Stories Untold US

We giving a voice to the voiceless, we are a platform for EVERYONE in the US who has been affected by the national outrage of gun violence.

Photo of Carlos Rodriguez

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  • Education
  • Technology
  • Environment

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Https://www.storiesuntoldus.com/ Https://www.twitter.com/storiesuntoldus/ https://twitter.com/StoriesUntoldUS/status/980892111427067904?s=20 Https://www.instagram.com/storiesuntoldus/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdGfkdNSHCmY3GY6zpdo-aw/featured

Date You Started Your Project Started

April / 2 / 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Gun violence affects every part of the world, but America has a broad pattern of gun violence that crawls its way into everyone’s daily life (home, school, airports, entertainment venues, places of worship, and more). To support the emotional aftermath our society is enduring after these tragic shootings, we must come together as one voice and share our story to drive change, motivation, and healing to ourselves and millions of people.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Stories Untold US is working throughout the United States to connect with people who have experienced gun violence, we are building relationships and support systems through the country via social media, and we are giving a voice to the voiceless. Our current strategy is to disseminate information in its most authentic form. Unlike common media sources, Stories Untold US gives the interviewees a chance to express themselves to the fullest and we make sure to include the organic messages everyday people affected by gun violence share on our platform. Stories Untold US will integrate structures in communities and schools that lack mental health resources, and create community events that promote positivity and bring good energies to the people. We believe it is necessary to build specific, judgement-free communities for the people to speak and share their truth without fear. We will invest in the education and school programs for the youth, we will help provide therapy and trauma counseling for the underserved, and we would create a global healing community. In short, we are just scratching the surface of our potential to change the world.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

People across the United States are being desensitized when they hear the news about another shooting. Gun violence is an everyday problem in the US, and it was not until there was a shooting at my school that I realized the impact this issue has on my life.
 After a tragic Valentines Day, where 17 innocent souls were lost at my school in Parkland, Florida, I understand that gun violence does not discriminate and it can affect anyone in this country. Now more than ever do I feel passionate about taking action in helping people who have gone through what I faced on February 14th, 2018. Stories Untold US started at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the vast majority of the students who survived the shooting began to share their stories in hopes of better representing and diversifying the conversation. From this, the idea of lifting one another’s voices became the common norm.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

We constantly communicate with communities that have experienced gun violence. Some of the communities we have visited include: Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. Example: A week after launching the organization, we received an invitation from the Jefferson County Students to visit Littleton, Colorado, during the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. In a group effort, over 50 students from Parkland got the opportunity to come along with Stories Untold to provide support at the Columbine vigil, engage in healing activities, and extend the our platform. Also, in honor of the 13 people that passed away in the shooting, the Stories Untold US community decided to spend the anniversary, April 20th, giving back to the community with the students from Columbine High School. Today, we are grateful for the friendship we established.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Stories Untold US is focused on the individuals who experienced tragic shootings, and their emotional aftermath. The work of gun safety organizations may have tremendous impact on the legislation of the country, but it is important to recognize, support, and remember those who have been affected by the issue, in hope that their stories are heard and are a vehicle for change throughout the country. We are building a global healing community through storytelling, and our biggest goal involves the inclusion of people who have experienced more than just gun violence.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our project is always making a difference through the untold stories we share. Stories Untold US has engaged over 10,000 people on social media, and over 3,000 people with in-person interactions. An outstanding example is when we gave our platform to 16-year-old Anthony Borges, who was brutally shot five times while blocking the door behind him to prevent the shooter from entering his classroom during the shooting at our school in Parkland. Anthony felt voiceless when he received minimal media coverage after the 13 surgeries and eight weeks he had to spend in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wounds. Our most watched video features him, and the video has peaked over 400,000 views and over 1,800,000 impressions. Not to mention, the video also gave more exposure to Anthony’s GoFundMe link and helped raise about $50,000 to help his family cover the medical bills for his recovery.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

To start, we will be doing large public announcement through social media on October 1, 2019. Coincidentally, October 1st is the two year anniversary of the massacre in Las Vegas, the largest mass shooting in the United States history, so the media will be primed to pay attention. I am excited to share that the launch includes a NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH, NEW CONTENT CREATION, SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN (Press Release; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat; Support from Influentials; Support from Nonprofit Partners), and ADDITIONAL OUTREACH TO POTENTIAL SPONSORS AND PARTNERS. Once the public announcement is completed, we will be able to progress and work towards a special project that we hope to work on with T-Mobil's and Ashoka's help!

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Staff Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations over $10k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email
  • Word of mouth

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Definitely something we need to talk about more. I'm glad you're shedding light on this issue. Sharing stories impact us from a deeper emotional level, as humans. Great job!

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I totally support this. And also hope to share how guns can help people heal. And how the simple common object around the house might be triggering to some people. My younger sister committed suicide and hung herself and I feel its important for people to have voices to share that while gun violence exists in certain situations they can also save lives!

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Hey Carlos, I love this. It's so important. Proud of what you've accomplished so far, and I'm amazed at where you're taking this. I would love to see measurements of how this brings healing to many of the participants that are sharing their stories. :)

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