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Baltimore Stories: Narrative 4 Story Exchange

An important way the humanities can be used to transform narratives is by evoking empathy. This event included Narrative 4, a nonprofit that fosters “fearless hope through radical empathy;” Baltimore Police, along with approximately 70 high school students from ConneXions School for the Arts, Frederick Douglass High School, and Coppin Academy High School on the Coppin State University campus.

Narrative 4 promotes the exchange of stories as a way to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes. As Narrative 4 founder Colum McCann has said, “Stories are the most democratic things we have. They cross all sorts of borders. They cross gender boundaries, geography, issues of wealth and belonging. We all have a deep need to tell them and we also have a deep need to listen. They make us whole. They give us value. And they can be dangerous too – they can be manipulated or twisted or appropriated. But in the end we all have to tell our stories. It’s the only really true democracy we have.”

The Baltimore Stories project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Maryland Humanities, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.


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