main banner

Stories Build Bridges

When the story ends and the tellers voice is silenced, the bridge between teller and listener remains…

~ Elaine Blanchard

solid color section

Ubuntu Storytellers’ concerts, workshops and retreats are designed to meet you where you are & walk with you to where you want to be

Deepen empathy to increase understanding of impact of racism in your workplace or community.

Increase awareness of your unconscious paradigms, policies and behaviors that may create exclusionary environments.

Know what you as an individual and/or company can do to help "...bend the moral arc towards justice."

Tutu Quote

“You might have much of the world’s riches, and you might hold a portion of authority, but if you have no ubuntu, you do not amount to much…”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

We Tell Stories v2

We Tell Stories

Stories of “being” and of being in the black and brown skin we’re in.

Stories that engage and open our collective hearts.

Stories that deepen our empathy and inspire us to be different, to make a difference.

Special Testimonial

“Your stories changed me – in ways I didn’t know I could or needed to be. Thank you.”

– Charles Martin, Ph.D.

Programs & Workshops

Programs and Workshops

Storytelling Concerts

  • Stories are curated to meet the learning objects of each client
  • Stories are performed by multiple tellers
  • Story performance is 75- 90 minutes
  • Content is a mix of stories of “being” and stories of “being in the skin we’re in”
  • Performances are followed with question and answer, meet the cast.

Contact us to tell us your needs – we listen


Workshops

  • Deepening the Empathy: Facilitated dialogue, exercises and/or simulations to process the impact of shared stories and examine the role of our identity development on our practices.
  • Hearing Our Voices: Story development workshops: Staff and/or board uncover, hear and share their own stories of cultural paradigm formation and learn of others; client, coworker, neighbor. Facilitated dialogue and exercises provide a safe space to witness the impact of these learned norms on the group cohesion and effectiveness.
  • So What? Now What? Now we know it, what are we going to do about it? For staff and board leadership to develop more responsive policies and practices which serve your agency’s mission more sensitively and responsibly.

Contact us to tell us your needs – we listen


Retreats

  • Ubuntu Storyteller Retreats are for those who want movement, action, change, results. Move from opened heart to head to hand in a relaxing, and energized environment. This time away from the daily routine and geography allows for participants to go deeper, faster. Deep dive results-driven format fosters movement from awareness to brainstorming concrete action.
  • Retreats are designed following client consultation and needs assessment. Desired outcomes are defined and curriculum is designed to foster those results.
  • Ubuntu Storytellers offers full service retreat accommodations. We can arrange all facility and logistical needs or workshop details only.

Contact us to tell us your needs – we listen


Purpose, are, process

Our purpose: is to open our collective hearts through empathic listening, to engage in respectful honest dialogue to be moved to change. Individual change, policy change, communal change and societal change. We believe story is the pathway to heart awakenings.

Who we are: Ubuntu Storytellers, an ensemble of experienced black, brown and biracial performers tell stories of “being” as well as of “being in the skin we’re in.” You will hear personal stories that reflect our joys and triumphs and disappointments. Poignant stories, funny stories. Stories of being human. You will also hear stories about encounters with racism, prejudice, micro aggression. Often one story encompasses both realities.

Our Process: Story concerts are followed by discussion and/or workshop opportunities to process what our hearts have heard, invite us to progress to increased understanding and continue to examine and challenge our individual behaviors, organizational policies and practices.

In this climate of heightened awareness of institutionalized racism, social inequity and white privilege, provoking both tensions and interest; storytelling is uniquely positioned to bring people together in an environment of co-respectful telling and listening.

Purpose, are, process

Our purpose: is to open our collective hearts through empathic listening, to engage in respectful honest dialogue to be moved to change. Individual change, policy change, communal change and societal change. We believe story is the pathway to heart awakenings.

Who we are: Ubuntu Storytellers, an ensemble of experienced black, brown and biracial performers tell stories of “being” as well as of “being in the skin we’re in.” You will hear personal stories that reflect our joys and triumphs and disappointments. Poignant stories, funny stories. Stories of being human. You will also hear stories about encounters with racism, prejudice, micro aggression. Often one story encompasses both realities.

Our Process: Story concerts are followed by discussion and/or workshop opportunities to process what our hearts have heard, invite us to progress to increased understanding and continue to examine and challenge our individual behaviors, organizational policies and practices.

In this climate of heightened awareness of institutionalized racism, social inequity and white privilege, provoking both tensions and interest; storytelling is uniquely positioned to bring people together in an environment of co-respectful telling and listening.

About Ubuntu v2

About Ubuntu

“You might have much of the world riches, and you might hold a portion of authority, but if you have no ubuntu, you do not amount to much…”

~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

This African proverb reveals a world view that we owe our selfhood to others, that we are first and foremost social beings, that, if you will, no man/woman is an island, or as the African would have it, “One finger cannot pick up a grain.” Ubuntu is, at the same time, a deeply personal philosophy that calls on us to mirror our humanity for each other. To the observer, ubuntu can be seen and felt in the spirit of willing participation, unquestioning cooperation, warmth, openness, and personal dignity demonstrated by the indigenous black population…William E. Flippin, Jr., Contributor Advocate for justice, ecumenist, grassroots organizer SAYS IN Applying African Philosophy in Building Community PUB.2012

Read About Ubuntu

Our Team

Meet Some of Our Team Members

Our ensemble features black, brown and multiracial storytellers. They will engage you in a slice of their life. See what others have said about them in the testimonials below. Facilitators make up the rest of the team. They are multi-ethnic, multi-racial, mega talented and like the tellers – super human beings. You will be glad that you have had the opportunity to share space with them and explore together the stories that shape us, define us and when we take time to hear the stories; strengthen and unite us. Ubuntu

Denise Manning Keyes

Denise Manning Keyes

Executive Director, Denise, is a writer, storyteller and facilitator in the field of social justice, diversity and inclusion and dismantling racism...Read More

Cynthia W. Rojas

Cynthia W. Rojas

Cynthia's love of storytelling shines through in all she does. A life enthusiast, Cynthia tells personal stories that take an audience...Read More

Reverand Kevin Ewing

Reverand Kevin Ewing

RevKev has been telling stories all his life, but never thought of himself as a storyteller. It was only recently that he realized...
Read More

JEZRIE MARCANO-COURTNEY

JEZRIE MARCANO-COURTNEY

Jezrie Marcano-Courtney (She/Her/Hers) is the host of storytelling series, SPEAK?Easy: Stories 4 Humanity on Facebook. As a storyteller...
Read More

IfeMichelle Gardin

IfeMichelle Gardin

Throughout her life, IfeMichelle has been committed to connecting her passion for culture and arts and enhancing the quality of life...Read More

Testimonials

W. Sebastian

They created a safe space to engage in self – reflection and authentic dialogue. We heard stories that resonated with each of us; regardless of racial, ethnic or socio – economic identity.

Foxwoods International

I could listen to (her) all day. She draws you in and takes you places you’ve never been. I mean not just geography but soul. A rewarding and provocative story listening experience.

Pat Lore

Love your tonality and I can feel your heart. Amazing voice quality.

Aditya Guthey

You are able to emotionally engage me with the delivery and storytelling. Truly, amazing job!

Beautiful storytelling - emotional, real, loving. Your personality and humor really shine

Brandon Eastman

What a beautiful and DESCRIPTIVE story, Denise. I was THERE. When you brought the conflict, I FELT the pain. When you described the beautiful scenes, I was there, too.

Jen Acuna

You caught and held my attention the whole time. I wanted to cry with you when you received that postcard but celebrated with you when you described your achievements so well.

Anne Garland

Denise powerful story - I felt your pain and I was with you all the way - you gave me goosebumps. WOW! You are a story teller with class- loved every word.

Charles Martin, Ph.D.

Your stories changed me – in ways I didn’t know I could or needed to be. Thank you.

Dr. Dorothy Martin Neville

You are the gift you are bringing

Ledyard High School

Thanks so much for such a successful workshop. It was an enjoyable and awakening experience …even the most threatened teachers warmed up to your genuine and easy style.

Association of Bridal Consultants

Your presentation met their needs and surpassed their expectations!

Connecticut Historical Commission

The Commission completed its diversity training this morning. I wanted to let you know the staff has been extremely complimentary of the program, especially the trainers. The program was both informative and fun. We wouldn’t hesitate to hire you again.

Mitchell College

I appreciated the supportive environment (the trainers) created and their energy kept my attention (not easy to do) while I confronted some uncomfortable, yet provocative truths. Thank you for opening this door to my cultural lenses and to previously unacknowledged racist thoughts and practices.

Pine Point School

Let me thank you for your lively and sincere presentation at our faculty staff retreat. I learned so much in those few hours . . . a number of important doors opened inside me as I listened and pondered. One of the best “in service” workshops I have ever attended.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.