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

Stories for Choice: Radically True Storytelling for Reproductive Justice

Free with a suggested donation of $25

produced by TMI Project and Joan Lonergan

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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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.

Read Stories for Choice

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STORYTELLERS

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Eugenia Cabrera
Pronoun: She/Hers
Carmel, NY

“I believe in a person’s freedom over their own mind and body. I joined Stories for Choice because it took me years not to feel guilty for deciding not to have children. Maybe there are others out there who can identify with my story and feel less of their own shame.”

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Marissa Davis
Pronoun: She/Her
New York, NY

Stories that are uncomfortable to hear tend to go unspoken. I believe we should all be empowered to raise our voices and speak truthfully about the things we have endured, especially when they are not easy to swallow. I’m participating in Stories for Choice in the hopes that my story might inspire someone else to share their own.

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Leah Garden
Pronoun: She/Hers
Rydel, PA

 I grew up confused about what I was allowed to talk about. At 27, I am just now becoming comfortable with the idea that tampons (or my eco-friendly alternative period underwear Thinx) don’t have to be discreetly handled, or that my menstrual cramps aren’t what everyone else experiences. I joined Stories for Choice because I want to be part of the liberation of voices like mine, and I will proudly scream that from the rooftops.

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Cameran Hebb
Pronoun: She/Hers
Seattle, WA

When it comes to reproductive health and justice, I’ve always felt alone, insecure, anxious, and shameful. I joined Stories for Choice because I think storytelling creates one of the most intimate and universal human spaces to connect and feel less alone.

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Marie Holmes
Pronoun: She/Hers
New York, NY

I’m a mother, a teacher, and a writer, and my children are the center of my life. I want to tell my story about selective reduction because even an unlikely person (like me, a lesbian mom) needs access to abortion. Our stories are all so different, and yet they are all the same: we call the shots when it comes to our own bodies.

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Kindra
Pronoun: She/They
Charlotte, NC

I decided to participate in Stories for Choice because I believe that the only way we can make any headway in the fight for reproductive justice is if we lay it all out on the table. When I share my story, I hope others may find a kernel of truth that resonates in their own story.

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Maureen Paul
Pronoun: She/Hers
Wells, ME

I have been a long-time activist for reproductive justice. As a teen who became pregnant prior to Roe v Wade, I was forced to carry  my pregnancy to term and then relinquish the child. I decided to participate in Stories for Choice because I believe that stories, especially those involving stigmatized experiences such as abortion, can transform both the storyteller and the listener, acting as a powerful force for social change.

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Shernā Ann Phillips, PhD (“Dr. Nae” for short)

Pronoun: She/Hers
Morrow, GA

Many people suffer from infertility and are not afforded the rights to have biological children due to disparities that include a lack of resources, finances, education, insurance, or underlying health concerns. In joining Stories for Choice, it is my hope that the audience will take away some knowledge about infertility, an aspect of reproductive justice that is often overlooked/untold, especially in the African American Community.

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Se’era Spragley Ricks
Pronoun: She/Hers
Alexandria, VA

For years, I was conflicted about my choice to terminate my pregnancy at the age of 17. However, as a 30 year-old young woman, I’m no longer ashamed of my decision. I hope my performance in TMI Project’s Stories for Choice humanizes debates surrounding pro-choice.

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Tahyira Savanna

Pronoun: Tahyira
New York, NY

“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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Natalie Speakman
Pronoun: She/Hers
Travelers Rest, SC

I am joining the cast of Stories for Choice because I am queen of TMI, and I have a story to tell about choosing adoption over abortion. I hope that the audience will be moved by my story as well as be inspired to reflect on how the themes apply to their own lives.”

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

Become a Program Partner:
FREE PROGRAM OFFERING!!!
Host a Screening of Stories for Choice on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 2022

TMI Project will provide you with:

  • A FREE live virtual program of powerful true storytelling (valued at $3,000-$10,000)
  • Marketing materials — we will send you posters, social graphics, and sample emails to make promoting your event as effortless as possible
  • Tools to host a post-performance Q&A and community conversation
  • A Storytelling and Action Toolkit to share with your inspired audience

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

Access social media graphics, sample copy and the press release.

Stay in the know.

Sign up for our mailing to get the latest updates sent right to your inbox!

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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