Roughly 30 stories were nominated by changemakers for the Re3 StoryHack. Each changemaker put in considerable effort to complete our Story Brief and many committed additional time to working through the details of their story with us on the phone. The story nominators were also present during the Re3 StoryHack weekend to support the teams working on their stories with expert knowledge. The Re3 crew would like to send a huge thank you to everyone for believing in this process!
Immigration detention is unjust, dehumanizing and wholly unnecessary. Immigrants are picked up arbitrarily and held without access to a lawyer. For-profit prisons lobby to worsen the situation; they make money every night a cell is full. We need help telling Americans that immigration detention is ripping families apart while generating financial gain for the prison industrial complex.
Private prison corporations have sold the American public a lie, and we have bought it without question. This lie is that detention - the incarceration of 34,000 non-citizens every day - is necessary to protect the American public and the integrity of our borders. However, private prisons have failed to tell us that alternatives to detention overseen by communities are 79% less expensive and 95% as effective. Read this Bloomberg article for more context.
These private prisons lobby our government to secure Congressionally mandated quotas to ensure their beds are always filled. They then pass the unnecessary human and financial costs of the immigration detention system onto the American public, making profit from taxpayer dollars. The laws they support force indiscriminate and un-targeted incarceration that rips hard-working families apart. Detained immigrants have fewer rights than someone charged with mass murder. These process issues might not sound like much, but they matter.
Why is someone poor? Everyone has different answers, and those answers matter. We need to shift perceptions about those experiencing poverty. We need help crafting a story that inspires people to recognize our commonness and glimpse shadows of ourselves in the struggles of others.
America is built on a myth of self-sufficiency, of pulling oneself up by one’s own boot straps. But if we get real with ourselves, we all know that none of us make it in life alone. During moments of crisis, we all feel the same things – fear, vulnerability, isolation. And to overcome crisis, we need the same things – stores of resilience, support from friends and family, and resources to stabilize the ship. This is no different whether you’re wealthy or low-income.
If we shift perceptions about those who live in poverty, we will build a social service system that is actually responsive to people’s needs – a system based on human-centered design versus a system built to serve a monolithic, faceless “poor.” This is a story about empathy – not sympathy – for our low-income neighbors. It’s about taking a look at them and, in them, recognizing ourselves.
Patience Peabody, Lift Communities
44 million Americans work with no paid sick days. Many are restaurant and healthcare workers. Large corporations funnel political donations to squash changes in laws that would make us safer and healthier. We need help asking Americans to support the folks fighting against corporate insensitivity and obstructionism.
For most of the people reading this page: you get sick, and you stay home from work. But for more than 44 million Americans without paid sick days: if they get sick and stay home, they lose their job. So when they get sick, they go to work. And we get sick - during the H1N1 epidemic, 8 million Americans came to work with the virus and infected another 7 million people. It's time to stop this.
A movement is growing to put this issue on state ballots. Some large corporations, from Disney to fast food companies, are making political donations aimed at squashing the changes in laws that would make all of us safer and healthier. They are claiming paid sick time is bad for the bottom line, but research shows that’s just not true. Are we going to let their desire for a few extra cents get in the way of common sense?
Rhea Beck, Catalyst Miami
In 1776 an electorate of old white men elected officials who were also old white men. Over the course of the last 200+ years, people marched and blood was spilt to allow women, people of color, immigrants and others to have the simple right to vote. And yet, the vast majority of our elected officials are still older white men.
One in five Americans is an immigrant or has an immigrant parent. Only 1% of the 500,000 elected offices are held by Asians or Latinos. We are not actually the representative democracy we think we are. People of color and from diverse ethnic backgrounds don’t feel connected to the very democracy that they have come to this country to be part of, and they are not represented by elected officials.
We'd like to shift people's attitudes - those who feel represented, and those who don't - on why a democracy that reflects demographics matters.
Sayu Bhojwani, New American Leaders
The growth and abuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons is one of the most pressing domestic human rights issues in America. Protest is growing - see this NY Times Op-ed. Nonetheless, a significant barrier to change is that much of the public has written the prison population off. We need help to bring this invisible issue to light.
We'll let the facts speak for themselves.
Shouldn’t 60 hours of work a week bring enough home for your kid to dream the American dream? Unfortunately, the math no longer adds up. Low income workers are working twice as hard these days than 10 years ago, and they can't keep afloat. Is this a struggle between service workers and owners - or is the middle class implicated?
Today’s dominant economic struggle is about full time service workers trying to make enough money to keep their families alive. What was once seen as temporary employment is now a livelihood for many, and wages need to reflect that changing reality. Movements of organized service workers are growing in strength – whether it’s fast food workers, supermarket workers, car wash workers or others.
We’d like to ask consumers to be our allies. Every time you buy something that seems too cheap to be true, it is. If it’s cheap, the workers probably aren’t being treated too well, and the environment probably isn’t being treated too well. It is likely that what you are buying isn’t all that great for you. We'd like to paint the picture of a changing economy and what that might mean for both workers and consumers.
Every time a trigger is pulled, lives shatter. Current news reports of the uptick in gun violence rarely mention the trauma experienced by those who are witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of gun violence. Normalized trauma IS the real epidemic. We need to create space for these lives to get back to normal.
Crime is understood as best addressed by punishment. In reality, that thinking oversimplifies the issue and yields lazy responses. Easy fixes do not allow for discussion about the trauma and hurt that leads to gun violence and perpetuates the issues. We'd like to invite the public and those affected by gun violence to respond with more courage and try something different.
We'd like to reach communities who are affected by gun violence, and break down the "silence is strong" culture. We'd like to reach the public to help shift their response. We believe that too many people are under the impression that gun violence rarely affects them, and that it's between people who are probably criminals anyway. We would like to help the public understand that we need a new approach to bringing this cultural crisis to an end.
Marlo Peterson, The Fortune Society.
Roughly 640,000 people are homeless in the United States on any given night. Over the course of a year, that number swells to between 1.5 and 2 million. In New York City, and in other urban metropolises, we see homelessness every day. How do you react? How does your reaction affect which policies will be explored?
Public perceptions of homelessness range from sympathy to outright aggression, sometimes in the same place. It’s not uncommon to hear people express a desire to help alongside parallel concerns over “moral hazards” and “freeloaders.”
Is homelessness solvable? What if data suggesting a housing-first approach defies what we see with our own eyes - people struggling to get by? Dealing with homelessness requires us to view the issue as a solvable problem, one that allows our government to make investments that make sense to treat homelessness at a deeper level.
If you respond to homelessness with pity, you treat the short term. If you’re able to see a homeless person as a person, you’re better able to see how some of the more holistic solutions being proposed make sense. How can we help people make this shift in their perceptions of homelessness?
While we think that having a nominating activist/organization to suggest story areas will give them legs, we wanted to reserve 20 spots for people to discover stories they want to tell amongst themselves.
Emergent Stories allowed for the possibility of great stories to emerge from the creative storytellers. Everyone who elected to be in emergent stories group had the opportunity to pitch specific ideas and build teams of 3-4 hackers to join them.