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  • Helms Jarrell

Back Yard Salons

Updated: Jun 21

A Salon is a gathering of people held for the purpose of education and sharing beauty or art. This summer, QC Family Tree has asked folks to bring QCFT to their back yards and porches so that we might facilitate conversations around race, anti-racism, and taking action on these issues. During our gatherings, we have used the Storytelling Project Model as a framework for our discussions. I wanted to share some of the insights we are gleaning from this model and from the salons we have hosted thus far.


"While talk in and of itself can't dismantle racism, a critical analysis of how we talk about racism as a society and as members of differently positioned racial groups, provides a way for us to see ourselves and others more clearly, understand the racial system we have inherited, recognized the different roles played by Blacks, whites, and other racial groups in this history, and come to grips with the urgent work still to be done to dismantle racism and live up to the promises of equality and democracy in our national rhetoric and governing documents." Storytelling for Social Justice: Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching by Lee Anne Bell +


Folks have come to us after our salon gatherings and have said that they were nervous coming in but were put at ease as the event unfolded. We think part of that is due to the use of storytelling. "The focus on the words of and stories of others prompted some of the lease defensive, most honest and genuine conversations about racism..." pg 7 +


What we are trying to do is to cultivate a counter-story telling community. Salons are a first step along the way. By hosting discussions that tell not just the dominant narrative (the stock story), but also tell the hidden stories of harm, as well as the stories of resistance and rebellion, and additionally the stories of transformation and emergence, we are beginning to reshape each other into a more honest and truth telling community.


So far, we have found the Storytelling Project Model to be a useful framework for motivating folks and generating truthful conversations. Ideally, we hope to build from these conversations and to utilize the salon experiences to deepen relationship and make social impact. We're currently working on the next steps after salons. Some ideas we have are: imagination labs (what's possible for us, now that we know the whole story), invitations to Change Maker's Rehearsal Dinners, deeper dive into What Does It Mean To Be White...the possibilities are before us.


click on this link for a clickable pdf of the picture below...that way you can actually click on the links.




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