Launched in early 2017, Haley Sulich’s We Are People strives to promote unity, understanding, and cultural competency through the means of storytelling. In the words of Haley Sulich, “Our goal is to collect a variety of stories in order to eliminate the boundaries of society that separate people. This project is a way to show people that everyone is in fact a living, breathing person like everyone else, regardless of race, gender, beliefs, sexuality, etc.”. As we have seen in film, television, literature, and other mediums, representation is an effective tool in combatting prejudices and affords underrepresented populations the opportunity to be seen in complex ways just as their privileged counterparts are. We Are People utilizes the power of representation and utilizes literature as a means to achieve their goal of combatting stigma and prejudice to remind all that we are people.
What makes this project so personal and worth the investment of Haley Sulich’s time and talents. “It’s a way to help people understand each other…Society pushes this whole ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ mindset…whether it be connected to gender, race, sexuality, beliefs, or other things, but We Are People is a way to allow others to have a voice to express their side of the story, rather than letting everyone see only the media’s version of how lives should be lived.”
We Are People‘s priority is to allow those who are the targets of racism to control the narrative regarding racism, for those who are living with mental illnesses or with disabilities to control the narrative surrounding mental illnesses and disabilities, for members of the LGBTQIA community to control the narrative surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity, and the experiences relating to queer and trans identities, for all of those who are underrepresented to have the opportunity to speak for themselves rather than to be spoken over. To further support underrepresented populations, Haley Sulich hopes to eventually set up a donation system allowing those who read the stories published to We Are People to donate directly to causes and organizations that support the diverse communities represented on the site.
The project’s success is tied directly to the willingness of folx of all ages to share their stories with We Are People and their audience. When it comes to submissions, those interested are asked to write a piece no longer than 5,000 words detailing an accurate experience pertaining to mental illness, sexual assault, classism, homophobia, racism, ableism, and related subjects. All submitters have the option of having their submission authored under his, her, or their name, a pen name, or anonymous.
Those interested in submitting content are asked to view We Are People‘s guidelines and email their finalized submission to WeArePeopleWithStories@gmail.com.