Due to measures taken to prevent COVID19 from spreading, the conNECKtedTOO Story Circle event has been modified into a virtual gathering that emphasizes solidarity and community over panic and isolation.
Share stories, laugh, recite a poem or just let us know how you are doing at this Community Check-In via Zoom. Click here to join
or dial in dial in at +19292056099 (New York) / +13126266799 (Chicago)
conNECKtedTOO is hosting a modified Story Circle event via Zoom at 4 PM on March 26. The link to join this meeting is: https://zoom.us/j/682951493
This event and experience is open to the public. We would especially love to see other artists, advisers, historians, members of the North Charleston and Charleston City Councils and Cultural Affairs departments, TINY Business owners, teachers, youth, as well as any other collaborator or supporter of #TINYisPOWERFUL!
Yes, we are practicing social distancing, but should it really be called that? In truth, we are not distancing ourselves socially, but physically. We may not be able to be physically close, but as a community we can still be here for each other supporting one another however possible.
Although this event is no longer a Story Circle, stories are still encouraged! Below is a history of Story Circles, information about the USDAC and their People’s State of the Union and the Poor People’s Campaign, and links to extended reading on all of these subjects. After all, you do have more time to read!
What is a Story Circle? Story Circle is a small group of individuals sitting in a circle, sharing stories from their own experience focusing on a common theme. Although we understand the origin of talking circles to be from indigenous communities, we started to see them utilized again with John O’Neal, who was one of three founders of the Free Southern Theater. The Free Southern Theater brought theater performance and workshops to black audiences in the South, focusing primarily on areas and small towns that would not have access to the arts. According to this article by the New York Times, Mr. O’Neal explained in a 1964 interview, their goal wasn’t merely to expose black audiences to theater; it was also to get them thinking about their own stories.
During talkbacks, in which the actors and audience discuss the play after the performance, O’Neal noticed that people would talk over each other and that it was difficult to get a dialogue flowing. He began timing people so that everyone would have a chance to share and be heard. Story Circles are used in many groups today to give a voice for those who are not heard, including the United States Department of Arts and Culture and conNECKtedTOO.
The United States Department of Arts and Culture, a grassroots organizing group rather than a governmental division, incites arts and culture to shape a community of belonging. They have been utilizing story circles as a beacon for dialogue on morality and the People’s State of the Union, where community members come together to recognize the state of their community and how it is different from how the President may see it. South Carolina’s lower class faces many forms of suppression today, and there is power in being able to stand together.
The USDAC states that “art and culture can build empathy, create a sense of belonging, and activate the social imagination and civic agency needed to make real change. When we feel seen, when we know that our stories and imaginations matter, we are more likely to bring our full creative selves to the work of social change.” We hear the same meaning whenever we say TINY is POWERFUL. Although this country, the world, and the universe are so vast and I am one, small speck in all of this, I am powerful. I have a truth and a story, I have a say in what happens in my community, and I am change. We want everyone to hear it. We want everyone to be heard.
We hope to see you at the Check-In!
For more information email conNECKtedTOO@gmail.com
For more information on USDAC and the People’s State of the Union, as well as story circles, visit https://usdac.us/psotu