What problem does it solve? Problem: Widespread social isolation and divisiveness leading to hatred and fear of our fellow Americans. Our country, state, and sometimes even our smallest communities (even families) are increasingly polarized along political, racial, gender, cultural, and ideological lines. It seems impossible sometimes to meaningfully connect across these great divides and move out of this permanent rhetorical and legislative gridlock and move forward into the better world we all know is possible. What is your solution and who does it apply to? Solution: Create opportunities for meaningful, human connection. Give ourselves (every resident of New Jersey) a platform to share our stories. Idea: Develop a state repository/website/archive where we strive to collect and publish everyday stories of life in New Jersey from all of our 565 municipalities. Jumping off points: • Maybe include a state map/challenge similar to this one in Kentucky: http://artscouncil.ky.gov/KAC/Vibrant/WhereFromMap.htm to show county and municipal participation. • Include a list of prompts for stories like the “great questions” provided by StoryCorps: https://storycorps.org/participate/great-questions/ What is the anticipated impact? Search the words “storytelling” and “evidence” on Google or Amazon and you will find scores of articles and books and Ted Talks describing the IMPACT OF STORYTELLING on everything from neurobiology to business and marketing success. Storytelling is recognized as a powerful and uniquely human way to share experiences and strengthen connections between people. If New Jersey residents from all backgrounds and beliefs shared their everyday stories, it could help us remember what it means to be human, and remind us that even though we are one of the most populous and diverse states in the union, we probably have more in common with each other than not. If we can cross and heal our divides we will have a much better chance at fostering other collaborations "across the aisle” and focusing on solutions to our most universal, common problems, fears, and dreams. Let's stop the senseless lose/lose “us against them” battle. Let’s do it in New Jersey and show the whole country a better way!
I think this has a lot of potential to lift up New Jersey residents while giving them a platform to share their unique experiences living and thriving in the Garden State. For far too long, NJ-bashing has been en vogue in popular culture ... let's give New Jersey something to be proud of, and foster a greater connection between residents with each other and their home state!
Outstanding thought process. Absolutely true & necessary.
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