The stories we’re told about how the rich got rich, why the poor stay poor, and why people can’t “move up” place the blame on individuals instead of systems. This creates a vast network of oppression, propping up business as usual, and allowing the rich to remain rich while others suffer.
How do we build a world of economic justice for all? Better storytelling is key. And it starts with the social change sector. Many nonprofits and foundations share stories that blame poor people, allowing unjust systems created by the rich to go unquestioned. Based on research with effective economic justice organizations, panelists offer actionable strategies for shifting the narrative on poverty and wealth to one that is intersectional, builds power, and holds systems accountable.
In short, this panel explores the question: How are nonprofits and philanthropy currently reinforcing damaging narratives about poverty and wealth—and how can they do better?
The participants in this webinar are all members of the BROKE Project, a collaborative effort of the Center for Public Interest Communications, the Radical Communicators Network (RadComms), and Milli to examine the stories people tell about poverty and wealth, and to work together to build new narratives rooted in the wisdom of lived experience, narrative power, organizing for economic justice, and social science.
In the webinar, key themes covered include:
- How to collaborate effectively across organizations and combine elements of design, the science of storytelling, and narrative power.
- Drawing on data from 27 organizations: how nonprofits are telling stories today, including how sometimes nonprofits and philanthropy inadvertently reproduce tropes that can set back economic justice work.
- Eight principles of how to tell stories about economic justice and systems change in ways that foster movement building, grounded in six case study examples.
- How to incorporate intentional design into economic justice narrative work.
Black Hive, “The Black Hive @M4BL Launch,” Movement for Black Lives, August 25, 2022.
Center for Public Interest Communications, Building the World We Wish Existed, Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 2022.
Center for Public Interest Communications and Rad Comms (with Design by Milli), Broke: How Nonprofits and Philanthropic Sectors are Talking about Poverty—and How We Can Do It Better. The Broke Project, 2022.
Shanelle Matthews, “Narratives and Counternarratives,” NPQ, July 29, 2021.
Matt Sheehan, Ann Searight Christiano, Annie Niemand, Ph.D., and Kelly Chermin, editors, “The Science of Storytelling: What Research and Scholarship Tell Us about Good Stories,” Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, College of Journalism and Communications, 2018.