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.
FIND ME HERE
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.
Ready to work with me? Reach out!
Got questions? Hit me up!
Let’s Work Together
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.
Zora’s: A Brooklyn Salon
According to the Harlem Renaissance 100: A Community Celebration, a collaborative comprising more than 13 Harlem cultural institutions, 2018–2020 is the official 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.
Today, Black artists, writers, technologists, musicians, publishers, futurists, and other creative types are abloom in the U.S., and globally. A 21st-century Black arts movement is flourishing concurrently—and in many ways is symbiotic to ongoing local, state, and national organizing movements to end state-sponsored violence and indifference toward Black people.
In the spirit of the Black radical tradition, we’re creating a space to gather, break bread, drink spirits, discuss and debate ongoing and emergent issues and ideas that impact Black people—and to delight in our accomplishments.
Zora’s offers a platform for discussion and debate in which people who share a vision for the freedom of Black people can disagree with dignity and have a safe space to examine what we do and don’t know about issues that impact our communities.
COMMUNICATING FOR FREEDOM
Communicating for Freedom is a six-week course for beginner and immediate-level activists, organizers, and practitioners who are interested in the brass tacks of storytelling, social change communications, and strategy. You need not have any previous experience in social change communications to take the course.
This course focalizes narrative power as a lever of change and hinges on strategic communications to give learners fundamental communications-related tools to contextualize stories and solutions and develop effective campaigns for a more democratic and inclusive society.
I'm designing this course because I wish I had it when I was new to this field. To continue to be in service of social movements in the United States and elsewhere, today's communications practitioners need a community of practice—and that's what I am providing.