From Aug. 1-3, join a worldwide movement to promote understanding and compassion among different racial and ethnic groups through JustStories, the world’s first-ever racial harmony online storytelling festival. During the three-day festival, participants can log onto the JustStories Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/JustStories) to watch videos from a different professional storyteller every hour on the hour, from 8 a.m. to midnight (CDT) each day. 75 stories in all! The videos will feature multicultural storytellers sharing stories of their unique ethnic backgrounds, challenges and triumphs. There are 43 tellers in all and 9 of them are some of Chicago area’s finest storytellers: Judith Heineman and Shanta of Chicago, Susan O’Halloran, Jane Stenson and Syd Lieberman of Evanston, Anne Shimojima of Morton Grove, Jim May of Sugar Grove, Arif Choudhury of Northbrook and Linda Gorham of Aurora.
Throughout the festival, storytellers will be online to answer questions and respond to comments and anecdotes. This means you can watch the videos, then comment on them and tell your story, too. Even better, you can simultaneously read other people’s comments — from Australia to India to Africa to Ireland to the United States. It’s a whole new interactive story event and you can be part of it!
Susan O’Halloran, a storyteller devoted to promoting racial diversity and inclusion and a co-producer of the festival, says sharing stories is a great way to get people to discuss racial issues, which can often be hard to talk about. “Stories can be entertaining, engaging and emotionally touching,” O’Halloran says. “When you hear other people’s stories you realize how unique each person and group is, as well as all we have in common. When we’re able to walk in each other’s shoes, even for a few minutes, a stranger becomes a friend.”
For the last nine years, the JustStories Storytelling Festival has held a live storytelling event in the Chicago area. This year, organizers moved the event to the web in hopes of reaching an even larger audience with stories that can heal our racial and ethnic divides. On the internet there are no geographic boundaries or time limitations. This storytelling festival about inclusivity can now include everyone!
Visit the JustStories Facebook page now (www.Facebook.com/JustStories) for behind-the-scenes glimpses of the festival and after July 18th to get a complete list of all of the storytellers participating in this year’s festival. And then come back from Aug. 1-3 to enjoy these unique stories and to help build bridges across cultures and promote racial harmony around the world.