Story Project

An ongoing initiative at the IRI is the story-gathering project. We are meeting with different faith-based and social justice organizations, including refugee and immigrant communities, as well as Black and Latinx communities to interview and hear stories, creating space for a diverse array of voices. With increased violence towards marginalized groups, the public square is ever-changing. With this project, through story, we focus on providing tangible skill-building opportunities to help the public square function more as a place for everyone, not just the privileged few. Sharing personal narratives, that many can recognize themselves in, can be a powerful tool. 


Recognizing the importance of engaging ALL people on the urgent need to vote and be civically engaged, these videos were created by the InterReligious Institute in partnership with Black Voters Matter and Action Now Institute. We asked people to tell us why they vote on a self-recorded video and then we engaged spoken word artist Obbie West to create a voting spoken word piece for us. We hope you enjoy the results.

Spoken Word Artist: Obbie West IG: @obbiewest


These videos were created by the InterReligious Institute at CTS in partnership with Black Voters Matter and Action Now Institute. Edited by Alex Montalvo, Montalvo Productions. Spoken Word Artist: Obbie West IG: @obbiewest #vote


These videos were created by the InterReligious Institute at CTS in partnership with Black Voters Matter and Action Now Institute. Edited by Alex Montalvo, Montalvo Productions. Spoken Word Artist: Obbie West IG: @obbiewest #vote

Ramadan Roadtrip Video Series

In May 2019, during a week of Ramadan, the IRI traveled with partner Shoulder to Shoulder to Southeastern United States, as part of a “Ramadan Roadtrip”. IRI joined 5 interfaith community Iftar dinners in Raleigh, Nashville, Atlanta, Louisville and Washington, D.C., engaging with local Muslims and community leaders on the ideas of food, community and innovative interfaith work with the goal to counter anti-Muslim messaging and challenge the traditional interfaith model. On this trip, we collected stories and documented experiences from everyday people building an America where people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds are treated respectfully, fairly, and with dignity. Over 60 stories were gathered and six online videos have emerged from the work. We encourage you to view them, share them and use them to forward the conversation around us. You can also view a mini-documentary of the whole road trip here.

What Ramadan Means to Me

For many American Muslims, Ramadan is a month that holds religious, family, cultural, and deeply personal meaning, each informing how they share, reflect, and celebrate together. This video shows just a small sample of some of those meanings from those we encountered on our Ramadan Road Trip in 2019.

Food of Ramadan

The simple yet profound act of coming together to share a meal is a tradition that crosses all cultures, faiths, and communities. This video features some American Muslims we met on our Ramadan Road Trip in 2019, sharing their favorite foods of Ramadan, including lamb stew, dates, bean pie, sambosa, and IHOP!

Being A Better Ally

Building relationships and trust take time, humility, and intentional effort. This video, captured on our Ramadan Road Trip in 2019, gathers some reflections on how to be better allies.

"Social change moves at the speed of relationships. Relationships move at the speed of trust." - Rev. Jennifer Bailey

Good Practices for building community across difference

In this video we explore the practices that build resilient and diverse communities. These include: knowing your own values, building personal relationships across lines of difference, community mapping, strong public statements and actions and sharing stories. Check out our dialogue and activity guide that accompanies this video.

Being Muslim in America

In a climate of hate, our Muslim neighbors are struggling to maintain their sense of identity and strength based on their call to show courage, camaraderie, and compassion. The stories and interviews in this video show the raw emotions of what it means to struggle and to find strength with each other.

Interfaith Reimagined

Interfaith engagement is not a new phenomenon and neither is our ability to deepen meaningful dialogue, relationships, and collaboration. If we practice listening, learning how to agree and disagree or learning how to engage with a stranger or new community we will be building our empathy. With that empathy, deeper knowledge, compassion and courage, we build trust as we come alongside each other and support each other in times of crisis and in times of joy.

I Believe

The InterReligious Institute partnered with the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada. We set up a listening booth at the conference and met with about 100 people from different faiths, regions and backgrounds to engage them in conversation about their experience of living with and in their beliefs, whatever they may be. They shared stories of how their faith or beliefs manifest in this world, how important social justice issues are and how their beliefs shape how they move in this world.

I Believe

Partnering with Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Toronto in 2018, we asked storybooth participants: "What do you believe?" The answers illuminate the diversity of how we experience the world through faith and the ways those beliefs can shape the issues of today.

Faces of Parliament

A visual peek into the faces of Parliament and the power of story.


Welcome to our Story Project series: “Snapshots of America”. This was the precursor to the Ramadan Roadtrip video series found above. In this photo series, we are sharing glimpses of people we met on the RAMADAN ROADTRIP 2019 through their images and their own words. Find the full series on Facebook.

Snapshot #1
“The things I layed a foundation for she is in tune with and really taking it to the next level and it is really exciting for me as a mother.” Okolo Rashid, Co-Founder, International Museum of Muslim Cultures, Jackson, MS.  “I hope I make her proud in the work I do and continue in the huge footsteps she and my father have put forth in the work they do.” Aseelah Rashid, Co-Founder The Muslim Mix, Atlanta, GAWebsite
Snapshot #3
"I remember that moment when my daughter made the decision that she was going to go to school with the hijab on. I always thought that moment would be exciting and happy for me, but I remember looking at this young girl and having this feeling of dread wash over me and fear that something could happen." Rohina Malik, Chicago, IL
Snapshot #4
"It's hard for the immigrant population to get a platform to get their voices heard. And I realize as a first generation we Muslims almost have a duty to make sure our voices are heard. This is our home. Our roots are here now." Nai Oo, Atlanta, Georgia Muslim Voter Project.Website
Snapshot #5
"Clarkston to me, with all its diversity, represents the best of what America has to offer. We are a nation of immigrants. And in a place like Clarkston... You get to come up to the point of where you might be comfortable with what you know about the world and its people, and then you get to take one step forward." Mayor Ted Terry, Clarkston, GA
Snapshot #6
"I identify as black, Muslim and female. Being an intersectional Muslim, I'd say my other identities weigh heavily on that experience. If my identity is under attack, so is my faith. Being Muslim in America is being all those things while living out my faith. They are all intertwined." Amirah Kahera, Atlanta.Website
Snapshot #7
"We are the city of Thomas Merton & Muhammad Ali, great humanitarian and interfaith role models. Yes, we have challenges in our city. But I personally have found Louisville a very welcoming community... Together we have built a network of people of good will of all backgrounds and all faith communities. So whenever there is a tragedy, we all get together." Dr. Mohammed Babar, Louisville, KYWebsite
Snapshot #8
"One lady called me sunburnt. I'm like sunburnt, really? I love my African color. You know what? Just don't discriminate. People don't choose not to live in their own country. I tell you, America is hard." Manna, Clarkston, GAWebsite
Snapshot #2
"For me, relationship came before I was willing to reconsider the ideology. I went into a setting thinking I'm right. They're wrong. I'm going to politely listen until I get my chance to show them where they are wrong. But when I became invested emotionally in the relationship, in these people that I came to love, I discovered they are not what I was told they were." Martin Brooks, Peace Catalyst, Louisville, KY Website

Story Project Partners

Below are organizations we have partnered with for Story Project. We invite you to become one of our next Story Project partners. Click here to contact us for more information.

Action Now
Action Now Institute is a social justice organization that works to empower and educate Black communities in areas of civic engagement, policy, and social issues. We know how important it is for directly impacted communities to share their life experiences and have it inform policy that protects their communities.Website
Innercity Muslim Action Network
Fosters health, wellness, and healing in the inner-city by organizing for social change, cultivating the arts and operating a holistic health center. IMAN operates a health center; provides housing and job training for formerly incarcerated men; empowers local youth through leadership development, and inspire change through arts and culture programming.Website
Parliament of The World’s Religions
Helping the global interfaith movement for peace, justice and sustainability.Website
Upcoming Story Project Partner. More details coming soon...Website
Shoulder to Shoulder
An interfaith organization dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment by strengthening the voice of freedom and peace. Founded by over 20 national religious groups, they work not only on a national level, but offer strategies and support to local and regional efforts to address anti-Muslim sentiment and seek to spread the word abroad.Website
Syrian Community Network
Empowers Syrian refugees in achieving a seamless transition and relocation to the United States by connecting people to the right services and support networks.Website