Community members preserve their stories in Muddy Turtle Talks
Sharing personal stories, but in a different way — social impact storytelling is what Hannah Hasan calls it — is the idea of Muddy Turtle Talks, this Saturday at the Knight Gallery uptown. (No more tickets remain, but it’s scheduled to be live-streamed here.)
The evening, organized by Enderly Park-area nonprofit QC Family Tree, aims to help capture and preserve the stories of people living on Charlotte’s west side, in places vulnerable to gentrification and displacement. Storyteller Hasan works with QC Family Tree, where she says stories bubbled up at shared dinners: She adapted them into monologues and those are what will be presented live Saturday.
(The event’s name? Hasan says one translation of Tuckaseegee, a Native-American-named west-side road, is “muddy turtle.” Also on tap at the event are photographic backdrops by Canadian photographer/Roll Up resident artist Zun Lee.)
One twist Saturday: Nearly no one will be telling their own story — that allowed, with such intimate stories, some privacy — and while some speakers are residents, others aren’t, but are more experienced storytellers.
But the pieces are all residents’ stories, Hasan says. And this lets people see that the issues faced by people in these neighborhoods are “more than just about housing. It’s important to tell stories about housing as well,” and certainly there are stories of people facing eviction, but there’s more: A woman and her landlord and how their relationship evolved. A person coping with a neighbor being murdered.
And the story of a couple who fell in love, and the description of that joy. Because, she says, “sometimes our life is tragic, and horrible things happen, and systems in place keep us poor — and sometimes we really come together as a community.
“This is a fuller, more broad picture of what life is like.”