Building a Time Capsule for Your Diasporic Experience
I remember the last conversation I had with one of attendees of our workshop, “Building a Time Capsule for Your Diasporic Experience,” at the 34th annual Empowering Womxn of Color Conference. They talked to me about their great-grand mother who lived out of the country and how they desperately wanted to capture her story but life always took over when they were there. I spoke to them about time, the greatest enemy of capturing human stories, and how unfortunately time is often running out for us to sit with those we love and listen as they gift us with the stories of their life.
We are capable of documenting the experiences of our own lives and the lives of our family. However, for those of us who are part of Diasporic communities, there are sometimes unique challenges to capturing these stories. Sometimes our family movements have come in the face of tragedy, trauma, and forced migrations. Many do not want to relive these stories. In our workshop, we explored the building blocks of empathetic interviewing, which reminds us that stories are gifts from others and how we can ask questions that elicit stories and emotions that we can then explore to paint a picture of a loved one’s life. Often it means starting with inquisitive questions that spark a story, such as “Tell me about your best friend growing up,” and going from there.
And while time is pressing when we think about how each individual holds unique stories that may be lost without them, time is also the item that people find hard to find though they have a strong desire to document these stories. Throughout the workshop we saw a need and a desire for people to be in community with others working through this journey. If you are interested in joining a writing group to support you on your journey to build a time capsule of your diasporic experience, fill out this form here.