Our Call to Action

An abandoned home surrounded by underbrush, with an overarching oak tree in the background. The photo is dimly lit.

Photo/ Chris Gutierrez

Storytelling plays a vital role in creating positive changes in our communities. Through storytelling, the power of the narrative is enhanced, and with it, you can empathize with the storyteller's words. When sharing oneself with another, you can both feel and understand the storyteller's perspective. With storytelling, I have been able to carry the fantastic opportunity of being able to share and learn about the deep intimacies of mine and other human experiences.

The narrative carries the potential to create a tremendous positive change within our communities. I believe that learning how to manifest more empathy in your life intentionally is a catalyst for creating a positive effect on our social circles. Each participant in the community will begin to shed light upon the idea of sonder, defined as, "The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it." When everyone in a community carries a small or large piece of sonder in their life, they will think before they harm someone else: they will feel more inclined to extend a helping hand and, in turn, better their community. 


Paper copy of the book, "The Immortalists," by Chloe Benjamin. The novel cover has a black background with a tree of life, with leaves that have the appearance of fall-colored ferns.

Photo/ Paige Rentz

In the book, "The Immortalists," by Chloe Benjamin, there is a character, Klara, who is a magician. Klara truly believes in the powers of magic and its capabilities for altering how one sees the world. As a magician, Klara's goal is to bring to light hidden parts of yourself. After bearing witness to her acts, audience members begin to see the world, and themselves, through an alternate reality. 

As a member of the ACC Storytellers, I hope to do the same for you. I hope to show you the magic of storytelling, how the perspectives of yourself, and the world, can be altered through different forms of sharing. Or even interacting with someone else's story, who lives with a different culture, belief systems, or pillars of values, and seeing the infinite manners and methodologies of the human experience. 

I believe that each of our stories isn't merely about ourselves; it's about the reflections others have shown me of themselves, and the reflections of myself I have revealed to others. You are the first witness to your story, and you have been recording and interpreting your story–to these many differing reflections.

You can take your perspective upon the world, and share it. Choose any medium you want: voice recording, spoken word poetry, pictures, podcast, an interview, a video, an art piece, or even photography like I did. We each carry our own idiosyncratic (distinctive instead?) vehicle for sharing the bits of wisdom we have picked up along our life paths. Whether your vehicle is a poem or a song, now’s a great opportunity to share our true messages. 

Museum setting with a mannequin in the foreground and mid-ground, each dressed in white robes. Crowd of museum goers in the background.
Photo/ Chris Gutierrez

As I’m sure each of us is aware, the world seems to be in a state of flux. We have a global pandemic, social movements locally and globally, and frequently I feel that many people are gravitating toward the perspective of “out of sight, out of mind.” These factors can be seen locally at Florida State with the university’s hesitancy toward removing the Eppes statue. The university moved the statue from Westcott to a less prominent location on campus, creating a literal parallel for out of sight, out of mind (although you can still stand from where the Eppes statue was beforehand, and see where it is currently.)  In our country as a whole, as well as locally, we have seen countless occurrences of silence and turning a blind eye toward experiences of police brutality and actions motivated through racist pillars of beliefs. Lastly, to tie it all together, it has been quite eye-opening to see our government mobilize during protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement but do nearly the opposite during the harsh, unpleasant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to talk about these things, to no longer be silent. Otherwise, it feels selfish not to do so. 

These factors, along with many more, drive our call to action as the ACC Storytellers, are why it is so important for you to share your story now. We want to hear your stories and offer you the platform to share them with others; be it anonymously or with your name attached, your story is ever-powerful.

We’ll be collecting submissions until early August and will be featuring submissions on the Center’s instagram @thecenterfsu.

Frequently, I feel that my story has been told by someone else. Whether that is through news platforms misrepresenting some of the identities I carry, or interactions with friends/family when our differing perspectives collide, a story brings the potential to be mistold when it does not leave the lips of those who live it. So here are a few prompts to share how you see the world. 

In Stephen King's On Writing, he states: "Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all...as long as you tell the truth." Although King discusses writing specifically, you can choose your medium of sharing. How do you want to share a way that King’s statement harmonized with the way you think, feel, or act? What is your truth?

  • What is your biggest struggle in life? 
  • How do you make time to celebrate yourself?
  • What story of yours deserves to be heard?
  • What is your deepest fear?
  • Tell us about what makes you happy.
  • What is the core meaning of your life?
  • How are you processing the current state of the world?
  • How are you using your platforms and spaces to share your story?
  • What would the first line of your story be? The last line?

I believe questions with these types of ideas would give the foundation of what virtually any story is or could be. If one of these spark your interest, I'd recommend stopping and reflecting a bit. If none of these invoked a "wave of passion" over you, that is okay (it’s important to express acceptance during the pleasant and unpleasant times.) Share about what kindles your fire for life. I know you can do it. I believe in you. 

Share Your Story


— Chris Gutierrez, 2020 ACC Leadership Symposium delegate

My name is Chris (He/Them), one of the 2020 ACC Leadership Symposium delegates. I like turtles, reading, cooking, nature, yoga and meditation. If you haven’t seen our posts on @thecenterfsu, check out our awesome work on Instagram! We also have a highlight going of our previous stories, just in case you missed them. 

Anyways, here’s one of my favorite poems, for when the times get hard or when the times get good.