Reflections

Like many people, we have watched, horrified (but not surprised), as events over the past few months have unfolded.

Whether we're talking about the events in Charlottesville that took place four weeks ago, or the 8-year old boy who was hung from a tree by some teens in New Hampshire just a couple of days ago, people, who are energized by hateful rhetoric, have been given permission to act on their most hateful ideology. And, to be frank, if you are surprised that these events are happening, then you have not been paying attention.  

Earlier this year, on January 20, 2017, 2nd Story issued a Statement of Solidarity. Everything we said then remains true today. We remain committed to the Craft of storytelling, as we believe that sharing and deeply listening to each other's personal stories opens the possibility of moving forward far beyond any exchange of ideas or opinions ever could.  

We remain committed to Inclusion, but find ourselves wondering: how tolerant are we meant to be of intolerance? My answer: We're Not. Claiming Inclusion as a value creates a bit of a paradox in that way, and as writer Robert Jones, Jr. said, "We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist."

We remain committed to employing our Courage, as stories do have the ability to create change, but only if we have the courage to tell them, and the courage to allow the telling and the hearing to change us. This is what is required of us, right now, in this moment, if we truly want to move the needle towards justice. 

The work of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has no end point.  There is no box you can check off on a list: Check, now we're Diverse!  Check, now we're Inclusive!  Check, now it's all Equitable. It is a lifetimes-long journey, and success is rooted not in words, but in action. 


Announcing our 2017/18 Season 

Hello Story Lovers!

Nine months ago, we were in the initial stages of planning our 2017/18 season when the election happened. Since then, we have been in constant conversation about how to NOT continue our work as "business as usual." 

In early December, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published an article in The New Yorker called Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About. In it, she admonishes us that Now Is the Time to do a lot of things: to step up where we see hatred and bigotry, to name things for what they are, to look our history in the face. The list goes on.

We have held this in our hearts as we have built this new season. This September, we are proud to announce our biggest season ever: more stories from more tellers in more places. We're launching a new stream of programming, After Dark, bringing back an old favorite, Stories & Chefs, and we are hosting our first ever Story Soirée! We are also continuing our monthly programming stream Stories at the Pub in Rogers Park and will be producing 2nd Story on the Stage in venues across Chicago.

And that's just the performances! We will also be reviving our podcast and our education programming, increasing our commitment to removing financial barriers to participation in our programs, and much much more. 

We hope you'll join us.

Warmly,

Amanda Delheimer                  
Artistic Director

Statement of Solidarity

To our network of supporters:

Today is a monumental moment of history, a day that will undoubtedly bring about immense change i our world. 2nd Story as bee in heated dialogue about what this means for our small (and mighty) organization. What we have arrived at is: we can no longer operate as if ‘business as usual’ is anywhere close to dequate. 2nd Story has always created a space where people can share and deeply listen to each other’s stories. This is why we exist.

e strive to be a community that is warm and welcoming and inclusive, that supports individuals to tell their own stories from their own point of view, so that we can all live richer and more empathetic lives.  We know that for many people, the election in November and the Inauguration today open the door to a world even more fraught an uncertain than before, and at 2nd Story we believe we have a firm obligation to double down on our commitment to use the art of storytelling to create opportunities for hearts and minds to chang.

We believe that we are not alone in our desire to connect more fully with the humans around us, and if sharing stories with each other can do anything, surely it can help us connect to people that feel foreign to us, to help us understand that we are all in this together, that our oppression is intertwined---our strength is in our solidarity.

n the coming month and years, we invite you to join us in our efforts to amplify the work that we are doing to counteract the overt racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia that have been the calling cards of the incoming administration.  Here are some of the things that we plan to do, shared through the lens of our Core Values: Craft, Courage, and Inclusion. 

Craft.
We are committed to the craft of storytelling. In upcoming months, we will be creating space where we can actively apply this craft to leverage our individual stories towards inquiry and action. We are committed to crafting stories that challenge our own preconceptions, because we are all in this together and the only way out (that we can see) is via acts of radical empathy. 

Courage. 
We are committed to employing our courage. takes courage o share our persona stories with each othe  It also take courage to deeply listen to a story that offers a critique of ourselves and really allow that story to do its work on our hearts and souls.  Stories can create change, but only if we have the courage to allow that change to happen. Good people can no longer be silent; change will only happen if we use our courage to stand up, speak up, show up.  

Inclusion.
We are committed to creating an environment that is inclusive for all. We have already taken steps (oving into a space that is ADA accessible, proudly displaying a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign in our window, and much more), but we ecogniz that ‘inclusion’ is not merely a buzz word. We must craft a space, both physical and metaphorical, where everyone can be included.  This is the mission of 2nd Story; this is what we need to do in the United States of America.

Of course, there is so much to be done. The work does not stop, and neither will we. We invite you, our community, to inform us, shape us, and teach us. e will be rolling out new programming in the next few months, and invite you to help us make this happen. What is the change that you want to see? ow will you participate?  ur doors our open and we are ready to listen.