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Marginalized Stories Matter

People in power know the power of a good story.

They know that a good story, one that is convincing and stirs the emotions (especially fear) can move people to think the thoughts and take the actions they want them to. This makes a good story one of the most effective tools available for oppressing a society.

Privileging its own story over the stories of people who threaten its power is one of the most important tasks of empire; and the empire pays a lot of people a lot of money so that their story is the one people hear. Through multiple channels, the paid storytellers assure that the official version of events is repeated so many times - in so many ways - that the people hearing it do not even think to question its truth.

Though Noam Chomsky introduced this idea in his book Manufacturing Consent it was long self-evident to anyone who had lived -- or is living -- an experience contradicting the dominant narrative*. You know what I'm talking about.

Be wary of what you see and hear.

There is a lot at stake in the conflict barraging our awareness right now. At any given moment, many stories are at play, each one trying to influence opinions and outcomes one way rather than another.

There are stories about history, religion, and geography intertwined with stories about good and evil, power and powerlessness, and what you, the bystander, should think and do about all of it. There's even the story that says you should be following all the news and staying up to date and (spoiler alert) that story isn't meant to keep you educated or empowered.

Stories from the powerful can harm, stories from the margins can heal.

Just as their are many ways in which stories harm and divide, there are as many ways in which stories heal and make whole. Especially when those stories come from people who have long been marginalized from the dominant narratives and whose voices have been silenced.

If you are reading these words, you are driven to share a story which will heal. It may be a memoir, a piece of nonfiction, or a poem but because it comes out of your commitment to telling the truth it threatens the status quo. This is not because you are hungry for power, but because you are hungry for a world which honors the whole rather than privileges the few.

Marginalized stories matter. Your stories matter.

I know they do because I listen to them. I know that only you know the truths you know -- about your vocation, business, art, or community -- and that is why I am so dedicated to supporting you to share them. I've heard enough from the voices of power; other people have too. It's now the voices from the margins that need to be heard.

So even though much global shit is hitting the fan right now and you may feel like the articulation of your truth is taking a backseat, don't give up -- take a break, but don't give up.

In your story is the seed for a peace we've never known and it's important that you protect, tend, and grow it. And I'm here to help.

*Of course, the far right uses this same argument in its own insatiable quest for power, but that's a conversation for another day.

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