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SF Gate on The Million Person Project

By Bruce Reyes-Chow

Bruce Reyes-Chow: "One of the people that I met was Heather Box, who along with [GFA's] Julian Mocine-McQueen, are part of a new project called The Million Person Project."

SFGate's Bruce Reyes-Chow interviews Heather Box about the project she's leading with GFA's Julian Mocine-McQueen.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you are doing and introduce The Million Person Project?

The Million Person Project is an international project about love, globalizing relationships and supporting change makers to share their stories and make their voices heard. Julian and I have been on the road now for five weeks and we have conducted fourteen workshops with change makers from over twenty countries including: Vietnam, Nigeria, Lesotho, Peru, Australia, Indonesia, the United States and many more.

In this workshop people learn to share their personal story in relationship to the work they do in order to inspire others to join their cause.  It is a public speaking technique that was develop by Harvard professor and long time community organizer Marshall Ganz.  The technique was made famous by Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention speech. Pulling from curriculum’s developed by Green For All and the New Organizing Institute, Julian and I have made adjustments to the curriculum to ensure that it is relevant to people from all over the world and most importantly that the curriculum allows the space and time to really dive deep into your history and to share and connect with other participants.

It isn’t everyday that we really get into conversations with strangers about what it is in our past that have influenced us to be the people we are and do the work we do. It is a powerful experience to go through with a group over eight hours. We have done the workshop with 17 to 75 year olds and the feedback we get across the board is wow, that was a really powerful process. Many note that it was intimidating to share your story in front of the crowd but it felt good.

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