What is a Counterstory?

A counterstory tells of the experiences of oppression from the perspectives of those on the margins (e.g. people of color, LGBTQIA+ folkx, low-income communities, etc.). As uncomfortable as these stories might be, let us keep in mind those who directly experience this oppression. Mass media often deludes their reporting, framing stories to their advantage. By reporting on the discontinuity of stories from the perspectives of those on the margins, we are encouraged to question the stark reality of our current society. The ultimate intent of a counterstory is to educate, instill compassion, and embolden resistance.

Displaying those most marginalized stories is the first step to creating alternative values within our society today. From this, we can develop a language that holds values of seeking the truth and creating solutions for those most marginalized. Liberating those most marginalized will only liberate everyone else. As Angela Davis said, "the forward advance of women (people) of colour almost always indicates progressive change for all women (people)”. In other words, "we won't be free, until we are all free".  

We need to really educate ourselves with the issues that are affecting our community so that we can educate others around us. With the full narrative we will be able to do so, as it provides more than just a story, but actual knowledge. If we didn't have these stories we wouldn't have projects like the Innocence Project, which works to save those that have been wrongly accused and sentenced. Since its creation in 1992 to this day they have liberated thousands of people including those arrested, their family and community. We also have #SayHerName movement started by Kimberley Crenshaw that raises awareness for black female victims of police brutality, especially because they have been made invisible in the media.

These missing voices must be included in our media and we are here to do just that! We should not and will not limit ourselves to one sided story anymore. There is a need in today’s media to be able to see the full narrative, and not the one sided that make those marginalized either invisible or worse, hyper-visible in a negative way. These one sided stories are causing our communities to be divisive, just how those who uphold the status quo wants it. They want us to be divided so they can conquer as they are. We should, and will not let this happen anymore; counterstories will do exactly that! Let us not give into stereotypes that are produced by the mass media, especially when 90% of our media is owned by 6 companies. Let us stop being divided and unite as a community once again and love the next person as we love ourselves.