Voice of Witness (VOW) advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by injustice.
Our work is driven by the transformative power of the story, and by a strong belief that an understanding of crucial issues is incomplete without deep listening and learning from people who have experienced injustice firsthand.
Through our oral history book series and education program, we amplify the voices of people impacted by injustice, teach ethics-driven storytelling, and partner with human rights advocates to:
- build agency within marginalized communities,
- raise awareness and foster thoughtful, empathy-based critical inquiry and understanding of the crises they face,
- and inform long-term efforts to protect and advance human rights.
Voice of Witness was cofounded by author Dave Eggers, writer & educator Mimi Lok, and physician Lola Vollen. Eggers originated the VOW book series with Vollen in 2005. In 2008, Lok transitioned Voice of Witness to a 501(c)(3) organization and established its education program.
For over ten years, VOW has illuminated human rights crises in the U.S. and globally. Our oral history book series has amplified hundreds of seldom-heard voices, including those of wrongfully convicted Americans, undocumented immigrants, and people in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Colombia.
Our education program serves over 20,000 people annually. Our oral history pedagogy has been used to train a broad range of advocates for human rights and dignity, including educators, writers, journalists, attorneys, and medical doctors.
OUR VISION PLAN
VOW’s strategic vision planning process took place over nine months and involved Voice of Witness staff, board, and our extended community of thought partners: educators, narrators (people impacted by injustice who share their oral histories with VOW), content experts, and funders. By the beginning of 2018, we had created a comprehensive strategic vision and implementation plan to chart our growth and goals for the next five years.
Read the Vision Plan here.