Native Washingtonian Kelsea Johnson realized many of the stories she was exposed to through books, TV shows and movies did not resonate with her lived experiences. When a story did center a person from a marginalized community, she said, it often included that person overcoming a feat. She wondered: Where were the stories about people of color being exceptional just by living “normal lives?”

These questions were part of a conversation with her college friend, Kyle Porro, in 2019 that inspired them to found their company, Stirred Stories. Since launching in 2020, Stirred Stories has published four books, with another five in the works. The books have reached 22 states and some are available on shelves at two local vendors, including the Outrage, a social justice store, and Little District Books, an independent bookstore sharing LGBTQIA authors and stories, Johnson said. The slogan is “publishing for a better tomorrow.”

“The intersection of being a Black person, and a woman really gives me an investment in marginalized communities and having our voices heard at mainstream levels,” said Johnson, 27 … “We’re really excited to not just tell these marginalized stories, but to make them as authentic as possible.”