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THE ROLE OF STORYTELLING
In August of 2014, at the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Conference, Dr. Melinda Garcia was asked to comment about the APA Code of Ethics in regards to culture perspective. Dr. Garcia is a member of the Society of Indian Psychologists and is a Clinical, Community, and Organizational psychologist of Indigenous, European and African descent. Here’s what she had to say about the role of storytelling for the Society of Indian Psychologists…
“We had to go beyond the linear, abstract, Cartesian logic of our European colonizers. In order to do that, we had to embrace who we are and communicate in the language of stories. Stories bring the abstract to life. Stories bring our struggles to life. Stories communicate across cultures.”
FoJ BELIEF STATEMENT
We believe in the power of storytelling. And, we believe in the power of the storyteller.
We also believe that being an educator is a social justice action and we all fall on a spectrum of social justice understanding, social justice work, and social justice education. Some of you might be first year teachers and have no solid training or education in social justice, and that is totally fine. Others may have made social justice your life’s work and education happens to be the outlet in which you participate.
Therefore, you are doing social justice work and you are on the frontlines. Interrogating our own cultural lens and individual cultural identity is fundamental to having humility in the process of understanding the same in others.
If you don’t go within, you go without. Time to dive in.
FoJ PURPOSE STATEMENT
The purpose of the following content is to challenge and extend your thinking around your own cultural identity as it relates to your interactions with others. To maybe rethink or think again about some of the stories that have shaped your lived experience and how you use those stories today.
CREATOR OF DIGITAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE
When I think about my cultural lens and my cultural identity, I think about the stories that have shaped my lived experience.
I was born in a little Quaker town, which is about 70 miles southeast of Cleveland. When I was three years old, my father joined the U.S. Military and became the first Quaker Chaplain in the Air Force. Our first assignment was to San Antonio, Texas and over the next 15 years of my life, our family moved every two to three years. From Turkey, to Montgomery, Alabama to Germany to Little Rock, Arkansas to Rwanda to Flagstaff, Arizona…my life has been shaped by my experiences, as all of ours have. My mother was a K12 teacher, and throughout our travels she taught in the many different schools I attended. I believe it made me understand the importance of having a good teacher and ultimately became the reason I chose to become an educator.
I began my educator journey in 2001 as a teacher and coach in Tampa, Florida and now I’m an adjunct instructor at Northern Arizona University, where I teach a course called Your Story. In 2017, I became a filmmaker and further realized the power and importance of listening to lived experiences during the making of our social justice documentary, BLACK BOYS. Throughout the making of the film, I was consistently challenged to interrogate my own whiteness and the most meaningful path to accomplish that was to think of stories of my past.
As one of the co-founders of Frontlines of Justice, I want us to be a catalyst for larger conversations and conversion to action. I believe it’s critical to honor the stories that shape our collective experiences while providing a platform for discourse. Throughout this digital learning experience, we hope you connect with your stories and the stories of others to provide a deeper understanding for the collective.