Full Video Replay

Have A Story?
Requirements: authentic, 1st person, and coachable

Quotes from the events:

Why are we doing this?

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.

Overarching Theme: Where I Come From

To create a physical as well as metaphorical space where people, who might otherwise not interact with one another, can share their stories of their lived experiences.

Don’t we have Twitter, FB, Instagram, Mastodon, and other social networking media to “tell” our stories?
Humans are inherently social, so we need real in-person interactions with other human beings. Screen-based “interactions” in social media can be deceptive and misleading because participants may hide behind pseudonyms or sham identities. 

Who is this DMZ for? Why DMZ?
It is for everyone who is concerned that divisive, unexamined and uncritically accepted rhetoric will lead to irreparable gashes in our social fabric. 

This does not mean that we minimize the differences. 

Rather we admit, in our very title, that a “war” is being waged. The DMZ offers a safer opportunity for members of various factions to step outside of stereotypes and cliches to acknowledge our common humanity both through storytelling and storylistening.

I’m not sure if my stories are appropriate. So, what are considered as DMZ stories?

  • Personal lived experience (non fiction, happened to you)
  • Shaped your thoughts or assumptions on what is society or how it is organized
  • Shaped your thoughts on how we should treat one another  
  • Affected your attitudes toward people from whom you differ in some profound way 
  • Influenced or even changed on of your core beliefs


  • Not written to induce/incite hate and violence against other people
  • Not a lecture or explicitly ask people to do one thing or another

Why should I tell my story in the DMZ?  Why should I share time and space with people who hold  beliefs and attitudes that I find abhorrent and offensive? What if I like to stay in my bubble/echo chamber?
This program is for you if you have, like so many of us, wanted to speak of your deeply held beliefs to people close to you, but have refrained yourself from doing so because you have no way to engage without causing damage to your relationships. It’s also for you if you want to bear witness to your lived experience. 

But, it is not for you if your purpose is to change people’s minds, or to vilify those with whom you differ in these core issues.


We strive for diversity in stories, so we bet that you will hear stories that match at least one of your beliefs. As long as you follow the rules of engagement, you’re welcome and encouraged to attend.

Wait! Do you actually have rules?! 

  • Yes, these Rules of Engagement are so important that we have a special tab for it.

Why do you need those rules ‘though?
We believe in mindful and respectful inclusivity, so we believe those rules are there to facilitate that state of being. Like traffic lights, they are there to help us navigate difficult journeys. 

OK, I do have a story to tell but I’m still not sure if it meets your guidelines above.
Don’t worry! We require coaching to help you write and tell it in 8-12 minutes, and to provide you practice time delivering it (in person or via zoom.) The coaches will not censor your story as they only help you on your delivery and its impact for a wider audience.

But, I have a terrible stage fright. I can’t do a public live storytelling on a stage yet but I really want to tell my story.
The most important part is that you want to share your story. So, we have other options to share your story to the public such as pre-recorded/offline storytelling, reportage/essay/opinion articles, and coming soon social conversation (audio/video) podcasts as well. Let’s talk!

So, what does Storyburgh hope to achieve?

The Storyburgh team has a deep and abiding interest in creating community through thoughtful, intentional sharing of truths revealed, lessons learned, epiphanies experienced.   


Blah blah blah – that answer might work for grant applications. But, what is it really?
We want to create a space where folks on any point along the political spectrum can begin to get some answers to the questions: How could they believe that? Where Are They Coming From?

Plus at least one of us has a goal of hearing about everything that ever happened to everybody in Pittsburgh!! NEB NOSES of the world unite!!😃

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, 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

Event Snapshots on Social Media

Recorded Story Clips

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