The world can be a horrible place when ignorance and arrogance are allowed to reign unchecked. It seems as though we’re living in times where ignorance leads to hate and arrogance leads to policies that reinforce that hate. Whenever that’s the case, we must focus more on finding ways to love one another. Sometimes, that means physically getting together with family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. When that isn’t possible, a story… a powerful story can lead us to love each other. Have you ever heard someone tells his/ her story, and afterward, your world was completely changed? I know I have. That is the power of a compelling story. As we know, stories are how humans make sense of the world. It’s how we’ve survived for thousands of years.

From finding hoof prints of an animal next to water and figuring out which way the herd went to the latest thriller novel, humans will make up stories to make sense of the information they receive.Telling a story isn’t easy. It usually requires some personal content or personally-held belief to be explained so that others can understand. This requires a higher level of knowing that allows one to convey information in a way that it conveys the story they intended to be told. Telling a personal story is even harder. From my experience as an activist in the Ferguson uprising, I’ve seen the transformative power of a personal story. For the teller, it releases them from the clutches of their experience and allows them to breathe easier once the group welcomes them and their story, and comforts them afterward. For the listeners, it can bring a completely new realization of the reality for someone they’ve never met before. That realization can lead to action, support or even a complete paradigm shift. In my humble opinion, the entire world needs a paradigm shift right now.

We’re killing each other, the planet and the other animals and plants that reside here. If we don’t stop soon, the Earth will reset and we humans may or may not be here once that cycle ends. The problem is that if we can’t get past the things that divide us, we’ll never be able to solve the world’s greatest problems— global warming, lack of clean water, and lack of shelter. The stories that tell the truth about what is going on in regard to how people treat each other, how the Earth is reacting to human activity or how our systems are failing us are needed now more than ever! Stories like Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver or the Autobiography of Malcolm X have been making an impact on people since they were written. Books on sustainability have given voice to those who would approach the problems facing our planet and have informed those who didn’t know just how bad things are.