Our Mission and Vision

Our mission: to advance more democratic public spaces through storytelling, research, and education

Our vision: 

As a state of over 28 million people, Texas is a multicultural and multireligious mosaic: a top destination for new immigrants, a majority-minority state since 2004, and home to the most ethnically diverse city in the nation. Texas has the largest number of evangelical Protestants in the nation as well as one of the largest Muslim populations and the second largest Hindu population in the US. And the second largest religious demographic in the state of Texas– after Hispanic Catholics– is people who have no religious identity. Yet, this diversity is often ignored in larger narratives of Texas and in its halls of power. 

Texas is made up of many thriving and growing multireligious, multicultural communities that are increasingly under threat by coercive anti-democratic movements. IDCL works to identify and celebrate the diversity that encompasses our state, breaking down the stereotypes of what a Texan looks like, believes, and values. In doing so, we advance a vision of a multireligious, multicultural Texas that works for all its people. 

While IDCL’s work began with a focus on Texas, we know that as goes Texas, so goes the nation. Texas is a microcosm of the nation as a whole. Increasing diversity and theocratic threats to democracy are not unique to Texas. And so we work with scholars, activists, organizers, and artists across the country and the globe. Together, we build tools, skills and strategies for nurturing democracy through community-based narratives and research.

Our theory of change:

We each have a story. And storytelling is a fundamental human activity of meaning making– of making sense of our world and who we are, where we come from, where we fit, and where we’re going. Stories are entrances into people’s lives. They’re places where we make connections, learn from one another, see ourselves in each other, and identify shared values.

We’re all historical actors, living out history, the products of those who’ve come before us– and our lives create the possibilities for those who will follow us. Our stories both represent our unique, individual lives and connect us to larger communities, social groups, and histories.

Words create worlds. The ways we name and describe our world also shape our world. When we use narratives of exclusion, they work to reinforce exclusion in our institutions, communities, and public spaces. When we tell more capacious stories, they create the conditions for social change. 

At IDCL, we work to harness the power of stories to transform. We create platforms to amplify minoritized voices, empower people to tell their stories on their own terms, and democratize the historical record. We work with activists, organizers, scholars, students, artists and community members to creatively reimagine our world in the service of equity and democracy.