Welcome to our Harvest Project Story Gallery, honoring personal and collective freedom stories and testimonies from marginalized voices around the world. We hope you enjoy and draw meaning, memory, healing, and inspiration from what our storytellers bring you.

 I started writing as part of my journey of healing, from living too long outside of my soul. Along the way, I discovered that my words held as much magic for others as they did for me. The more I wrote, the more the thin veil between the invisible and the visible lifted. From the crack, I heard my ancestors calling me to speak truth to this generation so that they could remember the divine essence of who they are.  Storyteller  I am a griot.  Storyteller, traveling poet, magic maker from the West Coast of Africa  Griot is the name my ancestors gave me I came here to remind you of who you are in a world that cannot see your value and erodes everything that makes you unique until you can barely recognize yourself  I stand to sing stories of who you used to be helping you remember that you are spirit with a purpose greater than anything you've been told.  Open your heart to receive my words Let them awaken you so that you can see the magic lost inside of you  Meanwhile, I will speak of your greatness until at last, my dear, you are able to remember.  Truth by LPS   Griot/Storyteller: Valerie Segui Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa @jesuisphenomenale

I started writing as part of my journey of healing, from living too long outside of my soul. Along the way, I discovered that my words held as much magic for others as they did for me. The more I wrote, the more the thin veil between the invisible and the visible lifted. From the crack, I heard my ancestors calling me to speak truth to this generation so that they could remember the divine essence of who they are.

Storyteller

I am a griot.

Storyteller,
traveling poet,
magic maker from the West Coast of Africa

Griot is the name my ancestors gave me
I came here to remind you
of who you are
in a world that cannot see your value
and erodes everything that makes you unique
until you can barely recognize yourself

I stand
to sing stories of who you used to be
helping you remember that
you are spirit
with a purpose greater than anything
you've been told.

Open your heart to receive my words
Let them awaken you
so that you can see the magic lost inside of you

Meanwhile, I will speak of your greatness
until at last, my dear, you are able to remember.

Truth by LPS


Griot/Storyteller:
Valerie Segui
Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa
@jesuisphenomenale

 It never dawned on me that I would stoop to a level this low in my life. Every time I thought that I was up (emotionally), I’d get back down. It was like a rollercoaster ride that I just couldn’t get off of. After contemplating on and on whether to end my life I had officially decided to end the relationship that I was in. We had rushed everything from sex to moving in to even planning our marriage. I had fallen in love with an image of who I thought the person was, rather than being patient and learning to love them for who they were. In the midst of this I was challenged multiple times with my sense of self and I lost it. My confidence, my drive, my ambition had all changed. Everything that I lived for appeared to not make sense. Why? For I never fed myself with nurturing words about how I should be loved, and replaced those with the thoughts of someone who didn’t love themselves. Those nurturing words hardly existed in my home either. My mother and grandmother never hugged each other or told each other “I love you”, and more importantly, my father never spoke to me that same way. I only received hugs and “I love you’s” from him after my built up frustrations, his attention was gravitated towards me on a non-consistent basis. My sense of self wrapped around separating myself from everyone and only loving myself. Approximately 8 months ago I bought Jaiya’s book “DAUGHTER DRINK THIS WATER” and it enlightened me towards the words of kindness that I never heard from anyone. Especially a man. It introduced me to ways that I can love myself and other women as well (I’ve struggled building healthy relationships with women). Every word and every page made me feel like I was worth something, and the people around me are worth something as well. I give many thanks to Jaiya, and as I heal myself through depression I always remember to give myself those hugs and I love you’s that aren’t practiced in my home, and to be kind to myself throughout this journey.  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Griot/Storyteller: Monae •  @_muladior   Michigan, USA roots Arizona, USA living ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

It never dawned on me that I would stoop to a level this low in my life. Every time I thought that I was up (emotionally), I’d get back down. It was like a rollercoaster ride that I just couldn’t get off of. After contemplating on and on whether to end my life I had officially decided to end the relationship that I was in. We had rushed everything from sex to moving in to even planning our marriage. I had fallen in love with an image of who I thought the person was, rather than being patient and learning to love them for who they were. In the midst of this I was challenged multiple times with my sense of self and I lost it. My confidence, my drive, my ambition had all changed. Everything that I lived for appeared to not make sense. Why? For I never fed myself with nurturing words about how I should be loved, and replaced those with the thoughts of someone who didn’t love themselves. Those nurturing words hardly existed in my home either. My mother and grandmother never hugged each other or told each other “I love you”, and more importantly, my father never spoke to me that same way. I only received hugs and “I love you’s” from him after my built up frustrations, his attention was gravitated towards me on a non-consistent basis. My sense of self wrapped around separating myself from everyone and only loving myself. Approximately 8 months ago I bought Jaiya’s book “DAUGHTER DRINK THIS WATER” and it enlightened me towards the words of kindness that I never heard from anyone. Especially a man. It introduced me to ways that I can love myself and other women as well (I’ve struggled building healthy relationships with women). Every word and every page made me feel like I was worth something, and the people around me are worth something as well. I give many thanks to Jaiya, and as I heal myself through depression I always remember to give myself those hugs and I love you’s that aren’t practiced in my home, and to be kind to myself throughout this journey.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Griot/Storyteller: Monae • @_muladior
Michigan, USA roots
Arizona, USA living ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

 I met Olga and Alex while out on a hike in Thousand Oaks, California. They were resting and talking atop a mountain peak under a sun soaked sky. I chose to have a human experience with them. They were shy about telling their story in English, so I offered to tell it for them. They are from Moscow, Russia, and currently reside in Los Angeles. They Love hiking. Olga said, "We Love the quiet out here in this area. It's not like the Hollywood Sign trail." She perked up when I mentioned the quiet beaches in this area, too. Sometimes freedom looks like a choice. Permission you give yourself to survive, exist, heal, and thrive. Let us celebrate the courage and life spirit of those who choose to immigrate, those forced to migrate, and those who simply care to experience more of this wide yet intimate world in their lifetime. From the vantage point of space, earth has no boundaries. From the vantage point of Creation, modern national boundaries are the uninspired delusion of men, while the brilliant oneness of this miraculous reality waits for us to see truly see it. Go forth and bring us your freedom stories. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Griots/Storytellers: Olga + Alex •  @olga_bozn  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Moscow, Russia ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Griot/Storyharvester:  @jaiyajohn

I met Olga and Alex while out on a hike in Thousand Oaks, California. They were resting and talking atop a mountain peak under a sun soaked sky. I chose to have a human experience with them. They were shy about telling their story in English, so I offered to tell it for them. They are from Moscow, Russia, and currently reside in Los Angeles. They Love hiking. Olga said, "We Love the quiet out here in this area. It's not like the Hollywood Sign trail." She perked up when I mentioned the quiet beaches in this area, too. Sometimes freedom looks like a choice. Permission you give yourself to survive, exist, heal, and thrive. Let us celebrate the courage and life spirit of those who choose to immigrate, those forced to migrate, and those who simply care to experience more of this wide yet intimate world in their lifetime. From the vantage point of space, earth has no boundaries. From the vantage point of Creation, modern national boundaries are the uninspired delusion of men, while the brilliant oneness of this miraculous reality waits for us to see truly see it. Go forth and bring us your freedom stories. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Griots/Storytellers: Olga + Alex • @olga_bozn ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Moscow, Russia ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Griot/Storyharvester: @jaiyajohn

 I am from New Orleans. Growing up, it was just me, my mother, and my brother. Then my step-dad came into the picture. I never knew my biological father. He only came around a few times and made me feel special, but then that was it. We were poor. My mom did her best to make ends meet. She is key as to why I do what I do. She tried her hardest but sometimes her hardest was cereal, but you know, that made me have a better perspective. You know, I think, what more could this world show me that I haven’t already seen? My mom got beat, I got beat, police, my older brother being gay and a black man in the south, you know, I have been through a lot but it’s everything that made me who I am. I’m 25 now and I am running my own program. It’s called Black Man Rising. It came from a vision I had that included me and my brothers, we all experienced a lot of pain and suffering growing up on so many levels. The program was our way of doing something with that pain. The program operates in schools and youth prisons in New Orleans, and serves young men in the juvenile justice system. Our programs organize against the systems pushing young people into the juvenile justice system. A key component is our program we call The Village. We do Healing Circles that are powerful. We have experienced some amazing things with these young men. We are partnered with Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), and together we offer leadership and organizing opportunities to the graduates of our Black Man Rising program. We help them begin to work through the tough things and the healing that is necessary before we send them up to lead and to speak about themselves and their journeys in those kind of settings in the communities.  Griot/Storyteller: @champ_bmr • Antonio New Orleans, Louisiana  Griot/Storyharvester: Adiya

I am from New Orleans. Growing up, it was just me, my mother, and my brother. Then my step-dad came into the picture. I never knew my biological father. He only came around a few times and made me feel special, but then that was it. We were poor. My mom did her best to make ends meet. She is key as to why I do what I do. She tried her hardest but sometimes her hardest was cereal, but you know, that made me have a better perspective. You know, I think, what more could this world show me that I haven’t already seen? My mom got beat, I got beat, police, my older brother being gay and a black man in the south, you know, I have been through a lot but it’s everything that made me who I am. I’m 25 now and I am running my own program. It’s called Black Man Rising. It came from a vision I had that included me and my brothers, we all experienced a lot of pain and suffering growing up on so many levels. The program was our way of doing something with that pain. The program operates in schools and youth prisons in New Orleans, and serves young men in the juvenile justice system. Our programs organize against the systems pushing young people into the juvenile justice system. A key component is our program we call The Village. We do Healing Circles that are powerful. We have experienced some amazing things with these young men. We are partnered with Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), and together we offer leadership and organizing opportunities to the graduates of our Black Man Rising program. We help them begin to work through the tough things and the healing that is necessary before we send them up to lead and to speak about themselves and their journeys in those kind of settings in the communities.

Griot/Storyteller: @champ_bmr • Antonio
New Orleans, Louisiana

Griot/Storyharvester: Adiya

 USING MY POWERS TO EMPOWER. KINAALDA STORY.  During my Kinaalda (Puberty Ceremony), I wore moccasins as I ran towards the East. I ran on the dirt roads of Prairie Dog Ranch in Delmurto, AZ (Navajo Nation). It was 1995 when I was greeted as a woman. I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. But those moccasins, made me feel like I had superpowers. In fact, I did have superpowers. I was blessed with songs of prayers for four days. These songs were sung by a respected Medicine Man. I stayed up all 4 nights, and only fell asleep 3 times (each night). Becoming a woman was hard work. I ran farther than the morning before and I wasn’t afraid of the dark. I even ran though a cactus and only cried for 2 minutes. I was so powerful that I stretched my relatives so that they could grow and take in all the blessings with me. I could do anything! Well, almost anything. I couldn’t play with my cousins, eat my cake that baked so beautifully under the ground, nor take a shower. You see, I was radiating with so much power and medicine, and those things would only take from my powers. So, I stayed by the Medicine Man’s side because this was MY ceremony. At 9 years old, I learned that I had to make sacrifices to protect my powers. Our lives are filled with ups and downs. Whenever I’m feeling that imbalance, I remember this day in 1995. The day that I earned superpowers and became a woman. I think about how resilient that 9-year-old was, is and can be. She is me; and I honor her by continuing to celebrate my superpowers.  Griot/Storyteller: Deonoveigh Mitchell Diné (Navajo) and African American Woman Roots: Chinle, Arizona, USA @Kaalogii_Kisses IG and FB

USING MY POWERS TO EMPOWER. KINAALDA STORY.

During my Kinaalda (Puberty Ceremony), I wore moccasins as I ran towards the East. I ran on the dirt roads of Prairie Dog Ranch in Delmurto, AZ (Navajo Nation). It was 1995 when I was greeted as a woman. I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. But those moccasins, made me feel like I had superpowers. In fact, I did have superpowers. I was blessed with songs of prayers for four days. These songs were sung by a respected Medicine Man. I stayed up all 4 nights, and only fell asleep 3 times (each night). Becoming a woman was hard work. I ran farther than the morning before and I wasn’t afraid of the dark. I even ran though a cactus and only cried for 2 minutes. I was so powerful that I stretched my relatives so that they could grow and take in all the blessings with me. I could do anything! Well, almost anything. I couldn’t play with my cousins, eat my cake that baked so beautifully under the ground, nor take a shower. You see, I was radiating with so much power and medicine, and those things would only take from my powers. So, I stayed by the Medicine Man’s side because this was MY ceremony. At 9 years old, I learned that I had to make sacrifices to protect my powers. Our lives are filled with ups and downs. Whenever I’m feeling that imbalance, I remember this day in 1995. The day that I earned superpowers and became a woman. I think about how resilient that 9-year-old was, is and can be. She is me; and I honor her by continuing to celebrate my superpowers.

Griot/Storyteller: Deonoveigh Mitchell
Diné (Navajo) and African American Woman
Roots: Chinle, Arizona, USA
@Kaalogii_Kisses IG and FB

 I AM WHOLE  In the earlier stages of my life, I had identified as “Half Navajo and Half Black”. My growth as a woman, has come the realization that the world HALF only separates my two cultures. When in reality, I am complete; I am whole because of both my Dine (Navajo) and African ancestors. I come from people who loved the land; and everything that grows from it. My people have a beautiful connection to nature, to animals, and to each other. My people feed each other. I come from people of ancient talents who share their knowledge and crafts. I come from people who love, who pray, who sing songs of medicine and happiness. I come from people wo dance to heal and celebrate. I come from people who have risen above oppression and continue to fight for our rights. My people are resilient. My people gather. We gather in celebration and in times of need. My people are here. I am not half of either of my cultures; nor I am I more of the other. From my brown skin, my high cheek bones, my thick curly hair, my brown eyes, my colorful spirit, my language, and from the art my heart creates, I am a perfect combination of both. Photo: Shima (my mother) gifted me this squash blossom necklace when I was 21. My wrap skirt and earrings are treasures I brought back from my trip to Lusaka, Zambia. This photo was captured by Jennifer Hubble Photography.  Griot/Storyteller: Deonoveigh Mitchell Diné (Navajo) and African American Birth Place: Navajo Nation Current: Phoenix, AZ, USA FB & IG: @Kaalogii Kisses

I AM WHOLE

In the earlier stages of my life, I had identified as “Half Navajo and Half Black”. My growth as a woman, has come the realization that the world HALF only separates my two cultures. When in reality, I am complete; I am whole because of both my Dine (Navajo) and African ancestors. I come from people who loved the land; and everything that grows from it. My people have a beautiful connection to nature, to animals, and to each other. My people feed each other. I come from people of ancient talents who share their knowledge and crafts. I come from people who love, who pray, who sing songs of medicine and happiness. I come from people wo dance to heal and celebrate. I come from people who have risen above oppression and continue to fight for our rights. My people are resilient. My people gather. We gather in celebration and in times of need. My people are here. I am not half of either of my cultures; nor I am I more of the other. From my brown skin, my high cheek bones, my thick curly hair, my brown eyes, my colorful spirit, my language, and from the art my heart creates, I am a perfect combination of both. Photo: Shima (my mother) gifted me this squash blossom necklace when I was 21. My wrap skirt and earrings are treasures I brought back from my trip to Lusaka, Zambia. This photo was captured by Jennifer Hubble Photography.

Griot/Storyteller: Deonoveigh Mitchell
Diné (Navajo) and African American
Birth Place: Navajo Nation
Current: Phoenix, AZ, USA
FB & IG: @Kaalogii Kisses