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Mar 3, 2020

Choose-Your-Own-Pathway!

Hi there!

100 STUDENTS: In a public school in Chicago, right now, Unsilence is leading a 6-week social justice residency. Around 100 students are working in small teams to explore human rights and social injustice.

INTERACTIVE STORIES: The students started the residency by exploring an Unsilence choose-your-own-pathway story. And now they are creating interactive stories of their own.

MENTAL HEALTH: Mental health has become a common theme across the students' stories. As they write their stories, the students are learning about trauma, depression, and illness as they connect to different forms of violence and oppression, including sexism, racism, immigration rights, LGBTQ experiences, and environmental injustice.

We are so grateful for your support. Our work at Unsilence is only possible because you believe in what we do.

TOMORROW: If you haven't explored it yet, check out our Unsilence feature "TOMORROW" -- an original interactive story, based on real events, that helps young people, educators, and parents talk about mental health and suicide. The "choose-your-own-pathway" structure draws learners in and each decision point highlights the complexities of mental health in school settings.

TODAY: Thank you again for your support. If you are able, please consider making a contribution today to support our work. We can't unsilence without you!

All my best,

Danny

Jan 2, 2020

UPDATE: Portraits, Side-by-Side

 
I'm excited to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes work on our Unsilence collaboration with The Sisterhood, a collective of Chicagoland mothers, all women of color, whose children have been killed by senseless gun violence.
 
Over the last few months, renowned Chicago-based artist Cecil McDonald Jr. has been conducting photo-sessions with the mothers. Working closely with founder of The Sisterhood, Gwendolyn Baxter, an exciting and important framework has emerged:
 
At the heart of our Unsilence online exhibition will be two sets of photographic portraits. The first set of portraits will depict each mother in her everyday clothes and in an everyday setting of her choice. The second set of portraits will be a series of studio shots, in no specific location, the mothers wearing their group shirts.
 
By presenting these two sets of portraits side-by-side, our online exhibition will connect and contrast the individual narratives of each mother with the collective story of The Sisterhood as a group of activists who support one another.
 
This framework – each mother’s individual narrative entwined within the story of The Sisterhood – will drive the learning experience we are designing, and will help us achieve our goals: (1) To unsilence the personal and collective grief, trauma, activism, and healing of mothers of color. (2) To humanize their murdered children who are so often portrayed in a negative light in the media. (3) To help communities across Chicago talk about systemic violence. (4) To connect Chicagoland communities, because we’re in this crisis together and we can only solve it together.
 
We are so grateful for your support of our work. Please consider adding to your support by following this linkWe cannot unsilence without you. 
 
All my best,
Danny M. Cohen
Founder & Interim Executive Director of Unsilence
www.unsilence.org
 
Dec 4, 2019

How does Unsilence's 'TOMORROW' help communities heal?

THANK YOU! Because of your generous support of our work on mental health education and other hidden injustices, Unsilence's choose-your-own-pathway learning tool TOMORROW is now one of our most popular online features.

Why did Unsilence create TOMORROW? Schools struggle to talk about suicide and mental health. Some schools even have policies that prohibit teachers from talking about suicide with students. But there are healthy ways for schools to tackle this topic. TOMORROW helps teachers, school administrators, parents, and young people learn how to support community conversations about sucide and mental health in appropriate and effective ways.

What is the story at the heart of TOMORROW? TOMORROW presents three distinct perspectives in one story. Liza is a teacher unsure how to respond to sudden news of a student death. Sanjay is a student struggling to talk with his friends and family about his own mental health. April is the new school principle, seeking advice from experts on how to navigate the day's awful events.

Why is TOMORROW interactive? Throughout the story, the reader must make decisions on behalf of each character, and the reader can see how different choices may play out. The story cultiminates with embedded best-practice guidelines - suggested by experts - for schools on how to navigate student suicide and support community healing.

Is TOMORROW based on real events? Yes. TOMORROW is accompanied by the teacher testimony INTO MY ARMS on which the interactive story is based, as well as BRIAN, which is a parent's beautiful and honest reflection about her son and his suicide, loss and blame, and healing through education. In her words: "Together, we can lower the rates of suicide among children and young adults. The place to start is to unsilence the mental suffering that so many of our young people experience."

CONTINUE TO SUPPORT OUR ESSENTIAL WORK: Without you, we would not be able to create and deliver innovative programs - driven by storytelling, the arts, and serious games - that unsilence injustice. If you'd like to continue supporting our TOMORROW initiative, you can donate right here.

With sincere gratitude.

 
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