The Inclusive Dubuque Network recently collaborated with Clarke University social work student Suzie Stroud to bring a national storytelling initiative, the Facing Project, to Dubuque.
The Facing Project is a national nonprofit organization connecting communities through storytelling. After learning about the Marshallese population in Dubuque through one of her classes, Stroud thought the Facing Project could offer a safe and empowering avenue for Marshallese people to tell their stories and for others to learn about their culture.
“I’m excited to be a part of this project that is lifting up the stories of diverse residents in Dubuque,” said Stroud. “People can really learn and connect with others when they hear stories, and that is what I hope happens with this book. I hope people can connect with someone they may not have before.”
As local residents read these stories in the book Facing Diversity: Marshallese Stories, they will gain an understanding of the history and culture of Dubuque’s Marshallese residents and how these individuals have come to call Dubuque home. Storytelling provides a safe way to recognize that seemingly great differences aren’t as great as people may believe. This project challenges community members to understand that similarities often outweigh differences.
Stories from 12 Marshallese individuals appear in the book in both English and Marshallese. Each Marshallese storyteller was paired with a “story writer”—a community volunteer who would meet with the storyteller in order to write his or her story in the first person.
On Tuesday, May 23, from 6:30 — 7:30 p.m., there will be a book preview event at the Multicultural Family Center. Community members can join to hear story writers read a few of the stories from the book, and talk about their experience throughout this project. On Saturday, May 27, free copies of the book will be available at the Marshallese Constitution Day Celebration at Flora Park from 12 – 3 p.m.
Facing Diversity: Marshallese Stories was made possible by the Inclusive Dubuque Network, Clarke University social work student Suzie Stroud, the Telegraph Herald and the Multicultural Family Center.