13 Mar Writing Our Stories for Social Change
By Julio Esperias, Manager of Communications
3.14 is commonly known as Pi Day and refers to the mathematical constant π (3.14). But it is also National Write Your Story Day, celebrating who you are and where you came from through the use of the written word. After-all, a good story can change the world!
Every single one of us has a uniquely compelling story to tell. In some cases, our values have been shaped by the choices others–systemic, social, and economic racism as well as parents, community, and school teachers–have made. As community organizers, telling and sharing our stories is essential to creating a united community. For us at Community Coalition, the Story of Self is a powerful tool to build a sense of community around shared values and experiences and ultimately to unite Black and Brown people in action to transform the conditions in South Los Angeles that keep us from thriving.
Reasons to Tell Your Story
- To Inspire Others
- To Empower Your Community
- To connect with Your Community
- To Raise Awareness
- To Create a Call to Action
- To Find Your Voice
Writing Your Story
You may be thinking you don’t have much to write about or feel nothing worthwhile has ever happened to you. However, once you start writing, you may surprise yourself. And sharing your story has the potential to help others.
When writing your story of self, remember you are sharing parts of yourself with others that are authentic, that allow others to connect with you, the “individual,” and that establish a sense of common ground and/or shared experience with others. Our stories are powerful because they give rise to compassion and empathy–even among strangers. When people read what others have experienced, they gain strength if they themselves are in that position.
It’s not easy to be vulnerable, especially to people you barely know. We find that stories are an important part of social change because they have the power to shape the way community members think and feel about their communities and how they interact within them. Through community organizing, sharing stories or experiences builds trust and generates important connections across generations.
You can observe “Write Your Story” Day by:
- Committing to writing your story and sharing it with at least one family or community member
- Recording your story via video, is a great way to make a keepsake for the generations that follow
- Encouraging others to write and share their stories