Ashley Coleman: Correcting Misconceptions

Ashley Coleman, Adult Education Coordinator for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment, corrects several misconceptions about Tennessee's refugee and immigrant communities.

What You Do Matters

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Everyone Has A Story

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a web series that coins and defines new words for strangely powerful emotions. Watch their video for the word “sonder” and use the accompanying prompts for personal reflection.

  • The idea of "sonder" is the inverse of "protagonist disease," the condition of living our lives with the assumption that we are the main character of our world's story. How do your daily rituals reinforce your assumption that you are the main character?
  • Recall a time in your life when you became aware that you were a supporting character or perhaps merely an extra in another person's life. How did that make you feel? Were you able to take on this role with gladness, did you come away sorrowful, or perhaps a mixture of both?
  • Think about the influx of refugees and immigrants coming into the United States and consider the variety of ways in which U.S. citizens have reacted. What does it mean for each individual immigrant to have their own complex story? How must it feel to be a refugee fleeing crisis?
  • Have you ever felt typecast as a mere "extra" due to your age, socioeconomic status, gender, race, or personality? What was it like to have your identity reduced?
  • Imagine what it would be like for all of humanity to regard one another as equally vital, crucial characters in the overarching narrative of our species. When in your life do you feel like you are part of a community that affirms this sentiment?

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with Ashley Coleman: Correcting Misconceptions?

Take Action

Breaking the Silence

Use some of these tools to raise your voice in your local community.


1.Engage with your representatives. Only a small number percentage of votes cast can change the outcome of an election. Go to your local and state representatives websites and do research about those who are representing you in government. Go to  and to find your representative.

2.Fight fear through education. In order to recognize our fears and extinguish them, we must be educated.  Visit or volunteer with organizations that promote inclusively and social justice like TIRRC. This link is a good place to find a similar organization near you. Talk to individuals who are different from you and listen to their stories and narratives.

3. Break your own silence. Although it can be hard to find the ways to raise our voices in the midst of injustice, there are ways to be a vocal presence. Find local organizers, pastors, or social workers and be in dialog with them. Ask them about tactical ways to approach issues and confront fear-driven rhetoric.

4. Reflect. Sometimes we get so lost in the chaotic moments in life that we forget to stop and process. Find space to pray and reflect on what is happening in our world and in our country. Search for those places where our faith teaches us to stand up to injustice and strive for peace.

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with Ashley Coleman: Correcting Misconceptions?

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