- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - When Ruby Cain was 9 years old, she and her sister approached their home to find a swarm of police cars surrounding their father.

Authorities were there to arrest him, on the suspicion that he had robbed a bank. The accusation was false, with only one trait connecting Cain’s father to the man for whom the police were searching: He was black.

“It’s something I don’t really talk about, and something I really don’t want to remember, but looking into the context of today, it’s important to go back,” said Cain, who at age 64 can still clearly remember the incident.

Cain had the opportunity to share that story in The Facing Project’s newest venture, a book titled “Facing Racism” that links writers to storytellers sharing their personal experiences. The book holds 39 stories from 39 community members, sharing their experiences with racism. Subjects of the stories vary in race and range from ages 12-80.

Kelsey Timmerman, co-founder of The Facing Project, said this was the largest collection of stories his organization had ever seen relating to one topic. Normally, The Facing Project’s collections contain 15-20 stories each.

The Muncie Public Library and the Muncie Human Rights Commission provided the initial funding for the book. Now, about 1,000 copies have been published, to be given out for free to members of the community. Project coordinator Jay Zimmerman said he eventually wants to see educators use the book as a tool for teaching social issues.

“Race is still clearly an issue in this country,” Zimmerman said. “You can fight about the issues, but when you hear somebody’s story, you can’t fight their experience. You read them or you hear them, and it’s just so moving.”

Just four days after Election Day, the project will hold a show titled “Facing Racism: A Dramatic Presentation of Exception Stories,” 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Muncie Civic Theatre. The presentation will portray a condensed version of the 39 stories within the book into “shorter, dramatic monologue formats.” Books will be handed out at the event.

Zimmerman said he expects the seats of Civic Theatre to be filled to capacity. The theater holds 400 seats, and nearly 300 have been given away since the project made tickets available to the public last week.

Cain will have her own story shared, as well as one she wrote for someone else. She said the loose, 1,000-word limit in her written stories was difficult because the topic has so much content. She said if she had more space, she would have discussed her family’s strong foundation during tough times.

Though reminiscing about her story was emotional, she encourages others to do the same.

“That’s why, to me, it’s so important for everybody to tell their story, because yesterday is history, and you can leave those stories for those coming after you,” Cain said. “And the ‘Facing Racism’ stories are for those of today.”


Source: The (Muncie) Star Press, https://tspne.ws/2ejH8vP


Information from: The Star Press, https://www.thestarpress.com

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