moving from

silence to story

Tim and John explore four challenges that swirl around in the space between the private and the public, each presenting important questions advocates must answer before deciding to speak—or not—speak out.

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Praise for Living Proof

“If we're going to make change, we're going to have to tell our stories and tell them effectively. This book shows us how.”

Paul Loeb
Author, Soul of a Citizen

 

“As authentic as an advocate's story may be ...it can always be improved in style and delivery; that's the mission of this exceptional instructional guide. ... Smart, well-delivered and timely advice to help advocates and spokespersons tell the most effective stories.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“Everyone's talking about the power of stories these days but we need more resources to help advocates, activists and nonprofit communicators find their own voices, get heard and win real change. Living Proof is a sourcebook for trainers and advocates alike that fills that need. It's full of hands-on exercises, good ideas and useful suggestions.”

Gordon Mayer
National People's Action

 

“Stories have the power to bind us together, to bridge our differences, to build community. Sometimes the difference between hope and despair is a well-crafted story delivered with passion and focus. Now more than ever, our world needs ordinary people to become master storytellers. This book shows you how.”

Eboo Patel
Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core and Author, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

 

“We understand the world through stories. This book will help you understand why that is and how to take advantage of them to make the planet a better place.”

Bill McKibben
Founder, 350.org

 

“The principles of rhetoric are translated here into contemporary language to make them accessible to anyone who wants to persuade through storytelling. This book provides instructions, examples, and exercises to make your stories come alive. A superb guide.”

Dr. Sonja K. Foss
University of Colorado Denver,
Author, Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric

 

“I have never read a more practical guide to advocacy. This book should be on every library director, trustee and advocate's desk for easy reference. I have already used some tips from the book during a press interaction. With the American Library Association's linking of library advocacy to the phrase 'telling our stories,' there's a natural fit between the content of this clearly written and useful book and the work of library advocates.”

Michael Colford
Director of Library Services, Boston Public Library

 

Advocates
Making a Difference

Watch this space for examples of advocates who are using their personal stories powerfully.

Loren Vaillancourt, Miss South Dakota 2010, tells the difficult story of her brother's death to advocate for stricter distracted driving laws: CBS The Early Show and the US Department of Transportation

Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, uses his own story of transformation to explain the mission of his organization: Big Omaha speech

Derek Cotton and others touched by cancer speak in a video for Gilda's Club Twin Cities, produced by Brandspeak Communications.

Becky Blanton speaks about her year of being homeless at TED Global 2009.

Ocean Robbins, grandson of the man who started Baskin-Robbins, draws upon his family history to talk about citizen responsibility and youth empowerment. Here's his full speech at the National Alliance for a Department of Peace; you can find the excerpt quoted in Living Proof around 03:51.

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease draws its power from an army of women telling their stories. Here's a great introduction to the organization and here's the book by Kathy Kastan, a tireless advocate for women's heart health.

Majora Carter tells how a stray dog led her to fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx. Here's her speech at TED.com.

Zach Wahls, son of two moms, offers a great example of living proof. Here he is speaking to the Iowa House of Representatives.