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Proposals For Doing Nonprofit Storytelling More Ethically and Equitably

As a white Minnesotan and American, I feel I must acknowledge this blog is being published shortly after eight women, six of whom were Asian, were murdered in a mass shooting in Georgia (if you haven’t already read it, the YNPN-TC statement is available here). Rather than thinking of this as an isolated tragic incident, we must recognize what UMN Professor Erika Lee testified to Congress on Friday: “...unfortunately, [anti-Asian discrimination and racial violence] is very American.” 

White Americans have stood by and benefited as Anti-Asian and xenophobic rhetoric have been strategically weaponized throughout our nation’s history. To support and stand with Asian communities now, we must feel an individual and collective responsibility to vocally reject and condemn anti-Asian racism, to intervene in and report any instances of xenophobia and racism we witness, and join with others to change the white supremacist culture and institutions that allow this hatred and violence to continue. Only then could we hope to declare violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders “un-American”.

As I discussed in my earlier blog, I chose to do my final research for my strategic communication masters on the need for ethical/equitable storytelling practices for communicators due to questions that have come up during my career about the power and responsibility I hold as a nonprofit communicator. When I’ve talked to other communicators, I found others who (like me) have an uneasy feeling about the way our sector takes an individual’s words and story, repackages it, and then uses it as a story of our organization’s success. However, as I’ve had these conversations, I have found that many of these individuals are no more certain than me about what to do about this. How can we create the types of short and tight stories and messages we need in today’s fast-past social media world while also sharing everything an individual wants in a story? Additionally, even if we are convinced, how can we get buy-in from our supervisors and organizations?

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