This article was originally posted by RESULTS on June 09, 2015. Re-posted with permission.
>>Authored by Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Organizer, RESULTS
Last week, the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) and TalkPoverty.org presented a fantastic webinar on the importance of telling your story. As advocates, we may understand the value of statistics, lobby meeting “leave behinds”, and fact sheets, but we sometimes forget the need for powerful stories.
As RESULTS gears up for our annual International Conference, we are looking for ways to elevate the voices of the real experts in poverty, and support them to tell their story – a key element in creating change.
The Community Voices: Why Nutrition Assistance Matters webinar is a resource for those new to, or nervous about, sharing their experiences. It’s also a great reminder that legislators and those in power learn from stories, both good and bad. In a climate where misinformation is rampant, it is critical we not only bring facts to the table, but also humanize our issues, putting a face (or rather, many diverse faces) to the problems and the solutions, as many of the programs we fight for (e.g. the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and SNAP) are successful programs that lift millions out of poverty.
As Greg Kaufman, editor of TalkPoverty.org said during the webinar, “In DC, we have plenty of numbers, plenty of data. What’s lacking is experts with a seat at the table; stories of real people.”
Tammy Santiago, from Witnesses to Hunger, shared her story and how she found the confidence to tell it. She drew from her own personal experience growing up in Boston. She saw so many around her with the same struggles who didn’t have the strength or ability to speak up, so she felt obligated to do it for them. “I hope that others listening to what I share will feel empowered and obligated to share their voices too-it’s needed,” Tammy said. “I’m not just a number, I’m an individual.”
To learn more about this new project from CHN and other coalition allies, download the presentation slides or listen to the recording of the webinar. RESULTS is also working to lift the voices of these “experts” who have witnessed the impacts of poverty first-hand. Some of them will share their stories at the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21 in Washington, DC. We hope to have more exciting news about our work with our “Experts on Poverty” in the coming weeks.