‘Who We Are’ Project Offers Community a Voice

Rebecca Mennecke

A local storytelling project, “Who We Are,” seeks to share personal experiences with adversity and injustice. As a part of this project, Rachel Carter, intern minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and Lynn Buske, an organizer for Joining Our Neighbors Advancing Hope (JONAH), are seeking prose or poetry of 1,000 words or fewer regarding topics such as immigration, hunger, poverty, single parenting, affordable housing, racism, discrimination as a member of the LGBTQ community, or any other topic relating to injustice, said Carter, adult advisor of the project. These stories, which can be positive or negative, should be submitted, anonymously or with a name attached, by Oct. 1 to whowearechippewa@gmail.com. “Justice and diversity can be tough topics,” Carter said. “However, there are so many stories and voices in our community that need to be heard.” In 2013, Carter began compiling stories from military sexual trauma survivors around the country as a part of a project titled “Speaking Out: Why I Stand.” When she came to Eau Claire and learned about JONAH, she found an opportunity to collaborate to tell more stories. These stories will be used in reader theater and will be put to use through JONAH for education purposes, Carter said. If enough stories are submitted, they hope to create a book and hold a performance in the spring. “The goal of the project is to help lift those voices up and empower people as well as spread the word about,” Carter said. “All too often, people facing adversity feel their story doesn’t matter or they are silenced. We want to affirm those stories.” 

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