Building Empathy Through Our Stories
The Kaleidoscope Project was developed in 2020 in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis and includes virtual workshops that convene creative writers from historically marginalized groups to explore challenges in their communities and new ways forward through poetry, flash fiction, and/or prose.
Informed by principles of Human-Centered Design (an iterative process rooted in building solutions with and not for) TKP seeks to:
- emphasize the role that inter-community solidarity and cultural learning between BIPOC, LGBTQIA and other marginalized communities play in advancing social change
- evolve how discourse about local and national social challenges take place;
- foster the development of an ecosystem in which the literary arts are deemed essential resources for strengthening relations between vulnerable communities locally and around the country
Each Kaleidoscope Project cohort experience involves writers and/or artists from two distinct communities and focuses on empathy building and solidarity between them through the literary arts. In doing so, creative writing and the humanities become conduits for in-depth discussion, exploration, community innovation, empathy-building, and inter-community learning.
Participants are provided with an experience that fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges each community faces culminating in social justice/equity-informed work. In partnership with East Side Freedom Library, previous iterations of The Kaleidoscope Project (Minnesota cohort) have explored solidarity between the African American community, Indigenous and Asian American Pacific Islander communities around topics such as:
- the murder of George Floyd and renewed calls for social justice
- anti-Asian violence exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic
- cultural identity, intergenerational healing and explorations of cultural loss as it relates to Black and Indigenous communities
The final pieces from each cohort experience resulted in powerful literary works that serve as forms of qualitative humanities-centered data to be utilized by leaders, organizations, and others in new and impactful ways.
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