On Saturday, August 27th, more than 40 members of the EXPO community from across the state came together for the Statewide Meeting. The meeting provides an opportunity for our members to be amongst others who share our lived experiences of incarceration. We provide a system of support for one another because only we can truly understand the traumas and challenges we face and the strengths and wisdom with which we face them. We are an organization and a community.
In addition to our own members, representatives from the State Public Defenders Office and from Wisconsin Recovery Addiction Project joined the group to share information about their work. EXPO Fellow Dennis Franklin shared that:
“It was amazing to see how different organizations came to the meeting and highlighted the fact that all of our organizations are working toward the same goals.”
EXPO is proud to be one of many organizations working toward individual and community healing in the area of mass incarceration.
One approach EXPO uses to support healing as well as to advocate for change is storytelling. At the meeting, members participated in a storytelling training led by EXPO Operations Manager Brittany Lee. Brittany is herself an accomplished storyteller and she used her wisdom to teach strategic storytelling to our members. Unlike storytelling more generally, strategic storytelling encourages people to share their lived experiences with a purpose. As Brittney says:
“Strategic storytelling is about tailoring your story toward a particular audience and a particular goal. And then having a specific ask of your audience.”
EXPO uses stories as a way to bring our people together and to bring those unfamiliar with the harms of incarceration alongside of us in the fight for justice. Including the storytelling training at the Statewide meeting allowed our members to see how they can use their lived experiences to make changes in their local communities. Are you ready to lift your story and be heard?
If you are an individual directly impacted by incarceration, we would love for you to join us in our work to eliminate mass incarceration and restore our rights to full participation in our communities. It is those of us closest to the problem who will recognize the areas most in need of change and generate the most appropriate solutions! Look at the “Get Involved” and “Join EXPO” tabs on the webpage or read about the chapters located across the state here (https://expowisconsin.org/get-involved/chapters/). Look here (https://expowisconsin.org/upcoming-events/) for “Get Out the Vote to Unlock the Vote” events happening near you. And finally, we look forward to seeing you and hearing YOUR voice at the next EXPO Statewide meeting!