I AM MY LIFE: The MOVE Experience
What is the power of telling your story?
At I AM MY LIFE we believe the power of storytelling breaks down barriers that may exist between various community groups such as the haves and the have nots, gays and straights; men and women; whites and nonwhite, youth and adults; teachers and students, urban youth and suburban youth; the poor and the wealthy; transgender and accepted genders (or gender neutral); parents and children; Southside and Northside, and many other populations of “difference”.
MOVE creates a space for participants to learn how to listen to someone’s story and provides them with the tools needed to become inclusive listeners and, ultimately, effective collaborators. As an inclusive listener, you learn to be an ally for anyone who shares his or her story with you. This will encourage self-expression, which is integral to long-term success.
Sharing our own stories is equally important to how we build inclusive environments in our communities. MOVE equips participants with the tools to embrace and tell your story in a way that is empathetic, and relatable.
I AM MY LIFE believes that everyone must play a role in promoting acceptance and teaching inclusivity within our own local environments because we all have a story that can teach someone to think differently, be more accepting, and create more success in their personal and professional lives.
Workshop Outline: Exploring different mediums to tell your story.
- The Act of Sharing A Story: A member of I AM MY LIFE (typically inclusive speaker, Chaz Barracks) will share his or her story with the audience. This is a guided around five life events that serve as a framework for his or her story. These 5 life moments are translatable to any person’s individual narrative.
- The Act of Writing Your Story: Participants are given a series of prompts to begin to craft details about their own life events. Prompts range from reflecting on what events define the participants’ experiences to identifying what events or individuals have inspired them to make drastic changes in their lives.
- The Act of Moving Through Your Story: Facilitator will lead participants on a journey of associating a movement in a self chosen space in the room that reflects each of the 5 life events.
- The Act of Collaborative Art: The goal of this final phase is to collectively create a work of art that bridges gaps among various communities, breaks down barriers, and springboards new collaborative possibilities within the group.
For instance, during an I AM MY LIFE MOVE workshop, after participating in steps 1-3, students created an anthology of their stories that the Main-Richmond Public Library has cataloged along with a mural that represents a combined vision of the “book cover” of every participant’s story.
I AM MY LIFE aims to partner with organizations to create inclusive communications. The possibilities of collaborative art through MOVE are endless.