The Stories We Tell Ourselves: How Narratives Are Steering Community Development

In "The Stories We Tell Ourselves", a panel of people working at the intersection of race, place, and story will unpack eleven dominant community development narratives revealed in the Anti-Racist Community Development research project and share strategies for advancing practical, concrete narrative change in the sector.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

1:00pm - 2:00pm EASTERN

The Anti-Racist Community Development research project has documented the range of ways that structural racism shows up in community development and the many ways that people are trying to move anti-racist work forward in the sector. Before communities can fully reckon with our past and present and envision a better future, though, we think it’s important to step back and look at some of the fundamental mindsets that shape the sector. The stories we tell about ourselves and about others contribute a lot to how we show up – in our priorities, the ways we spend our limited time and money, our practices, our processes, and our systems.

In “The Stories We Tell Ourselves,” our panel will explore long-standing, hardwired narratives that show up in the community development sector and keep us from doing the racial equity work that so many of us are trying to do. We’ll also look at specific, practical ways that you can creatively push back against those narratives, at the neighborhood level, the city level, or even nationally.


Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is executive director of Next City and host of our podcast. He's the former President of Pride Media and led LGBTQ brands The Advocate, Out magazine, Out Traveler, Plus magazine, and, which he founded. Grindley was also editor in chief of The Advocate, the longest running LGBTQ magazine in the country. In both 2016 and 2018, NLGJA honored Grindley as “LGBTQ Journalist of the Year” with its Sarah Pettit Memorial Award. Previously, he was managing editor for online at National Journal magazine in Washington, D.C.  Follow him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.


Mordecai Cargill
Mordecai Cargill is the Chief Creative Officer of ThirdSpace Action Lab and Co-Founder of ThirdSpace Reading Room. He previously served as the Director of Strategy, Research & Impact at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), a community development funding intermediary committed to fostering inclusive neighborhoods throughout Cleveland. Mordecai earned his BA in African American Studies from Yale University, with a concentration in Black Culture in the 20th Century.


Dr. Lisa Yun Lee
Dr. Lisa Yun Lee is a cultural activist and the Executive Director of the National Public Housing Museum. She is also an Associate Professor in Art History and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching faculty with the Prison Neighborhood Art Project, and a member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials. She is writing a book for Teacher's College Press about Jane Addams.


Luis Ortega
Luis Ortega is a multidisciplinary storyteller, educator, and the founder and director of Storytellers for Change. Since 2008, Luis has worked to design and facilitate storytelling programs and narrative strategies to increase equity outcomes across communities and organizations. Luis works at the intersection of narrative change, equity-centered storytelling, and healing.

Support for the Anti-Racist Community Development research project was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

This is a sponsored webinar. By registering for this webinar you are agreeing to have your contact information shared with ThirdSpace Action Lab.

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