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At home, there’s food and medicine scarcity. There’s hyperinflation and there’s corruption. At home, insecurity and crime are the ordinary. In Caracas, Venezuela, crisis means avoidable deaths aren’t, in fact, being avoided. It means there isn’t freedom of speech nor a working democracy. At home, apathy is growing every single day, losing ourselves in our own lives, contexts and conditions, holding us back from reaching out to the other. At home, fighting for social justice isn’t preferable, it’s an urgent and fundamental necessity.
Two years ago I founded EPIX, a social and cultural enterprise that reconnects Venezuelans with each other through our experiences, emotions and stories. We use the Arts as a bridge to connect people. By uncovering the portraits and testimonies of hundreds of Venezuelan daily lives we are narrating a different side of our very harsh and difficult reality. We are showing not only the struggles, but the deeply rooted values and traditions we all as a community share.
We do all this through storytelling. Because stories bring people together. Stories recognize each of our own realities and put us together towards improving, enhancing and creating a fairer place to live. Stories foster social justice. That’s what storytelling does. It builds real, human bonds. Ultimately, it goes beyond creating awareness, stories create empathy and in empathy we are in a great place to tackle big, complex injustices.
Social justice means going from indifference to empathy. From apathy to empathy. And empathy leads to action. The way we tell ourselves what our stories are, shape and define us. It isn’t just about the events, but how we tell them. There’s a word in Spanish spelled “convivir” which misleadingly translates as “coexist”. But it goes beyond coexisting, it literally means “living together”. For me that’s social justice. Even though our realities might be different, unfair or unequal, we should not only coexist, but strive to get to know, understand and care for the other. Strive to live together. When we relate we care, and when we care we react. And telling the right stories in the right way go a long way of helping us achieve a better and just world.
Back home the struggles are real and the challenges massive, but choosing how we tell the stories of our reality can have a significant impact on fighting for social justice. By focusing on what connects us and brings us together, rather than simply the events and the suffering, we go a step further into resolving these very critical issues our communities face.
Epix’s work to build culture and be a reference for all Venezuelans is contributing to the following Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
EPIX joined Impact Hub Caracas one year ago and has been a crucial platform for constructing and shaping their business. Impact Hub has been a game changer for EPIX. You can read more about them at www.epix.com.ve/english or follow EPIX on Facebook and Instagram @epix.ve
Photo credit: IniRod