What we’re told and what we believe about people and places determines how we treat them—and those stories become woven into how we think and how we act. They determine how we vote and how we engage in the systems to which we are all bound -- systems like democracy.
Social impact and strategic communications is using words, images, ideas, and experiences to make meaning of the world around us and to organize people who share our values.
Together, we can illustrate the importance of a fair and just government, access to fundamental resources like quality education and a clean environment for all people, and significantly reduce bias.
Besieged by a landscape in which “fake news” and “alternative facts” have fomented suspicion among many people in the United States, strategic communications helps us earn people’s trust in the face of conflicting information, influence their perspective while affirming their moral values, and most importantly, inspire them to action. To win the story, to uprise, it takes both personal and political participation and collaboration. To win our lives and thrive, we must continue to experiment, celebrate, and drive narratives for positive change together.
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Hey, I’m Shanelle. I'm a social impact communications pro and I care about using stories and narratives to shape the world around me. For more than ten years, I’ve helped social justice activists, organizations, and campaigns inspire action through storytelling and communications. From the Sierra Club, to the ACLU, to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, I’ve worked alongside political influencers and changemakers to make sense of today’s most pressing issues and to harness grassroots power for good. Learn more.
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Kamala Harris is running to be the leader of the nation. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Jahana Hayes, are making waves in the 116th Congress. Patrisse Cullors, Charlene Carruthers, and other Black women organizers and activists are challenging the power in the streets, the boardroom, and the classroom. The stories of their contributions are shaping the contours of how we understand power in America, and for every story that is shared, tens of millions of others go unheard.
In January 2019, we wrapped the second year of the Channel Black fellowship – a media training and storytelling program that develops the strategy, self-transformation, and spokesperson skills of social movement leaders and community members. This year, we focused on Black moms.
When it comes to family, a unit by which the health of our nation is measured, poor unmarried Black mothers—long labeled “welfare queens”—have been disproportionately demonized, shamed, and attacked. In the American hierarchy of family, a Black mother’s circumstances, choices, and story are cast as moral failings in need of punishment and correction.
We believe that the key to realizing a democracy that serves everyone, not just a select few, is in the experiences of people whose stories have yet to be told. Read more.
Design is central to the work Fresco and I do at Culture Socitety. From political messaging to mobilizing merchandise to custom programming for grassroots organizers, activists, and practitioners, we take great joy in prototyping and iterating on our ideas in service of the people. We believe in the power of design to change culture and improve lives. Central to design is iteration. The practice of iteration allows us to be vulnerable and rigorous and go back to the drawing board again and again to strengthen our ideas. This principle is widely used in technological design and art, but rarely when it comes to human relationships and the sociocultural challenges we experience. This fall we’re partnering with Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum on a political project to widen access to the design world for communities that have historically been excluded from—and sometimes harmed by—this ecosystem of cultural institutions. From resource distribution to design-related organizing projects, we’re ideating on how to take CH’s commitment to democratizing the design world to the next level. Stay tuned.