To encourage racial equity and understanding, a group of powerful community voices gathered in November 2020 to share their lived experiences in Bellingham, WA through personal storytelling and video. This project came to life in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic – at the same time that a call to action against anti-Blackness grew profoundly clear. It was funded by Friends of Bellingham Public Library and facilitated by Monica Koller of Connecting Community.
May these stories inspire you. There is healing that happens in telling stories and healing that comes from listening.
A note from Monica Koller, Connecting Community Consultant
As I stood with my children at the George Floyd memorial that rested on the steps of the Bellingham Public Library, I was compelled to ask: What voices in our community have been missing? This question inspired me to connect with local Black community members to create a space for interconnection and healing to take place through shared storytelling. The library was the perfect organization to partner with, as it is one of the most accessible community gathering places.
The brave participants in this collaborative project had full authorship of their stories as well as the naming of this project. A sacred trust was developed in these workshops. We laughed. We cried. We connected. One storyteller shared: “I have a new-found freedom in telling my story”. These are the resilient voices of our neighbors, friends, and folks that we shop next to at the grocery store.
By deeply listening to these stories, I hope that community members can reflect on the things that connect us, understand the lived experiences that make people uniquely different, continue to challenge stereotypes, and acknowledge our bias. In short, I hope that listening to the perspectives of Black community narratives will create deeper connections in our community.
I’m so grateful to the amazing storytellers who had the courage to share their stories and to the library for supporting this project. And thank you, listeners! My hope is that the Unrooted Experience is the first of many community projects that also tell the stories of Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other people of color in the area. We look forward to collaborating with local partners to carry this work forward!