Friday, February 26, 2021 at 11:30 AM EST
Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM EST

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Online via Zoom



Narrative Therapy Initiative 

NTI Folx Tales
Co-Creating Preferred Stances on White Supremacy and Toxicity
Dates: February 26 & 27, 2021; 11:30 am to 4:30 pm ET
Location: Online via Zoom

Facilitated by
Elvin June Cardona & Cecilia Catarina Jokisch Douglas
(The Narrative Social Healing and Liberation Team)
marcela polanco, Suzanne Gazzolo, Claire Burke, & Stephen Gaddis

Dear Family,

We have always experienced the Narrative Worldview as an ally in creating space for social justice, healing, and liberation. The last year has brought many challenges that have forced the problem of White Supremacy and Toxicity to show itself in ways that have generated much conversation and movement. We know, though, that these conversations and movements already have such a rich history of exploration. During this year’s Annual Folx Tales Workshop (formerly known as NTI's "Annual Fall Workshop"), we want to explore how narrative ideas and practices can help story racial injustice and generate liberating practices, initiatives, and lifestyles. We wonder what might become possible if, together, we spent two days actively externalizing, deconstructing, and reauthoring our relationships with the problem of White Supremacy and Toxicity. 

We believe that everyone has a relationship with White Supremacy and Toxicity, made up of stories that we each have learned and events that have happened in our lives. Some people have lived experiences that have forced them closer to knowing those stories, while for others those stories remain unknown. Still, we believe everyone has knowledge that, when centered, can help develop a rich understanding of what White Supremacy and Toxicity is and what it is here to do. We hope that, together, we will leave with: 

  • An understanding of Narrative Racial Healing and Liberation as an ally to this movement
  • A richer understanding of the tactics of White Supremacy and Toxicity
  • More Knowledge on how to take some of the life out of White Supremacy and Toxicity and breathe life into Something Else

Our hope is to provide a structure that is built on curiosity; and keeps power, relationships, and accountability at the center of our conversations, deconstructing non-preferred relationships and deepening preferred ones. Part of this structure will involve storytelling and reflections. Of course, we will offer our knowledge and ideas, and we care deeply about everyone being able to offer their valuable knowledge and experience. Our hope is that we all leave this co-created space with something new possible--reflections, understandings, and actions. 

Our experience tells us that the problem of White Supremacy and Toxicity has many tactics that produce real effects. An important one to name is silence, which can mean different things to different people. We hope to take a stance against the ways this problem might have silenced and paralyzed us--the ways it might hold us from relating to problems and each other in a way that is healing and liberating. Please join us in taking this stance and getting closer to our preferred relationships. 

Narrative Social Healing and Liberation Team
Elvin June Cardona
Cecilia Catarina Jokisch Douglas

With love, support, and contributions from
Suzanne Gazzolo, Claire Burke, marcela polanco, Stephen Gaddis

Payment information:

At NTI, we are striving to develop organizational practices and policies that are attuned to the ways that social and systemic injustices disproportionately affect people. For this event, we have decided to adopt a “consensual payment” approach. If you have the financial resources, we ask that you pay $225 to attend this event. Doing so supports people with fewer financial resources to participate and benefit from what we have to offer. If you don’t have the resources to pay the full fee, we invite you to pay whatever you feel is possible given our particular situation, including paying nothing. We trust that whatever you are able to pay reflects your current financial status. Your presence matters to us much more than what you can afford to pay. We have always been explicit about welcoming people seeking financial assistance and we’ve accommodated every request we have ever received. We hope this practice makes it easier for folx to attend without having to ask us for anything.

On a practical level, NTI needs money to operate and survive. Our financial “needs” are designed to help us with our mission to grow the narrative worldview. We want to make narrative ideas, practices, and ethics as available to as many different people as possible who might find them supportive. We are making our financial statements available on our website so folx can know where our money comes from and where it goes. We welcome your feedback to help us continue to think about these important issues.

For this event, the Narrative Social Healing and Liberation team has decided to donate back their fees to help support NTI, and marcela, Suzanne, and Steve are not asking for any reimbursements.

Additional Information:

  • 120 maximum participants.
  • CEUs: CEU Certificates are $25.00 in addition to your registration fee.  We are applying for 7 CEUs for LMFTs, LICSW/LCSW. We are not a CE provider for psychologists. If you will need a CE certificate, please order one in the registration form. 
  • Group Registration: If you would like to register a group of people from your agency or organization, please email Darcey Surette.
  • Cancellation Policy: Refunds will be given up to 14 days prior to the workshop minus a $25 cancellation fee; within 14 days of the event, no refunds will be provided. 
  • Questions? Email NTI at narrativetherapyinitiative@gmail.com.

Presenter Bios:

Elvin/Junie: I have had so many names. Kids from The Block called me Junior. People at my suburban school called me L. People at work called me Elvin. Since I’m inviting you to be part of my family for the conference, you can call me Juni(e). Identity has always been an interesting entry point to my story. My essence sits at a collision point of ideas and histories--of the conquerors and the conquered. I see the night sky when I look at my mother; I see the moon when I look at my dad. These two colors didn’t make sense in a family that told me I was “Latino” and a world that told me I was Black. I used to think that White Supremacy meant that I never had a choice in how I saw myself. To an extent, that’s true. But I like to look at who I am as being formed by a series of invites. So, when I think about giving credit to those that have influenced my identity, I have to give shout outs. Shout out to Ma for inviting me to Honduras. Shout out to Pops for inviting me to Puerto Rico. Shout out to Abuela for inviting me to Jamaica. Shout out to the police that invited me into Blackness. Shout out to my ancestors that invited me to Africa. Shout out to Jennifer Lopez for always rescinding my invitation to Latinidad. Shout out to Amara La Negra for always inviting me back.

Cecilia: My name is Cecilia, she/hers pronouns, and I identify as Salvadoreña-Gringa. I am fluent in Españgles (Spanish and English). With the stories currently available to me, as an hija de inmigrante who grew up in the suburbs, I had come to be familiar with some of White Supremacy’s existence as I grew up, though I did not come to be familiar with the extent of its violence until I read the book Roots by Alex Haley in my junior year of high school. Since then I have both actively and passively interrogated White Supremacy’s influence. Passive interrogation predominantly has happened when the tactics of White Supremacy has recruited me to not see it, and allow it to benefit me because of my whiteness. Active interrogation has occurred when the tactics that I am familiar with occur, and it cannot hide itself. I am grateful for the opportunity to co-create space to be more active with myself and with others in interrogating White Supremacy and Toxicity. I see myself as a product of a community, and I’d like to name the folks that have contributed to my meaning-making with multistoried identities: this includes my mom and dad, my Opa and Omi por parte de mama, my Grandma and Grandpa por parte de papa; it includes my ancestors before them (Esperanza aka “Omita” in particular). And it also includes all my cousins, my brother, nephew, tios/tias, and my friends along the different moments in my life. I would also like to honor Guadalupe Hernandez-Morelos who introduced me to the Narrative Worldview and continues to be a narrative mama to me. 

marcela: Soy Colombiana; Bogotana de nacimiento, espíritu, y corazón. From the colonial system of social categorization of humanity in modernity, my body is racially marked as a brown cis woman, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied, with no religious affiliations yet educated in the discriminatory Colombian Catholic schooling system. My ancestry is European by colonization, as well as Muisca, Pijao, and Africana (of which I know very little or nothing at all due to genocide). Hablo two imperial languages, Español Colombiano; and 20-years-old U.S. Immigrant English. I also speak borderland Spanglish/Ingleñol. I live an advantageous urban life—unaffected por la pandemia—in unceded territories of the Kumeyaay peoples in San Diego, California, ciudad fronteriza con Tijuana, México. I actively participate in, hence sustain, Eurocentric capitalist systems that include sexist, classist, and racist salaried work, and mortgage-finance and federal student loan systems. I paid taxes to the U.S. government Internal Revenue Service in 2019 of over 100k income, which represents aproximadamente 22,000% of earnings of Indigenous and Black women who live in poverty in Latinoamérica. My earnings come from institutional systems of power dedicated to the legitimation of the production of knowledge in standard English, through patriarchal science, and clothed in professional education. I spend my days hablando con otras personas, reading, thinking, sensing, and doing (for which I get paid) toward figuring out how the fuck/cómo putas I came to be this person in this world-system, otherwise nonexistent, and what possibilities of existence there may be in the otherwise. Mi nombre es marcela polanco.

Suzanne: My name is Suzanne, and has never been shortened at my mother’s insistence. I have been constituted, in part, from my father’s laugh, my mother’s care, my sister’s ferocity, the Jamaican sun, hot buttered white rice, Flamenco music, the 1967 earthquake in Caracas, an avocado tree in Nairobi, the art of Twins Seven Seven, Neruda’s poetry, Paul’s exuberant love, Alexandra’s trust, Madeleine’s grace, and Francesca’s insurgence. I am of white western European descent. My father was French and my mother grew up in Arizona from 2nd generation parents of English and German descent. I was born and raised outside of the U.S. in 11 different countries on four different continents. We spoke English in our home, and I am also conversant in French and Spanish. The young me experienced each new place with hope and trepidation of finding belonging. Cherished mentors along the way helped expose the privilege that accompanied this outsider status. I and my family participated in and sustained the Western European capitalist and colonizing system, in many parts of the world. Since my mid-twenties, I have lived in this country full time, in 10 different cities. I inhabit a body that, while not always experiencing safety, has benefited from the denominated social locations of whiteness, able-ness, heterosexuality, cis-genderedness, marriage, graduate education, and professional designations. I have an independent therapy practice where I offer people a choice to operate outside of insurance. With transparency, I provide what’s needed for out-of-network benefits or people are invited to decide a fee that fits with their means. I am also paid as faculty by the Narrative Therapy Initiative and the Evanston Family Therapy Center, communities and treasured relationships where ongoing conversations about accountability and relational ethics are vital to my work and life. 

Claire: My name is Claire. I am a white and American temporarily able-bodied queer cisgender woman. In the not-so-distant past, much of my family would have been considered Not white, but it became advantageous for Whiteness that more recent generations be understood as white. I both benefit from, and am constrained and harmed by White Supremacist, patriarchal, heterosexist, and Christian-centric beliefs and systems. These structures have influenced the way I was raised; the religion in which I was raised, and how I practice now; schools I have attended; the places I have inhabited; the work I do and have done for a living; and the way my soul moves through the world in this particular body, place and time. My conversationality in other languages has come and gone over time, as I have not made choices that require or nudge me to continue to speak anything fluently other than English. I can trace back conversations trying to make meaning of being a white person in the world to a very early age, and yet so much understanding of how White Supremacy operates on my and other’s lives remained unknown, and not something I was moved to search out learning about until more recent years. I’m learning that that’s part of it. I continue to feel very much in the midst of unpacking my relationship with White Supremacy, and am noticing its influences in novel ways every day. As I work on this Work I am grateful for family who taught me not to mistake privilege for worth; for relationships I have had from childhood which never let me forget that the world I see around me is always limited and not the “whole” world; for coworkers and friends who have shared their lives and believed in my ability to educate myself and become an ally; and for those I have met on the winding path of this “social work” thing, including my narrative folks, who have opened up more and more questions to explore.

Stephen: My name is Steve. I am a person who’s body is socially marked as an aging White heterosexual married man. I acknowledge that the White Supremacist, Patriarchal, and Capitalist context that I exist within in the United States has unjustly and disproportionately benefitted me, making it significantly easier for me to achieve advanced educational degrees and economic wealth; and that my unearned advantages have come at a 400-year-old human cost that has never been accounted for or where justice has not been restored. In addition, I acknowledge that the ways I benefit also come at a personal cost because to become a White man requires a soul-crushing rite of passage that results in emotional and relational impoverishment. I come from San Francisco but did not experience a place where I belonged, or could proudly call “home,” until I met my wife Ashley. Our relationship is where my preferred self was finally fully born, and where it became possible for me to strive to embody being a different kind of White man than the one that assaulted me as a boy, and that I was expected to adopt and pass along. I dream for a Narrative Revolution where we finally recognize ourselves, as a species, as meaning-makers who construct the world we inhabit. My hope is that shifting to this perspective will help all people become more interested in and accountable for the real effects of the ways they are storying themselves and one another.