Story+ Project

What's Past is Prologue:  Exploring the intersectionality between race, justice, and disability in North Carolina


In this Story+ project, we will explore the intersection of health, disability and race on social justice and the expression of human rights among North Carolinians.  Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 30th year of existence in July 2020, there remains much work to be done to achieve the aspirational goal of equal rights for all.  In many ways the COVID19 pandemic has shown America that we may not all be equal, and in this Story+ project we will hear the voices and share the stories of people from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities who live with a disability across North Carolina. We set out on this explorative and investigative journey with 2 overarching aims, but declare our humility and recognize that these may change over time; (1) To explore the interaction of race, justice and disability among the BIPOC community in North Carolina.  Here, we will interview North Carolinians with disabilities, hear and document their lived experiences, and then work and collaborate to creatively share their stories and experiences, and (2) To provide unique opportunities for Duke graduate and undergraduate students to deepen their own personal journey of developing humility, knowledge, understanding and respect for others of different abilities.  Building on these essential competencies of caring and responsible citizenship, we aspire as a collective to become more understanding of challenges faced by BIPOC North Carolinians with disabilities.

The primary mode of communication or animation of our findings will be through the design and production of the storyline of a Mass Open Online Course (MOOC) on this important and emerging topic of consequence.  The outputs of this project will also be linked to a 2021-2022 extension of an existing BASS Connection project titled, ‘Leave No One Behind: Exploring the Impact of the COVID19 Pandemic on People with Disabilities (PWDs) in North Carolina'.


The most important skill graduate or undergraduate students who chooses to participate in this project is an interest and ability to discover complex humanistic stories regarding disability, and creatively transform these into visual media for wide consumption and distribution.  While not each student will have all essential skills, the collective team should have a mix of the following; motivational interviewing skills, video editing skills, video story telling experience, strong creative writing and narration skills, humility and a sense of social justice.  While it is not necessary that the students have experience with disability (either personally, or within their family and community) it would be advantageous if some members of the group have an awareness and some experience.    A final skill is an ability to be focused on a task, committed to delivering on the outputs, and willing to use and develop sophisticated collaborative skills and competencies to achieve our outcome within a 6-week window.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Michel D. Landry BScPT, MBA, PhD; Professor, School of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), Duke Global Health Institute, and the Duke-Margolis Centre for Health Policy

Raj Telhan MD MFA; Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC

Art by Rafi Darrow Source Sins Invalid


  • Medicine
  • Public Policy
  • Oral History
  • Documentary
  • Civil Rights
  • Human Rights
  • Global Health