Goal/Mission: To bring people together that might otherwise not be in each other’s presence through their own authentic stories that might otherwise go unheard by audiences that might never hear them: how people form their positions about climate change, gentrification, 2nd amendment, immigration, public health, reproductive and religious freedom to name a few possibilities.

“The key to listening is to seek to understand our opponents – not to change them, persuade them, compromise with them, or legitimize them. It begins with wonder. When we work to listen beneath the slogans and soundbites, we begin to hear their story and see their wounds. Listening preserves their humanity and our own. And it opens up the possibility of transformation.”

Valerie Kaur, the author of “See No Stranger”

Quotes from DMZ Event 9/1/2022 held at the Tripoli Street Community Center in North Side, Pittsburgh, PA:

“Hoping for some kind of law enforcement that would rush by to rescue me. But nope. No luck. No help. Nowhere to go.”

“For me to go in the public space with no identification is terrifying!”

“I was at the very least hopeful when Roe v Wade was recently overturned.”

“You can’t go out with him, he’s Jewish!”

“We don’t want what happened in the US to happen to us here.”

“Heard the tiny voices of white children yelling from the school bus, I realized that prejudice was learned.”

Recorded Story Clips

Production Team

  • MC: Leeann Younger
  • Coaches: Pamela Monk & Kay Bey
  • Musicians: Saint Agatha
  • Event Assistant: Alyse Horn
  • Exec.Producer: Will Halim

Partners & Sponsors

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Requirements: authentic, 1st person, and coachable
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Our current political discourse has left too many of us feeling distressed, angry, and hopeless. People on all points of the political spectrum agree on this: they are unhappy to see our country inching towards uncertainty and chaos.

That is not a small thing… it’s common ground, upon which we could start to build productive discussions and actionable plans to restart a civil discourse.

We will challenge each other to listen with an open heart in an effort to understand the meaning of the stories – where the storytellers come from.

By participating in this event and entering the DMZ, you agree to the following  rules of engagement: 

  •  Check your weapons at the door – metaphorical, figurative, virtual, actual
    • No groans, cheers, eye rolling, applause, insults
    • No signs 
    • No slogans/symbols on t-shirts.
  • Enter as an individual who is prepared to respectfully listen to the story of another individual
  • Listen well
  • Understand that as tellers, they speak for themselves alone
  • Respectful attention does not imply agreement or disagreement
  • What you do with what you hear is up to you – after you leave the DMZ.
  • Tellers have to agree to be coached
  • The story is about a change that happened to them
  • There is a time limit
  • Audience participation is structured

This DMZ is not meant to negate or deny anyone’s lived experience- it is meant to be a space where that experience can be shared with those who might otherwise be unable to hear it.

Full Video Replay 9/1/2022

Yes!! It did happen.

The inaugural Storytelling: The Demilitarized Zone where #diverse community members told their…

Posted by Storyburgh on Saturday, September 3, 2022

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