Stories for Choice - TMI Project
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january 22, 2022
(the 49th anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade)
7 PM, EST on Zoom

Stories for Choice: Radically True Storytelling for Reproductive Justice

Free with a suggested donation of $25

CALL FOR STORIES FOR CHOICE!

Do you have a Story for Choice to share? Then we want to hear from you!
Applications are accepted until September 15, 2021. Click below to learn more and apply.

CALL FOR STORIES FOR CHOICE!

Do you have a Story for Choice to share? Then we want to hear from you! Applications are accepted until September 15, 2021. Click below to learn more and apply.

Stories for Choice uses radically true stories that include the TMI parts we usually keep to ourselves because of fear, shame, stigma, or cultural expectation — to ignite human connection, challenge the status quo, and inspire storytellers and listeners alike to take action for true reproductive justice. 

Despite the progress made over the decades, threats to true reproductive justice are stronger than ever. Starting in October 2021, the Supreme Court will hear a case arising from a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. They are likely to deliver a decision at the start of the 2022 midterm elections. The outcome of the case could undermine Roe v. Wade and guarantees the abortion debate will remain a critical issue for both conservatives and liberals.

That said, choice is not just about abortion and/rights; it’s about comprehensive, safe, accessible reproductive healthcare for all who need/want it, to make whatever choice they choose.

Did you know that:

  • The pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black people who can get pregnant, with at least a college degree, is 5.2 times that of their white counterparts.
  • LGBTQ people experience major disparities in sexual and reproductive health care and worse health outcomes than the population overall. All people who are capable of becoming pregnant—which may include queer women, transmasculine and nonbinary people—may have a need for full-spectrum pregnancy, family planning, and abortion care.
  • Latinx-identified people who can become pregnant experience multiple barriers to healthcare, including contraception and reproductive care which can result in lack of access to affordable preventive screenings, such as Pap smears, mammograms, and tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Aug 9 – Sept 15, 2021:
Call for Storytellers

oct 1, 2021:
Storytellers Confirmed

november – january:
TMI Project online true storytelling workshop for accepted applicants

Storytelling is an important strategic component of organizing and movement building. It distills the message of a movement into understandable and relatable human experiences. Social justice movements take time. Because there is no one type of action alone that leads to affecting change, it’s necessary to be strategic and employ a variety of approaches. More than studies and statistics and articles in the news, storytelling has the power to open hearts and change minds, by fostering identification. The ripple effect can be exponential, in the best cases transforming the minds of leaders, inspiring them to change their ideas, practices, and policies.

August 9 – September 15, 2021:
Call for Storytellers

October 1, 2021:
Storytellers Confirmed

November-January: 
TMI Project online true storytelling workshop for accepted applicants

January 22, 2022:
On the anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade, the workshop series will culminate in Stories for Choice — a night of true storytelling live on zoom and accessible to an international audience.

WORKSHOP LEADERS

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Hayley Downs
Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

“When I first heard the words ‘TMI Project’ I thought, ‘What is that? I want to do that!’ I knew that any group that valued ‘too much information’ enough to make it a ‘project’ of it were people that I had to know.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, podcast producer, and documentary filmmaker. She produced, edited, and co-wrote seasons one and two of the TMI Project Podcast. She produced the documentary film, Hidden Battles, which was directed by Victoria Mills, about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers. She also produced and broadcast edited Naturally Obsessed: the Making of a Scientist, a film about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Her installations and experimental films: Move, Coleslaw Wrestling and Boar Hog, exploring multi-generational Florida folk culture, have shown at underground film festivals including NY, Chicago and SF, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and Art Basel. She lives in Kingston, New York with her husband and a small brood of furless beasts.

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Dara Lurie
Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

“I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories. If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.

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Perla Ayora
Pronoun: She/Her

“We immigrants have stories that have been quiet for a long time and now there is finally a safe space where they can be heard. An immigrant has a lot to say about discrimination and culture but also about values, family, learning and justice. Writing your story brings you closer to freedom.”

“Nosotros los inmigrantes tenemos historias que han sido calladas por mucho tiempo y ahora por fin hay un espacio seguro donde pueden ser escuchadas. Un inmigrante tiene mucho que decir sobre discriminación y cultura pero también sobre valor, familia, aprendizaje y justicia. Escribir tu historia te acerca a la libertad.”

Perla is a stand-up comedian who enjoys writing songs, poems, essays, and… jokes. Her creativity and love of expression helps to elevate the many diverse voices of Radio Kingston by broadcasting their shows live from various locations throughout Kingston. She is a radio host and the co-producer of “Tokens Inc”. A dark comedy web series about tokenism. Originally from Yucatan, Mexico, Perla was drawn to Kingston for its lively art, music, and comedy scene – but loves that she can also chill at a BBQ or a taquiza with her neighbors.

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Kiebpoli Calnek
Pronoun: They/He/She/+

“Working with TMI Project feels like divine guidance. It is humbling to have the opportunity to engage with brave participants, helping them express their true stories, For me, it was transformational to capture and share my story, the Black Trans narrative, in all its raw authenticity and wisdom. This crucial work enriches the spirit of the performer with a platform for their truth and provides a unique window of reflection for the viewer.”

Kiebpoli Calnek, a non-binary queer Black creative from NYC/Lenapehoking, has generated nuanced performances and creative direction seeped in poetic somatic elements for over two decades. Their social enterprise, Black*Acrobat, produces interdisciplinary programming sharing stories of, for, and with fringe communities, celebrating authentic visions and viewpoints through research, access, and collaboration. They were covered in Essence and contributed, “How It Feels… To Be An Aerial Acrobat” to Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. While living out West, Kiebpoli nurtured film, stage, and literary relationships and in 2018, the concept of Queer & Trans Love Stories (“cuties”) was born at a writing residency in New Mexico’s Peñasco mountains. Kiebpoli’s works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astraea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. They are a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association. kiebpoli.com

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Raine Grayson
Pronoun: He/Him/His

“TMI Project does the exact kind of work that the world needs. From the moment I learned about them I wanted to contribute to the way they spread outstanding courage, community, and kindness. TMI Project makes the world a more honest, open place and I am honored to be given the chance to help foster and facilitate their mission.”

Raine Grayson is a multi-genre writer whose work focuses on exploring and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community. He specializes in social action theatre and also dabbles in academic essays and creative non-fiction. He founded “Queeries Blog” – a space for queer artists to publish their work freely. He’s worked with The TMI Project before in conjunction with the Trevor Project for “Life Lines: Queer Stories Of Survival”. He’s spoken his suicide survival story on nationally streaming platforms for Trevor Live in support of their suicide prevention chat line. His nonfiction work can be found featured at Queeries Blog, Go Magazine, The Paragon Press, Weasel Press, and soon So Say We All’s magazine “The Whole Alphabet”. His playwriting has been featured by The Playwriting Collective, The Tank, NY Madness, KIT Theatre, The Rosendale Theatre, and Virtual Theatre Collaboration. He is a recipient of the SUNY Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award for his playwriting, as well as being recognized as a runner-up for the The Playwriting Collective’s Ball Grant. If you’d like to queer up your timeline, find him on social media @rainerpism.

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Blake Pfeil
Pronoun: He/Him/His

“It’s humbling to be part of a mission committed to exploring the cultural dynamics of intersectionality. For centuries, the art of true storytelling has allowed for unheard voices to find an audience and untold stories to come to light. In a day and age when truth is constantly under fire, there is hope when all kinds of marginalized voices are able to find platforms like TMI Project to share common ground.”

Blake Pfeil is a multidisciplinary performance artist whose original songwriting and theatrical work has been featured in notable stints at Joe’s Pub, Feintstein’s/54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, the Highline Ballroom, NY Live Arts, Kasteel Well (Well, Netherlands), Icaro Teatro (Queretaro, Mexico), Gyeonggi English Village (Paju, South Korea), Concordia College, Emerson College, Purchase College, the National YoungArts Foundation, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Huntington Theatre Company, New Repertory Theatre, BSP Kingston, Denizen Theatre, among others. Blake’s debut album Wallpaper is available anywhere you can stream/buy music online, and his Joni Mitchell-inspired theatrical creation THE BBC, 1970 is in its fourth developmental workshop. Blake is also one of the cofounders of NYC-based folk-fusion collective Macabre Americana, hosts “The Pfeil File” on Radio Kingston / WKNY (107.9 FM / 1490 AM in the Hudson Valley), and currently serves as Operations & Programs Manager at TMI Project. BFA, Emerson College; MA, Purchase College.

Read Stories for Choice

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If your organization, school, or business believes in true reproductive justice, TMI Project wants to partner with you.

Become a Program Partner:
(free)

  • Promote outreach for both storytellers and audience members.
  • Offer post-performance activism and educational resources.
  • Host viewing parties of the live performance.

Become a Business Sponsor:
(variety of levels)

  • Brand your business as an investor of social responsibility
  • Digital ad placement, verbal “stage” acknowledgments, and your logo displayed on sponsorship page in Zoom “Waiting Room” of the performance
  • Logo on ALL Materials 
  • Additional Digital Mentions
    • Blog post interviews 
    • Social media shoutouts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
    • Linked logo in our monthly E-newsletter

Help Spread the Word

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Sample Copy:

TMI Project launched a call for storytellers for Stories for Choice, a true storytelling program that will feature a ten-session writing workshop and culminating live performance on January 22, 2022, the 49th anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade. Choice, as we see it, means access to safe reproductive healthcare for everyone, for any outcome they choose.  All selected participants receive $500. Learn more and apply (through Sept 15):
https://www.tmiproject.org/storiesforchoice/
#StoriesForChoice #ReproductiveJustice #MyBodyMyChoice #ReproductiveRights #ProChoice #RoeVsWade #TMIProject #Storytelling

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