When I was in my mid-20s, I had the opportunity to teach ESL in Chihuahua, Mexico. For part of the time there, I lived with a college professor. I wish I had done a better job keeping in touch. I would have loved to have shared that seven years after leaving, I also became a college professor….. anyway, I digress. One day we were having a conversation about the Mexican American War or as it is referred to in Mexico the American Intervention in Mexico. Through our conversation, I was quickly reminded that (if we are not challenged), we can fall into the trap of only seeing an experience from one perspective. Now do not get me wrong there are some things that go well beyond different perspectives and are just wrong. I am 100% down with James Baldwin when he states:
That’s a deal breaker.
But what about some of these other instances where we go along with a dominant perspective, not because of a particular conviction but because we do not care about whatever it is enough to discover other perspectives. In other words, we go along with the most prominent voice because, well, they’re loud. This can lead to the exclusion of voices that are just as meaningful but not as loud (e.g., less power, limited influence, and power).
There is power in creating space for many different stories.
There is power in recognizing that there are storieS rather than the storY.
This platform follows in the path of celebrated politician Shirley Chisholm’s popular assertion:
“If they dont’ give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
When sharing stories connected to the joys, concerns, strivings, challenges, and all-around experiences, Folding Chair Advocacy embraces Chisholm’s call to action and “brings a folding chair” to the public sphere of Black people in the United States.