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Civil Discourse and Storytelling - 10 Ways to Connect

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  • Clarice and Kwami Abdul-Bey
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In this month’s vlog with Clarice and Kwami Abdul-Bey, celebrate Women’s History Month, learn why having all voices represented in the conversation is so important, and find ways to share stories and create conversations through civil discourse.



10 Ways to Connect


1.) PBS American Portrait

PBS American Portrait is an ongoing initiative that asks people all over the country to submit their individual stories by responding to one of a number of thought-provoking prompts. Whether it’s joy or sorrow, triumph or hardship, family traditions or a morning school run, American Portrait wants to put together a picture of life as it’s really lived today.

Take a chance to give us a glimpse into your life and make your voice heard:

2.)  StoryCorps Mobile Tour

In partnership with KUAR, StoryCorps is bringing their signature recording experience to the virtual space to record, preserve and share the stories of Little Rock, Arkansas, March 24-April 24!


Visit the “Virtual Recording Booth” to record conversations remotely from home using an Internet-connected device. You can learn more about how to register to record your story with a friend or loved one here.

3.) The Yarn Storytelling

The Yarn uses the power of story to amplify voices, build understanding and create space for human connection. By providing an opportunity and a platform for storytellers, The Yarn allows audiences to connect in a space of vulnerability. Learn how this opportunity for shared community is creating connections and how you can get involved at

4.) Central Arkansas Chapter of Coming to The Table

Coming to the Table is an initiative focused on truth, justice and healing. The organization connects people from across communities who want to work together to create a just, truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal racial wounds of the past — including slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned. Participants meet regularly for truth-telling, building relationships, healing and to take action to dismantle inequitable systems and structures based on “race.”

The Central Arkansas chapter, the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement, meets regularly for “Docs, Dogs and Discussion” film series and other events. Learn more, including how to attend a virtual meeting, at

 5.) Braver Angels of Central Arkansas

 A group of Arkansans who are allied with the national organization Braver Angels,  Braver Angels Arkansas’s goal is to establish a vibrant and active organization that reaches across the political divide to develop more respectful communications and collaborations to solve problems facing our The Natural State and our nation.

This citizens’ working alliance aims to depolarize America by bringing liberals, conservatives and others together at the grassroots level — not to find centrist compromise, but to find one another as citizens. Learn how to get involved with Arkansas events here.

6.) Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective

Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts Collective tells the stories of Pulaski County’s often forgotten history, making hidden social determinants in under-resourced communities visible. Instead of trying to “give our youth a voice,” WFYMAC works with them to provide the resources and tools they need to harness and express the innate power within their own voices.

Learn about the 501C3 non-profit’s work to increase opportunities for young people through recording oral histories, training youth journalists, cultivating social advocacy and more at

7.) Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement

APJMM is a statewide, collaborative effort to acknowledge and learn from Arkansas’s shared, documented history of hundreds of incidents of racial, political and religious violence and injustices —  especially lynchings — that individuals committed outside the legal system.

The goal of this group is to create meaningful avenues for transformative peace and restorative justice through truth-seeking and reconciliation.

Learn how to get involved, find reading lists and more at

8.) The Moth: The Art and Craft of Storytelling

Created to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience, The Moth is a venue for virtual and on-location presentations of stories told live and without notes.

Renowned for the range of human experience they show case, Moth shows focus on a theme with storytellers who explore it, often in unexpected ways. Learn how you can watch a show that dances between documentary and theater for a unique, intimate and often enlightening experience at

9.) Snap Judgment

A radio show and podcast that mixes real stories with killer beats, The Snap Judgement produces cinematic and dramatic radio. Snap Judgment’s raw, musical brand of storytelling dares listeners to see through world through another’s eyes on NPR.  Learn how to listen, subscribe and even tell your story at 

10.) National Institute for Civil Discourse

Created after the Tucson shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others — including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — the National Institute for Civil Discourse was formed to study how to improve the quality of civil conversation.

This non-partisan organization promotes healthy and civil political debate based on the principle that people with different values and political preferences can discuss their difference in a civil, productive way.

Learn how bipartisan leaders are working on these issues to build civil conversations and respect, about its programs, and available virtual events at

Clarice and Kwami are the co-directors of the Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective and co-convenors of the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement.  They have agreed to join the Arkansas PBS family as monthly vloggers that share their informed opinions on current events and PBS programs.


To learn more about the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement backstory, check out the October 2020 issue of Little Rock Soiree Magazine and the Healing Together episode of the Southern Inspirations podcast.  To learn more about Rosanne Cash's APJMM connection, read the "Taking A Stand" article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  Also, check out the APJMM YouTube Channel.


About the author: Clarice & Kwami Abdul-Bey, Co-Conveners of the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement and 2021 Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice - Arkansas Peace Activists of the Year recipients have partnered with Arkansas PBS. The Abdul-Beys will regularly lend their voices to the Arkansas PBS Engage Blog as they continue their work in promoting peace and justice in Arkansas.


Join Arkansas PBS for a free virtual event "American Portrait: Achieving Civil Discourse Through Storytelling" Wednesday, March 31st, at 6 p.m. The event will feature a screening and discussion led by Clarice and Kwami Abdul-Bey highlighting the role personal stories play in civil discourse. A distinguished panel of guests will convene to discuss strategies to address difficult topics through civil discourse by using storytelling.

American Portrait - Arkansas PBS

Register for the FREE screening and discussion here:


Clarice and Kwami Abdul-Bey - Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement.


Nicolas Cadena - StoryCorps
Hilary Trudell - The Yarn
*Jenifer Hixson -The Moth
*Glynn Washington - Snap Judgment
Ryan Norris - Americans for Prosperity
Amber Booth-McCoy - The Diversity Booth
Katie Zakrzewski - Braver Angels
Tom DeWolf - Coming To The Table

*Panelist is tentative and organization may be represented with an alternate guest.

This screening and discussion event is in partnership with KUAR 89.1 FM, Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts and Literacy Collective, and the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement.

Production support has been provided by a grant from PBS and by viewers like you.