storyteller at Beech Parlor in Portland

Stories of Gratitude

In Gratitude Stories by SuperThank

SuperThank held its second live storytelling event at Portland’s Beech Street Parlor. A dozen people shared stories thanking people and groups for making their lives – and our community – better.

Writer Yuvi Zalkow thanked his colleagues and the organizers behind workshops offered to storytellers through The Pinewood Table.

“Over and over again, it’s not just these two people, but the community they created,” he said.

David “DJ O.G. ONE” Jackson, a music producer, community activist, author and official Portland Trail Blazers DJ, talked about one of the unsung heroes in his life who has offered unwavering and often silent support during some tough times.

Cameron Whitten, an activist and former mayoral candidate, also reached out to one person in particular, thanking a friend who provided him the support he needed to heal following a tragedy in his home.

“Healing sometimes feels like an impossible necessity,” he said. “But it’s still a necessity.”

And Cameron Madill, an entrepreneur who has been included in the Portland Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” told a story about beating the odds during a battle of the big guy vs. the little guy thanks to the help of an attorney he now credits with saving his business in 2009.

Storytellers came from all walks of life and had a lot to say about the people, organizations and movements that have helped them along the way. Here are some more examples.

Jeremy Bircher, speaking about the qualities imparted by his grandmothers:

“That sense of being able to choose joy no matter what – even if there are geese pooping in your yard.”

Kendall, a retired college professor of performance studies, queer studies and English, a photographer and an activist since her teens, on the community she discovered through the Occupy movement:

“Some of us are still Occupying our hearts. Occupy Portland is not dead, and I’m grateful for that.”

Lakeitha Elliott, a community organizer who focuses on LGBT issues and who chairs the Multnomah County Democratic Party, on the teachers, neighbors and others who nurtured her as a young girl in North/Northeast Portland:

“Even though my mother began using drugs, I grew up in a strong, vibrant community.”

Simone Levine, who organizes gap-year experiences at Carpe Diem Education and teaches yoga, expressed gratitude for street yoga along with a local yoga instructor who once offered her free sessions, connecting her to an activity and community that has transformed her life.

She said her thankfulness extends to anyone who’s so passionate about what they do they’re willing to share it with others for free:

“That’s what’s allowed for each of us to find joy.”

SuperThank’s live storytelling series takes place in front of a live audience, and all of the stories are captured by audio recording so we can adapt them for use on SuperThank Radio on XRAY.FM. Together, the radio program, regular Crowd Thank events and and the storytelling series form a platform for expressing – and spreading – gratitude throughout the Portland community and beyond.