Project 154 uses theatre, film and storytelling devices to empower the residents of Cedar Riverside to be advocates for their health care, create a dialogue about community health and use art as a means for overcoming stigmas and obstacles with healthcare. Project 154 connects community members, health care providers, artists and art to make impactful connections and better understandings of healthcare and its barriers.
Since 2017, Mixed Blood has hosted story circles, recorded video profiles, and hosted a community celebration to share back all that we have heard through Project 154.
In its next phase, Mixed Blood will support two emerging artists to ignite conversations around some of the key health issues that emerged from the community. In addition, a traveling exhibition entitled Health Exchange: Stories from our Neighborhood will be presented at healthcare institutions to share all of the stories, experiences, and lessons learned over the last two year.
For more information about Project 154, contact Abdurrahman Mahmud.
Stories from the Community
“This illness I have is called Fibrosis. It’s caused by many things like Asthma, chemicals sprayed in the home, dust, and fuel pollution. I started experiencing this illness about twenty years ago. Because I was a smoker, I always had a fear of hospitals. Usually, men [in my community] don’t go to the hospital [for check ups] because of the fear of being diagnosed with an illness. But that fear caused the illness to progress to an unmanageable level. Ultimately, that is my condition today.” – Mahad Ali Maslah, 52.
“A lot of people have mental health problems, but it’s just not diagnosed,” said Omar Mohamed, 24. Omar believes stigmatization of mental health problems in the community is a huge concern. He said, “Us, Somali people, and humans in general, we stigmatize people with mental health problems. We try to isolate them, we try to push them away, we try to look at them like they may not be as equal because they may not be there mentally.”
His advice is to quit smoking because “the problem that made my lungs not function and collapse was smoking. I want to say to whoever wants to hear any advice from me: If you smoke … quit smoking. If you want a good life and not to suffer, QUIT SMOKING!”