Key Definitions

Narrative organizing

Narrative organizing is a combination of narrative change through community organizing.

Narrative Initiative states that “narrative organizing is the act of building, creating and using narrative to shift power towards justice, equity and democracy. Narrative without organizing is a collection of observations and stories. Narrative without organizing leaves narrative power to others. When we bring alignment, polyvocality, and community leadership to narrative work we are organizing people to hold and exert narrative power.”

Impacted people

Impacted people are individuals who have direct experience with any piece of the wide spectrum of the criminal legal system. This includes formerly incarcerated people, currently incarcerated people, people who have been detained or confined in a detention facility, juvenile justice facility, families of victims of police violence, families interacting with the child welfare system, people on probation or parole, anyone who lives in areas adjacent to carceral facilities, and hyper-policed/resource-deprived communities.


“Narratives reflect shared interpretations of how the world works by embedding themes and ideas in collections of stories. Who holds power and how they use it are both revealed in and supported by dominant narratives. Successful narrative change shifts both power and dominant narratives.” Narrative change is long-term, deep, and systematic, focusing on motivations and norms.
Source: Narrative Initiative

Carceral state

The Carceral state encompasses three behemoth sets of structures: criminalization, policing, and confinement. Within each structure are subsets of institutions and ideologies, that make up our society, all oriented around carcerality. Carceral is the root of incarceration, the conception of a carceral state attempts to outline the vastness of incarceration both in and far beyond prison walls.