History happens on a daily basis and in extraordinary times we are acutely aware of our role in it. Our actions today author our future. Twenty years from now, what story will we tell about the pandemic and subsequent civil unrest? How do we, in our shared humanity, want to emerge this moment? What kind of world do we want to create?
The past few months have seen record-breaking numbers of people taking to the streets, calling for racial justice and equality. These global anti-racism protests in tandem with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have highlighted systems of oppression and inequality around the world. In the United States, the promise of “liberty and justice” was never true for all. And yet, the current moment presents us with an opportunity to tell a new story, to live up to the ideals we claim to hold dear.
Narrative 4’s core methodology, the story exchange, is designed to help students understand that their voices, stories, actions and lives matter, and that they have the power to change, rebuild and revolutionize systems. Through the exchange of personal narratives we see the world, and ourselves, more empathically, a belief supported by the work of neuroscientists and by the experiences of story exchange participants.
In a recent episode of the Ten Percent Happier podcast, Lama Rod Owens, author of Love and Rage, said, “If you can’t feel my pain, then you’re not going to help me disrupt the systems that perpetuate that pain.” Every failed system is comprised of people. When the people change the system follows.
While empathy is not a panacea, it is an entry point to a more equitable and just world. When we take the time to listen to one another’s stories, we open to knowing each other more deeply, we recognize that our neighbor’s well-being is inextricably intertwined with our own.
Sincerely, Felice Bell Narrative 4