Summer Matching Challenge Results . . .

Posted on July 19, 2014 |

The Voice of Witness Summer Matching Challenge just ended this week, and we’re happy to announce that we met our fundraising goal and then some raising $37,000 total! These funds will directly support our book projects, education outreach, and core capacity–all furthering our mission of fostering more nuanced, empathetic understanding of contemporary human rights crises through story.

On behalf of everyone on the Voice of Witness staff, the narrators in our book series, and the educators we work with, THANK YOU! 

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Report from Amplifying Unheard Voices 2014

Posted on July 11, 2014 |

Report from Amplifying Unheard Voices 2014

by Natalie Catasús

On the first day of Amplifying Unheard Voices, Education Program Director Cliff Mayotte posed a big question: why does telling stories matter? It was a question our group would return to over and over again during the four day oral history training run by the Voice of Witness Education Program.

Cliff and Claire, the Education Program Associate, spoke to a room of 30 participants, a new record for the summer training. The crowd who had gathered at Berkeley High School for the event came from an incredible array of backgrounds. Educators, activists, writers, artists, journalists, and community organizers traveled from all over the Bay Area and California, and some even came from as far as Texas and New Hampshire. While some were new to oral history and others were more experienced, all of the participants brought their curiosity to the table, excited to learn from each other’s work and exchange ideas about the practical and ethical aspects of teaching and producing oral history.

Click here to read more.

Invisible Hands

Posted on July 7, 2014 |

Now Available from VOICE OF WITNESS


INVISIBLE HANDS: Voices from the Global Economy

Edited by Corinne Goria with a Foreword by Kalpona Akter

The men and women in this oral history collection reveal the human rights abuses occurring behind the scenes of the global economy. These narrators—including phone manufacturers in China, copper miners in Zambia, garment workers in Bangladesh, and farmers around the world—reveal the secret history of the things we buy, including lives and communities devastated by low wages, environmental degradation, and political repression. Sweeping in scope and rich in detail, these stories capture the interconnectivity of all people struggling to support themselves and their families.

Narrators include:

KALPONA, a leading Bangladeshi labor organizer who led her first strike at fifteen while working in a garment factory. As an adult, she now faces arrest, torture, and constant surveillance for her work.

ALBERT, a copper miner in Zambia who, during a wage protest, was shot by representatives of the Chinese-owned mining company that he worked for. Desperate for a living wage, Albert attempted to resume work with the company after months in the hospital.

SANJAY, who grew up in the shadow of the Bhopal chemical disaster, one of the worst industrial accidents in history. As an adult, Sanjay fights for recognition of the damage still wrought on his community even decades after the gas leak that killed thousands.

HYE-KYEONG, who, as a teenager, began assembling circuit boards for an international electronics company based in Seoul. Though she was paid a living wage, Hye-Kyeong was one of many co-workers who developed cancers or tumors at a young age.

About the Editor:

Corinne Goria is a writer, lawyer and Assistant Editor of Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives, Voice of Witness’ collection of oral histories from undocumented immigrants in the United States. She is based in San Diego.

About the Forwarder:

Kalpona Akter is an internationally-recognized labor rights advocate. She is the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and is herself a former child garment worker. BCWS is regarded by the international labor rights movement as among the most effective grassroots labor organizations in Bangladesh. Kalpona’s work has been covered extensively by local and international media, including ABC, BBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.


In order to conduct interviews of those most affected by human rights crises in the global economy, Voice of Witness has partnered with numerous organizations and scholars, among them:

International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)

Sweatfree Communities

Good Electronics

Basel Action Network (BAN)

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) (Hong Kong)

Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWIS)

Citizens for a Better Environment (Zambia),

Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff Project

Pesticide Action Network (PANNA)

EcoViva (El Salvador)

Centro de Apoyo del Trabajador (Puebla, Mexico)

NISGUA (Guatemala)

International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT)

Uzbek-German Human Rights Forum

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

International Longshore & Warehouse Workers’ Union (ILWU)

Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS)

California Rural Legal Assistance

Dr. Lisa Rofel, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz; Dr. Ching Kwan Lee, Professor of Sociology at UCLA; Dr. Alastair Fraser, Professor of Political Science, Cambridge University; Dr. Miles Larmer, University of Sheffield; and Dr. Gregor Murray of the University of Montreal are among the contributing scholars for this book.


This project, and the work of Voice of Witness, is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

To support outreach and educational work for this book, just click here.