About a dozen Thread members gathered together on October 17 for the October Member Meeting. The meeting focused on storytelling, particularly through the lens of public narrative. According to the work of renowned community organizer-turned-academic Marshall Ganz, public narrative is comprised of three parts: Story of Self, Story of Us, and Story of Now. According to Ganz, being able to tell an authentic public narrative is an important part of organizing and leadership, inviting others to be in relationship with you, to join your community, and to take action.
After getting a brief introduction to the concept, meeting attendees broke into groups to practice identifying and sharing elements of their own stories:
- Challenge: What challenges and major tipping points have shaped, changed, or clarified your personal values? Which of these personal values show up in the work you do as a Community Partnership leader?
- Action: How did you process these challenges or major tipping points? What choices did you make as a result? What actions did you take?
- Now: What is your personal mission? What is your current role? Why do you feel called to serve in your current role?
A debrief discussion revealed several themes. Although many meeting attendees felt challenged in identifying the specific moments and turning points along their path that led them to the work they do today, they each felt that their work is deeply personal. Many named the values of justice and community as guideposts in their work and it likely comes as no surprise that meeting attendees thus feel compelled to act and lead in ways that make the St. Louis region more just.
A copy of the facilitation materials used for the Member Meeting is available to Thread members on the Resources page. Thread encourages its members to incorporate these concepts into their own work as a means to build and strengthen relationships among their stakeholders and to begin to build public narrative muscle. Thread looks forward to building off this meeting and the Story of Self into future member meetings and activities.