Thank you to Lower Valley Presbyterian Church for hosting our December meeting today, and to the 25 members who were able to attend despite the holiday chaos! There are a lot of events—both political and non-political—around the area this month. These include upcoming holiday parties for HCDC as well as municipal Democratic committees, and informal Tom Malinowski town halls. In January, there will be a January 12 conference (called Vision 2020) with grassroots and Democratic groups in the district, to brainstorm actions moving forward. And of course the third annual Women’s March will be January 19.
We had great conversations today about how to tell our stories about why Truth and Equality are important to us. We began by listening to friend-of-IGSV Gina Sampaio’s story from The Moth (https://themoth.org/storytellers/gina-sampaio) about how she became a mother of a blended family, with lessons about racial equity and the power of inclusion. We then broke into small groups to write and share our own stories. Kai shared his (see the photo) and Carol talked about how she disarmed people into discussing Tom Malinowski’s candidacy.
Observations about the experience included that 1) the stories sometimes only obliquely address Truth and Equality, which may be a more powerful way to reach people who might otherwise tune out; 2) that it can be empowering to tell our stories (and all of us have stories to tell, despite some initial doubts!); and 3) sometimes the best thing that we can do to create community is to listen. We also briefly discussed becoming more cognizant of which stories we hear and which stories may be intentionally or unintentionally left out of the conversation.
For those interested in thinking about your own stories, here are storytelling guidelines from The Moth: https://themoth.org/share-your-story/storytelling-tips-tricks. I hope that we can start a new tradition of beginning each meeting with one story from a member so that we can get to know each other better.
Finally, for those who are heading into the holidays with some trepidation about your family’s political views, here is an interactive feature from the NY Times about navigating these conversations: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/18/opinion/thanksgiving-family-argue-chat-bot.html. Good luck!!