Let’s turn our endless field of human
truth into a feast of freedom.
Come, share your priceless life
and its meaning with us.
Let us gather in the old ways,
to bring forth new days.

Freedom Project
is a global initiative of Jaiya John and Soul Water Rising to revive the griot (community storyteller) tradition and sacred community gathering practices, manifest ancestral wisdom, and fertilize collective healing. Our principal youth, adult, and elder storytellers serve in harvesting, telling, teaching, and documenting roles. We harvest personal and collective freedom stories and testimonies from marginalized voices through writing, videos, audio, and photographs. This includes storytelling in the form of artwork, song, dance, and performance. We also teach and document traditional gatherings and storytelling.

Freedom Project is building a library of soulful stories to be shared through our websites and social media channels. The stories can also be used by students for projects and qualitative research, and by community change agents for special events, creative and educational projects, and advocacy work. Freedom Project partners with individuals and groups working to liberate marginalized voices in communities, systems, and societies, and with those who care to rehabilitate the ways we as humans gather in modern life to learn, heal, and build together.

One of the most powerful forms of activism is you speaking on behalf of your singular life. Your story is not what has happened to you. It is the meaning you have gathered from what has happened to you. Social change is not a mystical secret. It begins as a seed of you encountering you, and finding yourself worthy of a healthy life. Those who want to control you first attempt to take your voice. Personal testimony is a rebuttal against prejudice, stigma, and stereotype. Telling your truth is a tonic for oppression and disempowerment. Sharing your story offers a window through which people better understand you, your community, and your cultural reality. Your story can also help others find their story.

Freedom Project is also interviewing young people, adults, elders, and community leaders worldwide, to create feature videos and audio. We act to preserve marginalized culture, history, and ways of being and seeing. These are freedom stories. Freedom songs. We are devoted to collective human healing, and to inspiring people everywhere to learn to see themselves and one another clearly, sacredly, and compassionately. We are not concerned with comforting or enabling the status quo, or with empty rhetoric about sameness. Instead, we honor your purposeful uniqueness. We care only to participate in a new era of human wellness, equity, and liberation. This is our harvesting of truth and beauty.



We are particularly interested in freedom stories and testimonies from marginalized voices that describe ancestral healing, overcoming oppression, or cultural empowerment. Submit your written story or testimony of 300 WORDS OR LESS in an email body to Please include a high resolution, quality photo of yourself that expresses your personality. People meaningful to you can be included in the photo. Include your name, city and country, and Instagram handle if you have one. You may also post on your own Instagram your photo or video (song, dance, artwork, performance), include your story in the caption, and tag #jaiyajohn and #freedomproject. We curate stories for fit with Freedom Project, and we accept stories that are honoring of others and respectful in language. Your submission serves as your permission for us to share your expression and image on our websites, social media, and in our Freedom Project materials. Stories shared on Instagram (@jaiyajohn), at, and through our Soul Blossom literary journal.


1) Encourage others to submit their own written story or testimony, and point them to for details. We would especially cherish hearing from young people, elders, community leaders, people of traditional cultural ways, and those working for freedom and liberation.

2) Share project-relevant impromptu stories of interesting people you meet in the world, including their personal details and photo if you can take it, or have them send one to you. Submit to us at

3) Gather by email stories about any particular focus relevant to our project (incarcerated, Indigenous, refugee, or survivor voices, for example), and email them to us along with subject personal details and photo at

4) Invite Freedom Project to visit your village, community, campus, program, or special event for a traditional gathering, storytelling, and story-teaching for social change. We can work together to identify funding, gathering space, and to address other logistics. Email us an invitation!


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