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Narrative Change

The human brain is wired for stories. Known as “heuristics” in the field of psychology, stories function as mental shortcuts that use information gathered through prior experiences to help us understand our world, make decisions and solve problems. False narratives hamper our ability to understand our world and relationships as they are. Instead, they lead to us to create and reinforce perceptions that are untrue. The stories told about our histories, children and communities can reinforce false beliefs—and if we don’t change these stories, we misunderstand ourselves and each other in ways that are harmful. We must demonstrate the absurdity of believing in a human hierarchy, so that we can transform our consciousness to one of equity. Without intentional, truthful storytelling, erroneous beliefs always will manifest and reinforce negative outcomes for our country.

Our current national narrative denies the truth of who we are because it is biased and incomplete. Narrative change is essential to ongoing work in all TRHT processes and key to eliminating the belief system that upholds a racial hierarchy. We need a more complete story presented in school curricula, in the news media, in movies and television and radio, in digital media and gaming platforms, in cultural institutions and memorials of all kinds—even in the personal histories told within families. This process will influence our perspectives, perceptions, behaviors and interactions with one another so that we can more effectively create change.

"Battle Creek Did Not Burn"

The city of Battle Creek, MI did not burn during the Civil Rights Movement, but it was not exempt from the challenges of the 1960s, including discriminatory practices and social injustices. The 'Battle Creek Did Not Burn' oral history project aims to rediscover, record, and share these vital stories of resilience and determination. This project, which highlights just a few of Battle Creek's untold stories during the Civil Rights Movement, was made possible through the generous funding from the Binda Foundation.

This project is a collaborative effort between BCTRHT, JR Reynolds, and Tynisha Dungey. Thanks to Cloudy Productions for the production of this film.

Lesson Plans

In an effort to make the stories in this film accessible to youth, we developed a lesson plan starter kit for grades 6-8. This starter kit provides three lesson plans, worksheets, and modifications for learners with IEPs. These lessons can easily adjusted for grades K-5 and 9-12. 

We hope that these lesson plans will be used as a starting point for a unit regarding civic engagement, building community, and how each of us plays a vital role in civil rights.

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