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Sunday, December 13, 2009

NSM and the Philadelphia Storytelling Project

The current focus of NSM Philadelphia is a collaboration with the Philadelphia Storytelling Project and co-directors Manuel Portillo and Mark Lyons. Through these efforts, immigrant communities are recording first-person accounts of their experiences which will become a powerful voice in organizing and advocating for justice. 

Listen to stories by Sarbelia and Marta, two women in the Ecuadorian community in Upper Darby who have participated in the storytelling project.  The recordings are available in Spanish and in English.

Read an online account of the vision for this compelling work in this introduction by Manuel and Mark.

Here is an excerpt from that introduction on the Open Borders / Philadelphia Storytelling Project website...
 Participants record their stories, mix them with music, and share them on CDs, the radio, webcasts. The process of creating our stories and sharing them has been profound. Listening to each other’s stories and reflecting on our common experience is an act of honoring our lives and affirming our dreams and sacrifices. Through our stories we develop a collective identity as immigrants. Telling our story allows us to take risks, to talk about missing our families, our isolation, our frustrations as we try to feel at home in our new world. Our stories create openings for conversations with our friends and family, to say things unsaid. And now we are taking our stories to the world—to immigration authorities developing deportation guidelines, legislators who are deciding whether to provide healthcare for undocumented children, communities terrified by the specter of immigration raids. These stories must become part of The Great Immigration Debate.

We invite you to listen to some of these remarkable stories, filled with honesty and risk-taking and possibility and anger. Over the next few months we will share stories of sacrifice, separation and grief, of teens who talk about pregnancy and homelessness and finding a way to connect with their father at a baseball game, of farmworkers who harvest our food, of the terror of immigration raids and deportation, of high school graduates who came to the U.S. ten years ago and whose dreams of going to college are deferred because they have no documents, of learning English while hanging on to their culture, of frontier justice. And more. We will tell the story around the story—how sharing stories changes the way people see themselves, each other, the world. How stories demand an act of listening—the basis of all relationships. You will be able to listen to many of these stories on this website—three to six minutes in length, often produced by the storytellers themselves. All will be in English; some will be in Spanish, as well.


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Philadelphia NSM and related immigration events