Narrative Change

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Narrative Change

Stories help us make meaning out of complexity. A collection of stories reinforcing a common value can create a narrative that informs our sense of reality. Over time, narratives become their own common sense — an accepted logic to understand what is possible and preferable.

In this way, narrative is a form of power. In order to win on our issues, we need to grow public acceptance of the narratives about what our communities need to thrive. What if Americans accepted as common sense that free child care is an essential public good, just like K-12 education? What if Americans accepted as common sense that immigrants have a right to belong?

“Narrative power is the ability to change the norms and rules our society lives by. Narrative infrastructure is the set of systems we maintain in order to do that reliably over time.”

Rashad Robinson, Color of Change

Community Change seeks to build support for our policy priorities and our communities by shifting deeply ingrained paradigms. We have begun to build the infrastructure for that work through our Communications Fellows program, a visionary approach to building power — the power of directly impacted people to be the ones to tell their truths and be heard.

Communications Fellows are writers, videographers, photographers, and other storytellers and artists who are directly affected by economic and social justice issues. We recruit, train, and financially support the fellows, and we work to place their stories in media outlets that influence the conversation nationally and in their communities. The fellows’ stories aim to shape the public narrative about what it means to struggle to get by at every level, and to provide context through their lived experiences about how policy impacts real people. Their stories also serve to lift up the work of Community Change’s grassroots partners.  

Community Change also partners with communications strategists and polling experts to conduct empirical research that informs the messages we use to move public opinion on our issues.

Key principles for progressive messaging:

  • Define the structure that blocks the common good
  • Give your audience hope and something to do to overcome
  • Get less modest!
  • Define the structure that blocks the common good
  • Give your audience hope and something to do to overcome
  • Get less modest

 

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