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Weaving Our Stories: A Return to Belonging, edited and introduced by Luanna Peterson, is a book sewn seamlessly of art and heart. Every story stands bravely alone but is a part of the gripping whole. These are survivor stories, and they aren’t easy to tell. But that’s the point, isn’t it? The message will come home to you, as it did so beautifully to me. — Debra Lape, author of Looking for Lizzie – The True Story of an Ohio Madam, Her Sporting Life and Hidden Legacy and Factory Girl in the Rubber City – The Journal of Mary Cable.
Weaving Our Stories is a Hawaii-rooted abolitionist program that utilizes storytelling as a vehicle for liberation. Our mission revolves around teaching storytelling as an act of resistance, dismantling harmful existing narratives, and nurturing our ability to weave counter-narratives that acknowledge and celebrate the inherent beauty and brilliance within our storytellers. Through our stories, we advocate for justice and liberation.
This anthology follows the trail of esteemed works such as “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings of Radical Women of Color” and “Na Wahine Koa: Hawaiian Women for Sovereignty and Demilitarization.” This anthology includes poetry, essays, visual art, and narratives penned by authors and artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color from Hawaii and beyond. While our contributors span a diverse spectrum of experiences and identities, they all share a common commitment to individual and collective well-being. Our contributors astutely showcase how their expressions of resistance and liberation, whether through visual art or written text, align with one or more of the central themes of Weaving Our Stories: resistance through cultural memory, accountability, resisting false binaries, and countering hegemony.
In tandem with the community collection of stories that revolve around resistance, this anthology also highlights the remarkable achievements of our six accomplished Black youth organizers. These young individuals dedicated a year to the Weaving Our Stories Youth Series during the pandemic, delving into the power and relevance of storytelling in our journey of resistance and liberation. Each of the six youth activists provides an overview of their Community Impact Design Projects.
These culminating endeavors addressed community issues by proposing interventions that harness our resistance themes and our three Pillars of Liberation—namely, institutions, structures/methodology, and people.
This anthology offers celebrations of our triumphs, our joys, and our unwavering resilience. Simultaneously, they advocate for our ongoing resistance, insisting on justice and a sincere confrontation with the often-overlooked lived experiences that deserve acknowledgment.