Founded in 2011, the Red Door Project is an award-winning nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon. Through storytelling, we inspire appreciation of our differences and an awareness of our fundamental interconnectedness.
Our core program, The Evolve Experience, presents live and filmed first-person narratives from police officers, judges, and Black community members describing their lived experiences at the intersection of race and the justice system. These true stories are written, directed, and performed by professional artists from across the country. Evolve Experience performances are supported by facilitated discussion and activities that teach the skills needed to successfully navigate conflict, bias, and change, including self-awareness, flexibility, and curiosity.
Witnessing personal stories lays the foundation for empathy and compassion, which opens a willingness to adjust thinking and behavior, creating the possibility for transformation at the individual, institutional, and community levels.
Our brains are hard-wired to be suspicious of anything that’s different, and our differences - differences in opinion, race, accent, gender, etc - can often be seen as a threat. The world we live in reinforces these fears, and many of us retreat to the safety of our ideological bubbles. This division holds us back from understanding each other and building the type of coalitions we need to effectively address the problems we all face.
Listening to stories, as opposed to experiencing things directly, provides distance, and distance creates safety. Therefore, stories are often able to bypass our defenses, enabling us to listen with less inhibition, access our emotions, and relate to others with curiosity, interest, and imagination.