Intersections storytelling event at Portland State University

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Storytelling again. I’ll never run out of space or interest in sharing about storytelling. This event is extra exciting because of its theme. It’s called “Intersections: An evening of storytelling about identity, culture, community, and pride.” Can’t top that.

Intersections was designed, in part, to announce Portland State University’s development of a new Disability Studies Graduate Certificate program. They have great programs in Special Education, Speech Therapy, and Social Work, to name a few. What Disability Studies brings is disability as a culture, the history of disability as it relates to economics, laws, policies, and ingrained discrimination, and a critical way to look at rights and justice in solidarity with other marginalized communities.

But this event is not a lecture theory and politics. It’s an evening of personal narrative, storytelling from the heart and soul. The storytellers are PSU students, staff, and faculty. They all come from one or more under-represented and marginalized communities, for example, around ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, and language. This is why they were chosen to present; they have stories that mainstream media won’t offer us. Why they won’t offer, I can’t say I understand. And I certainly don’t like that most mainstream media shows us white, straight, non-disabled, rather youthful bodies and minds. When we do see people who differ from the dominant culture, they tend to be in stories wrapped around charity, pity, inspiration, or victimization. In general, they are still told by people from the dominant groups. As if other folks can’t tell their own stories themselves. Tsk tsk.

Here’s some writing by Tessara Dudley, one of the Intersections storytellers. You can read about Tessara’s experiences around feeling safer when they travel than at home in mostly-white Portland, on the Black Girl Dangerous blog. Their story this Thursday is on different topics and is just as powerful and engaging.

All of the stories were fine tuned in workshops with two writing coaches, one of whom, Kiel Moses, has studied Disability Studies! Kiel runs Expressive Awakenings, a company providing unique, personalized arts programming for seniors and people with disabilities. Part of their vision is to allow “people who have found themselves in a place of invisibility ​to unlock their personal wisdom and creative voice to live a more fulfilled life.”

I hope you’ll come to the event whether you’re part of the PSU community or not. All of the storytellers are dynamic and exceptional.

A series of colored cables come from the cardinal directions, loop together, and feed into a microphone. Text says "Intersections:  An evening of storytelling about identity, culture, community, and pride.

[Image description: Intersections logo is a series of colored cables coming from the cardinal directions, looping together, and feeding into a microphone. Text says “Intersections:  An evening of storytelling about identity, culture, community, and pride.]

Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:30 — 8:00 pm
Location: Smith Memorial Student Union Multicultural Center, Room 228
1825 SW Broadway Ave.

Venue is wheelchair accessible. Accessible bathrooms and one gender neutral bathroom are available. Event is ASL interpreted.  Sign language interpretation logo wheelchair accessible logo

Storytellers:  Jewls Harris, Tessara Dudley, Candace Avalos, Lisa Knapton, Areli Lopez

Facilitators: Ryan Stroud and Kiel Moses

MC: Me, Cheryl Green

Created by: Jen Duggar and Kiel Moses through the Disability Resource Center in partnership with: Resource Center for Students with Children (RCSC), Queer Resource Center (QRC), Women’s Resource Center (WRC), Veterans Resource Center (VRC), Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (DMSS), and International Student And Scholars Services