Witness: Reclaiming Our Stories for Connection
Today’s current political, cultural and social environments are wrought with anxiety, fear, and polarization. As minority communities, we mostly live within a larger narrative created by others often with few places to explore, find and share our voice.
In this two-part workshop for anyone who is a member of a historically marginalized or oppressed community, we will use the Radical Engagement / Get Empathy storytelling process to dismantle the dominant narrative structures that limit the validation, telling and listening to these stories.
The goals of the Witness: Reclaiming Our Stories for Connection workshop are to:
- Provide space and a structured opportunity for individuals to create coherent narratives of their challenges.
- Dismantle the dominant narrative structures that separate ourselves from our own stories while increasing our capacity to include diverse perspectives and experiences within our communities.
- Build Bridges through the use of resonance practice to solicit support and understanding while building deep empathy.
- Empower the community to share the leadership by building solidarity and resilience.
After growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Kauser Razvi went to college in Boston and has been an urban dweller and city lover ever since. Love of cities and their complex problems and all their exciting possibilities led her to study sociology, journalism and urban planning. A career spent untangling complicated systems, processes and projects in the public and nonprofit sectors, has led her to be even more passionate about citizen engagement and collectively solving social issues. Some of her projects have included developing the first enterprise geographic information system (GIS) for the City of Chicago working with all 42 city departments to use mapping data for improving department processes and citizen access. She led a three-year effort to support the improvement of access to, quality of, and data on, Out of School Time programs to enhance the network around youth engagement in Chicago. Kauser has also worked with the Cleveland Municipal School District on various projects to improve operations and has supported the Cleveland Transformation Alliance in their strategy and outreach efforts. She worked at DigitalC, advancing ways non-profit organizations and communities can use data for wide public benefit. She is currently working with College Now of Greater Cleveland, focusing on program innovation and performance management, exploring how to better engage students in the pursuit of postsecondary credentials. A thread throughout all these consulting projects across the country is a focus on building collaboration and connection to bring about social changes in organizations and places. A driving factor in this work is her belief that civic democracy requires informed, effective and transparent government and nonprofit organizations working for social benefit. Kauser also started LiteraryLots.org to bring storybooks to life in vacant space. The idea stemmed from the concept of “walking into a book” and using the space and power of story to engage a community, inviting members together to read and create. Over the course of the last decade, she has taken courses at the Gestalt Institute to improve her leadership and community engagement skills; is trained in Appreciative Inquiry from Case Western; has taken numerous online courses and uses the concepts of Human Centered Design from IDEO and the Stanford Design school to support her work in community building. Over the last two years, since she has taken the Radical Engagement/Get Empathy workshops at the Gestalt Institute, she has lead work with high school students in the practice at Lincoln West High School, trained others at the Gestalt Institute through the Radical Engagement workshop (train the trainer model), and recently trained 10 people in the Gear Up Ohio education program to use the techniques for storytelling, team building and working with schools.
Details: Witness: Reclaiming Our Stories for Connection takes place Sundays, July 18 & 25 from 1-4pm remotely through Zoom.
Zoom Info: Register for the program and Lit Cleveland will send you an invitation and instructions on how to attend via Zoom.