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The Narrative Power Now cohort stands outside the DuSable Museum for a group photo during the four-day ReFrame Academy in Chicago this past May

That’s A Wrap! Congratulations to the 2023 Narrative Power Now Cohort!

October 11, 2023

As we gear up for 2024, we must continue to invest in the infrastructure that makes it possible for our movements to build narrative power and make meaning at scale next year and beyond through programs like Narrative Power Now.

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 "I know myself, and I think a lot of us, have come a long way. I remember staring at some of the worksheets being, like, 'What's a value? What's a narrative?' And now it's like boom, boom, boom, we knocked it out. Let's go!" Nadeska Concha from Florida for All 

On a Tuesday afternoon in early October, like we did for many Tuesdays in 2023, the strategists who made up the Narrative Power Now cohort gathered on Zoom for the last time, completing 10 months of programming  for We Make the Future’s state narrative cohort. The program - starting with We Make the Future anchoring the Global Messaging Programme (GMP), followed by ReFrame’s extended Academy program - demonstrates the power of connecting and investing in leaders working to build narrative power to win. After the four-day ReFrame Academy in Chicago this past May, Nadeska felt more prepared to advocate for narrative strategy. Five months later, she is prepared to build a powerful narrative strategy in Florida and advocate for the infrastructure - training, education, and resources - to make it happen. 

But Nadeska's not the only one in Narrative Power Now who has grown as a narrative strategist and as a leader over the course of the program.  Our programming has enabled leaders in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Philadelphia, Texas, and Wisconsin to connect their day-to-day work to long-haul strategies of building narrative power in defense of a vibrant multiracial democracy and an economy that works for all. 

Trevor Cochlin from ISAIAH and Faith in Minnesota led trainings using ReFrame tools for the Minnesota Narrative Justice League with Minister JaNaé Bates, an alum of ReFrame’s Mentorship and Senior Narrative Cohort. Josette Ferguson from Progress NC was asked to lead trainings on narrative for their organization and those they collaborate with. Ellie Lapp from Together Colorado brought the practice of narrative identification using ReFrame tools to new organizers during a day-long Organizing 101 training and reported back: 

"The thing that landed the most was that we need to be intentional about how we talk about our organizing work and the stories we tell to make sure they fit into our worldview and not the opposition's. It also helped our newer volunteer leaders see that we have a long-term narrative agenda in addition to our shorter-term campaigns." 

Because of the training and support of Narrative Power Now, Trevor, Ellie, and a number of other participants brought what they’ve learned back home to grow the ranks of people building the power of making meaning at scale. Narrative Power Now’s impact can also be felt in the way participants like Kyla Rollins of Sequal Consulting and Angela Lin of Ohio Voice who are using the tools they’ve learned to craft powerful narrative strategies to win. 

"I came into the program thinking I would leave with a few new skills I could implement in my day-to-day work. I'm leaving the program as a different, stronger organizer, communicator, and strategist." - Kyla Rollins, Sequal Consulting.

“I've used the tools from NPN in the campaigns I am supporting, in identifying emerging narratives and the narratives we want to advance, and that has been helpful in creating messaging and strategy.” Angela Lin, Ohio Voice

As we gear up for 2024, we must continue to invest in the infrastructure that makes it possible for our movements to build narrative power and make meaning at scale next year and beyond through programs like Narrative Power Now. The leaders in this cohort are strategists in the narrative battles of our time; and are predicting that they’ll be facing narrative battles about the future of work and the economy, access to healthcare like abortions that helps people thrive, climate change, and the ways that people’s identities will be used to unite or divide communities. 

“The biggest takeaway [from Narrative Power Now] was that progressive comms folks are not out here struggling in a vacuum because there is a small army of communicators and storytellers using data-backed methods to phrase things in a way that helps prime the audience to be open to hearing it  - and, more importantly, agreeing with it. This is a moment in American history that requires courage and clear eyes/heart; authentic narratives will help bridge the chaos, and, God willing, lead us to liberation.” - Sarah Stevenson, Fund MI Future

To win the narrative battles of our time requires us to continue to grow the next generation of narrative strategists:  communicators, storytellers, organizers, and creatives that Sarah is talking about. The leaders we’ve worked with in Narrative Power Now can’t win alone - now these leaders are better equipped to spread their skills and relationships with colleagues from across the country who are also working to defend democracy in 2024. 

There is no silver bullet to building and wielding narrative power, and anyone who says otherwise is selling you a vehicle that they know is a bit of a lemon. But we do know that we must continue to invest in the human-based infrastructure and ecosystem to build narrative power - and ReFrame is even more ready to help our movements build power in the year to come and beyond. 

a diverse group of people sitting in a row smiling and laughing in front of a white board

Register for the ReFrame Fall Academy 2023: Where Narrative Power Meets Opportunity!

September 6, 2023

Register for ReFrame's 2023 Fall Academy – two experiences, one powerful narrative change journey!

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Calling all change-makers, strategists, creatives, leaders and dreamers!

Register for the Virtual Academy
(Registration for the virtual Academy closes October 11th)

We're thrilled to extend an exciting invitation for a transformative experience like no other. Get ready to amplify your narrative power and be part of something truly extraordinary: ReFrame's Fall Academy 2023!

The Landmark Narrative-Power Building Training:

Rooted in the lineage of justice communications built by Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ organizers, the Academy, held from October 16th to 20th, 2023 is an essential resource for communicators, organizers and activists. 

The Academy is a five-day experience rooted in narrative power building that focuses on both strategy development and communications tactics. Participants will bring back to their organizations, coalitions, and alliances an understanding of message development, media production, digital communications, and a network of peers and seasoned practitioners to call upon for support and collaboration. 

Double the Excitement: In-Person and Virtual Experiences!

This year, we're doubling the excitement with not one but two Academy experiences! 

Register for the Virtual Academy
(Registration for the virtual Academy closes October 11th)

Register for the In-Person Academy
(Registration for the In-Person Academy has closed)

You can choose between the in-person and virtual options, depending on what suits you best. 

Here's a quick comparison:

No matter which option you choose, you're in for a powerful, skill-based training experience that will elevate your narrative power-building capacities to new heights!

The ReFrame Academy is more than just a training—it's a stepping stone in cultivating leaders for social justice, equipped to enact narrative change for racial, economic, gender, and climate justice and forming connections to a larger community engaging transformation of common sense across society. Together we can supercharge an unparalleled opportunity to develop the field’s ability to advance narrative change at scale

Ready to Sign up?

We can't wait to have you join us for this exceptional opportunity. 

To learn more and sign up, simply click on the links below:

Femme identifying person falls down red and black rabbit hole with a peephole leading into a hazy, red sky

Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks

August 3, 2023

Introducing Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks

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It began with whispers in the shadows of internet chat rooms and forums of alternative tech. Someone known simply as “Q” began  dropping cryptic messages, claiming a deep state cabal of Satan worshiping pedophiles ran the government, institutions, and Hollywood. This was the start to a web of intrigue and blatant falsehoods, what we now know as QAnon. 

Like wildfire, this series of conspiracy theories spread, captivating minds with its elaborate narratives of government distrust and a battle between good and evil. As the tendrils of QAnon crept deeper into society, it promises belonging and reinventing the meaning of truth.

For the past 18 months, we have researched the ways networks of QAnon contort the truth to create a new QAnon-based reality. Our groundbreaking new report, Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks sheds light on the intricate webs of the following networks: Anti-vaccine, Vaccine Skeptical, Wellness, Fitness and Politicians & Candidates. ReFrame, alongside Women’s March and Political Research Associates, embarked on this journey to unravel the connections between QAnon and Q adjacent networks, their values, narratives, and the disinformation that surrounds it all. Our report delves deep into a world where things aren’t what they seem, transcending racial, gender and class boundaries, where perception and reality collide.

In an era where misinformation and conspiracy theories thrive, it's imperative to understand the terrain so we can organize our communities to be better equipped to fight for a democratic future rooted in justice, equity, and liberation. By critically examining the values, messages, and narratives that emerge from these networks, we hope to encourage a nuanced understanding of their impact on our communities and shifting societal expectations of governance and democracy as a whole.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks serves as a call to reaffirm the meaning of democracy and community in an increasingly complex world. We invite you to explore the findings firsthand by accessing the full report here.

Stephanie Gasca walking with a large smile and microphone in hand

Stephanie Gasca Por Siempre: Stories of Love and Resilience

July 21, 2023

An Ode to a Real One: Stephanie Gasca - Rest in Power

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Stephanie Gasca in a museum reading displays on the wall
Stephanie peering into exhibit at the DuSable Museum in Chicago during the Narrative Power Now opening convening in 2023.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you Stephanie Gasca was a real one – a take no shits, fierce mother and tía, organizer, and powerhouse. Stephanie did not care about performance politics; she cared about loving her people and getting her people free. 

Stephanie, dedicated her time as a basketball mom, a community organizer, and a great purveyor of flair and personal style. She ran for office, organized for local change, and served as the former Director of Communications for CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha). Stephanie graduated from ReFrame’s second class of the ReFrame Mentorship in 2016. In 2017, she led the Fight for $15 victory in Minneapolis  and helped pass a citywide ordinance raising the minimum wage. She continued to be a part of Team ReFrame after the mentorship as an active member of our alumni network and joined the ReFrame staff team in 2020. Stephanie’s impact on ReFrame and movement work in Minnesota and beyond was deep and wide

Over the last few years, Stephanie brought her brilliance, care, and love for the people front and center, embedding it in work that we do every day. Her leadership has strengthened our systems in a way that cares for the people: participants in our programs; Reframe coaches, trainers, and mentors; and of course, her comrades here at ReFrame. We are better as a result of her leadership, friendship, and contributions and her passing leaves a hole in all of our hearts. 

ReFrame staff smiling in a group photo, including Stephanie Gasca
ReFrame staff at an event in New York in April 2023. Stephanie Gasca on far right.

We sit in celebration for Stephanie and her contributions. We  continue to push our work forward among grief yet we continue to find gems and treasures that she left behind for us.  I hope she knew how much she was cared for, valued and held, and continues to be missed.

-Dulce Rojas

Stephanie was such a joy to work with. She brought realness, laughter and creativity and was such a special person. She will be deeply missed.

-Raine Brandon

There are the people you see daily, and their absence stings whenever you don't see them. And there are those people you don't see every day, but you are assured and eased knowing that they are out there, making this world bearable simply by being who they are. For me, Stephanie was the latter. Our lives couldn't be much more different, yet we found a connection in our shared work of making the world better. We nurtured that connection with laughs, some good shade, mutual encouragement, and movement. I ache knowing Stephanie is not out there being a fierce and proud mama, a leader in her community, a smart and creative force in the lives of those she touched, and ultimately unapologetically herself.
Stephanie Gasca -Tiocfaidh ár lá

- Joseph Phelan

Stephanie Gasca indoors with a mask on
Stephanie Gasca at Narrative Power Now in Spring 2023 in Chicago.

Stephanie was more than a leader and a comrade; she was a dear friend who operated out of a deep sense of care for people. While I had the extreme privilege of witnessing and experiencing the care during our time together at ReFrame, it was just how she operated with her family, the sports teams her children played on, her neighbors whose cars got stuck in the snow during harsh Minneapolis winters and in the way she organized. I close my eyes and see her dancing to Tina Turner in the back of a party bus with her gold signature bamboo hoops shimmering in the light, her vibrant smile and laughter in the toasts people shared over dinner, and the excitement she shared with me in witnessing the iteration of ReFrame's work. Stephanie, I will miss you forever, friend.

- Jess St. Louis

I admire and will always remember Stephanie's fierce and indomitable spirit, her communication prowess, and the love and devotion she poured into her community. I'm so grateful I got to know her during our time together at ReFrame and I am sending her loved ones my deepest thoughts and condolences in her transition. May her legacy and self-effacing love for others and for justice continue to inspire and move us.

- Keith Brooks

Please save the date for August 15 and join ReFrame in honoring Stephanie’s memory. You can register here.

More information about memorial services in Minneapolis on Sunday, July 23, can be found here

If you would like to support Stephanie’s family please contribute to the GoFundMe

Stephanie, may you rest in power, may your familia and comrades find peace and inspiration in your honor, and may all of us be able to channel that small light of chingona rage, joy and glory into magic and momentum on our shared journey to freedom. 

Con Cariño,

hermelinda and Team ReFrame

A diverse group of people posing in front of stairs smiling at the camera

Introducing the Narrative Power Now Cohort

June 1, 2023

A Collaboration between ReFrame & We Make the Future

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If you hopped on to a virtual meeting room with ReFrame and members of We Make the Future’s State Narrative Cohort on a Tuesday afternoon this month, you would have noticed that the life-giving energy of the room could be palpably felt even from the computer screen. It wasn’t just the active chat thread with photos of an orange kitten that followed one of them home from a drag show but also the critical sharing of resources and contacts to support each other’s work to build narrative power across states. You could feel it in the rich discussions about how they could map the relationship between governing power and the power to make meaning in their communities. You would have observed it in their growing confidence in defining what narrative power is and why it’s important to win changes for their communities and the respect they have for each other as strategists, organizers, and leaders working to usher in a better world. In a world where many are exhausted and drained by Zoom, this is no small feat.

This aliveness and sense of connection amongst the cohort online didn’t happen out of happenstance. It was cultivated out of a commitment to invest in narrative infrastructure including fortifying the leaders with the skills, the strategic acumen, and the relationships they need so our movements build narrative power to win.. 

ReFrame and We Make the Future are collaborating to support a group of sixteen leaders in a state-based narrative cohort through a project called Narrative Power Now. This cohort is made of leaders hailing from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Philadelphia, Texas, and Wisconsin who are working to build power and make narrative change around the country. The organizations they work with are advancing reproductive justice in Florida, flanking the organizing work in the wake of the train crash that spilled dangerous chemicals earlier this year in Ohio, building Black political power in Michigan - and so much more. 

“I feel more prepared to advocate for strategies that build narrative power. I feel like I have a new lens to analyze the work through. I hope I can be a part of leveling the playing field in Florida, help the movement be more proactive and really lead with and bring people in with our values.” - Narrative Power Now participant

Narrative Power Now is a cohort-based program designed in two parts.  Participants completed the Global Messaging Programme (GMP), which is being followed by ReFrame’s extended Academy program focusing on narrative strategy, power, and action. The cohort will graduate from this program in October 2023. The ReFrame extended Academy builds on lessons learned in the GMP and supports sharpening narrative and strategic communications skills through additional training, development, and practice. Narrative Power Now participants are growing their skills in identifying narratives and stories being spread in their landscape to assess risks and opportunities in their work.


After meeting for a few months virtually for the Global Messaging Programme, the Narrative Power Now cohort gathered in Chicago for a four-day ReFrame Academy to kick off the second phase of the program. The cohort brought the space to life through sharing their stories, thoughts, and work with each other; contributing to an altar and filling it up with names and objects honoring the lineages we come from; engaging in mock interviews and filling up many flipchart papers with post-its, leaving with more connections and understandings about the work than they entered the week with. One participant reflected that often in communications spaces like this, it felt rare and powerful for people of color to make up the majority of the room. Another participant reflected on how some of the training content and the approach to narrative power building was familiar  leadership of a colleague who is an alumna of the ReFrame Mentorship. These reflections are important indicators to the long work of investing in leaders across movements for racial, gender, economic, and climate justice and across individual cohorts as critical elements to building narrative infrastructure. The ripple effects of programming and collaborations like Narrative Power Now remind us why we don’t do training for training’s sake. We invest in people for the purpose of building - and winning - narrative power. To break through the isolation so that even in our toughest moments, we can lean on each other and the infrastructure we are creating, and do our best to win justice, healing, and liberation for all people and the Earth.

collage of two hands reaching toward each other doing a baton handoff against a black background with game strategy position marks and bright orange flowers announcing the publication of ReFrame’s Trans Athletes: A Narrative Analysis report

Trans Athletes: A Narrative Analysis

March 31, 2023

This Trans Day of Visibility, we’re releasing new narrative research on transgender athletes as one layer in this complex narrative contest. Find out more about who is driving the conversation and how critical narratives about fairness and safety shape the landscape.

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Despite conservative and authoritarian forces in the U.S. and across the globe aiming to erase trans people from public life – trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary people resist with joy and dignity not just for survival but to live whole lives. This Trans Day of Visibility we celebrate that ethos and our shared fight in countering violent narratives and messages targeting trans people in Tennessee and beyond. 

This Trans Day of Visibility, we’re releasing new narrative research on transgender athletes as one layer in this complex narrative contest. Find out more about who is driving the conversation and how critical narratives about fairness and safety shape the landscape.

Trans Athletes: A Narrative Analysis highlights trends and patterns we identified throughout our investigation.

Our devoted team of researchers and strategists, in partnership with other leaders, dug into the stories and narratives about trans athletes from January 1, 2021–January 23, 2023. Along the way, they uncovered networks of people and organizations operating within this contentious, complex terrain and highlighted trends and patterns - across ideology and belief. 

Our report will support anyone interested in the fight for trans rights and liberation to understand the narrative terrain and develop narrative strategies to win, whether you're an athlete, a coach, a policymaker, or an organizer.

Together, we can work towards a liberated future where every trans person can be who they are - athlete, artist, leader, parent - thriving and free from harm. 

Read or listen to the full report here.