The Power of Story (Revisited) w/ Donna Washington (#215)

December 6, 2021
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The stories we tell about ourselves help us make sense of the world. And while we all have stories as individuals, a set them within a shared narrative that is the foundation of our communities. In this episode, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) CEO Tim Storey hosts Ben and storyteller Donna Washington in a conversation about the ways that stories work, why they have the power to unite us, and how they can also be used to divide us. They also reflect on the “American Story” and how new perspectives on our past help us to better understand who we are as a people and a country.

A special thanks to Tim Storey and everyone at NCSL for inviting Ben and Donna to return to NCSL’s Legislative Summit, and to Donna Washington for sharing her wisdom with us and the crowd. We’re also grateful to all those who attended the panel and took the time to speak with us afterward. You can read Lesley Kennedy’s writeup of the panel on NCSL’s blog here.

You can follow Donna Washington on twitter at @DLWStoryTeller, like her page on facebook, and find out more about her upcoming performances and work (including her new book Boo Stew) at her website-

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is a non-partisan organization that represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures. To learn more about NCSL and access their incredible set of online resources covering a wide variety of topics relating to state legislatures and local governments, visit their website:

You can hear our first NCSL panel, featuring Ben, Donna and Bob in episode #138 by clicking here. Our conversation with NCSL’s experts on legislative redistricting past and present, is also available in episode #212 Redistricting: A Primer w/ Wendy Underhill and Ben Williams.

This episode was recorded at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Tampa, Florida on November 5th, 2021 and edited by Ben Sawyer.

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