Back to top

Essential: True Stories of Unseen Work

Essential: True Stories of Unseen Work was an opportunity for essential workers to share their stories from the pandemic and beyond. People from all walks of life were invited to attend and share a 5-minute story open-mic style during this outdoor event that took place on May 14, 4-6pm at Lisa Link Peace Park.

"We want this event to be about unseen or underappreciated work, so people can share stories from the pandemic, but they don't have to be that specific," said the Essential Stories team. "If you work in food service, healthcare, education, etc. we want to hear from you. We're hoping to hear a lot of diverse perspectives at this event, and to hear from those who maybe haven't felt brave or safe enough to share their story previously."

This event was created by...

  • Dave Nelson
  • Mel Hammond
  • Charles Payne
  • Zachary Shea

The organizing team also invited a handful of featured storytellers to share a 10-minute story each at different times throughout the event. Featured speakers included: 

  • Andi Cloud, who served as the Native American Storyteller-in-Residence for Madison Public Library in Fall 2021.
  • Marisol Gonzalez-Rodriguez, a Mexican, writer, poet, storyteller, business owner, Spanish tutor, mother, wife, and advocate for justice.
  • Beverly Hutcherson, Outreach and Communications Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Wilson Seely, a teacher at White Horse Middle School and former winner of The Moth.

The event was hosted by local comedian Dina Nina Martinez and DJ-ed by Rob Dz. Sign language interpretation was be available throughout the event, including for the open mic stories. As people shared their stories, a positivity board set up where attendees posted positive comments, feedback and reflections for storytellers to read and enjoy after they spoke. The event included a grab-and-go Maker Kit on storytelling.

Check out Madison Story Slam's Facebook page for upcoming events.