Circles de confianza is a peer-led model of social support and creative expression. The aim of these groups is to develop community and enact practices of multimodal storytelling for social change, testimonio. Testimonio is a method of data collection oriented around “giving voice to silences, representing the other, reclaiming authority to narrate, and disentangling questions surrounding legitimate truth” (Delgado Bernal et al., 2012, p. 370). Testimonio is an approach that elevates participants’ experiences of truth by situating individual experiences within a collective (Cruz, 2012). Via participation in circles de confianza, students enact practices of testimonio, using written and oral narration, photography, and engaged listening to tell individual and collective stories of desconfianza (distrust) and confianza (trust) in schools. From their testimonios, students identify themes that offer suggestions on how to heal experiences of desconfianza and how to leverage experiences of confianza, creating a process by which to imagine schools de confianza. These testimonios are shared with educators, parents, and community members as the catalyst for co-design, whereby students work collaboratively with educators to enact their visions de confianza. Data from our pilot studies indicate that the process of engaging in circles de confianza and multimodal testimonio can enhance trust and belonging and provide a mechanism to organize action and systemic change, supporting the well-being of BIPOC students.
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