Hear Our Stories digital storytelling project launches new website

December 17, 2014

Photos: Aline Gubrium (left) and Betsy Krause (right)

Aline Gubrium, Associate Professor of Community Health Education, and Elizabeth Krause, Professor of Anthropology, have announced the launch of the Hear Our Stories website. Funded by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, Hear Our Stories is a digital storytelling project that uses new media to reveal how young parenting Latinas, in particular, experience and negotiate sexual health disparities.

The website collects dozens of powerful stories from young parenting Latinas about the deep obstacles they face – from harmful stigma to poverty to lack of opportunity – as well as about their profound love as parents, and their abiding creativity and resilience. The site also features key research, news about upcoming events, and more.

“The Hear Our Stories project was designed with a strategic communications component in mind,” states Gubrium. “We are thrilled to get this work off the ground, which is the result of two years of research, training and organizing work with the project storytellers, graduate students, and partners.”

Conversations around teen pregnancy often focus on stigma and shame. “Stigma is cruel,” says Krause. “Shame campaigns silence young parents and exacerbate inequities. By taking on this tough topic, Hear Our Stories opens up a space to talk about the real lives of young moms and their families.”

Adds Gubrium, “The needs and realities of parenting young women are virtually invisible in adolescent sexual health discourse – except when stigmatized as a cautionary tale to prevent teen pregnancy. Hear Our Stories helps eliminate stigma and shame by empowering them to reshape conversations on these issues by inserting their voices and lived experience through digital storytelling. Our website is used as a mechanism for amplifying storytellers’ voices – to connect with academics, policymakers and public stakeholders, and for peer-to-peer outreach with other young parents – as well as to disseminate project-based findings.”

Visit the website at http://www.umass.edu/hearourstories/ to learn more about the project.