the top of an open stone stairway. Photo is from the film All that Breathes.

Five films we’re watching at Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival starts next week, January 20th, 2022, with incredible storytelling on tap. Here are five films we’ll be watching.

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Narrative Initiative

A 2021 narrative reading list to launch your 2022

The articles, essays, resources, podcasts and more that made us think about how narrative change is working as we head into 2022.

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