Story telling hopes to bridge communities

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Center for Justice wants to improve the dialogue in the community, and its using an old civil rights method to do so.

Tuesday afternoon, dozens of local leaders participated in a story circle training in hopes of opening the lines of communication in South Mississippi communities.

"It's a really unique tool to use to understand what everybody's motivations are," said Annette Hollowell.

Hollowell is with the Mississippi Center for Justice. She is was also instrumental in coordinating the story circle training.

"The story circle process was actually something that came out of the civil rights movement," said Hollowell. "It's a truly democratic way to make sure that everybody in the group voices are heard."

Hollowell says the civil rights methodology is a great way to establish trust and clarity for people planning a common effort.

"I think that it is going to be a great technique for the communities," said Cynthia Singletary.

Singletary is one of the people who participated in the story circle training.

She says the informal method not only brings new ideas but it also helps form new relationships.

"If we do the story circle, everyone can bond in different ways than expected and we can have a healthier community and for that we can have a more beautiful community and a more beautiful coast," said Singletary.

"Learning people's stories helps people shift the paradigm from there's a problem that to be addressed to these are people that are valuable and can make a contribution to what's going on here on the coast," said Hollowell.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.