By: Nathalie Martinez, Colorado State University PRSSA Member
Congressman and Civil Rights Activist John Lewis reminded everyone at PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Ga. the importance of telling the story as simplicity and vivid details can go a long way.
Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties in America. As a child, Lewis was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Boycott and the powerful words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Ever since, he has become a pivotal figure in progressive social movements and human rights across the United States.
Through his determined efforts, Lewis has become known as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.” Because of his persistence and fortitude, he discovered powerful ways to get involved.
During his keynote address, Lewis recollected on his account of hearing Martin Luther King Jr. on the radio as his leadership “inspired me to find a way to get in the way. I got in the way. I got in trouble.”
Lewis continued to stress the importance of getting in the way in order to tell a story. “You have an obligation. You have a mission and a mandate to find a way to get in the way. Find a way to get into good trouble, necessary trouble to education, to inform and to inspire another generation to stand up for what is right and what is necessary,” said Lewis. “That is your calling. That is your mission.”
Find a way a way to tell the story. Lewis urged his audience to use available resources and to tell the story in its simplest form. We have an obligation to tell the story. As aspiring public relations professionals, we can get in the way and cause necessary trouble to share the story that needs to be told.
“Each and every one of you – use your skills, use your know-how to help create a beloved community, to help redeem the soul of America. We can do it. We must do it,” said Lewis.
We must remember the importance of telling the story. Not only are we capable of making a difference through storytelling, it is our mission.