Everywhere we go, people wanna know: A Buffalo case study in social justice storytelling
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Storytelling forms an integral part of PUSH Buffalo's organizing model, both as a tool for activating and mobilizing its West Side constituents, and as a tactic for gaining support from key decision-makers and the general public. In the course of producing a four-minute campaign video and a twenty-five-minute documentary with PUSH staff and members over two years, our shared goal was to tell a compelling story about their National Fuel campaign. Everyone involved generally agreed that the best way to tell that story was to focus on members' personal emotional experiences. However, there were significant moments of tension - not only between me and the PUSH member/film subjects, but also between PUSH staff and members - over what and how much to reveal. In attempting to anticipate and resolve these tensions, a somewhat improvised approach including exchange, shared knowledge, and saying and hearing `no,' resulted in the production of campaign outcomes and media products that were mutually satisfying.