oral history

I Ran a Marathon in Prison

January 15th, 2019|Categories: Criminal Justice, Say It Forward, Witness|Tags: , , , |

by Steve Brooks Steve Brooks is a student at the Prison University Project (PUP) at San Quentin State Prison. His story is one in a series of oral histories that Voice of Witness has collected through collaborative storytelling workshops with PUP students. It was November 17, 2017. A day without glitz and glamour. [...]

Oral History as Social Justice

January 4th, 2019|Categories: Activism, Arts, Cultural and Personal Identity, Education, Narrators, Say It Forward, VOW Book Series|Tags: , , , , |

2019 marks an exciting milestone for Voice of Witness, as we celebrate our ten-year anniversary as a nonprofit, and of our education program. We're proud to have grown our education program into a mighty team of oral history champions, who have taught our ethics-driven methodology widely and helped bring new storytelling projects to life in schools and organizations across [...]

From Solito to Solidarity

November 27th, 2018|Categories: Borders and Boundaries, Exile & Displacement, Home and Belonging, Immigration, Narrators, Refugees, VOW Book Series, VOW Editor Interviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

By Steven Mayers and Jonathan Freedman Gabriel and Soledad, narrators in Solito, Solita, unfurl the Honduran flag in support of refugees. When we began interviewing youth refugees from Central America four and a half years ago, we never imagined that a caravan of Honduran refugees would arrive in Tijuana the same day [...]

Oral History at San Quentin Prison

October 23rd, 2018|Categories: Arts, Criminal Justice, Education, Racial Inequality, Racial Justice|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

by Cliff Mayotte Image courtesy of the Prison University Project The Voice of Witness education team is always looking for opportunities to create deeper engagement and partnership with the communities represented in our book series, so we can ensure our educational resources are reaching the students who need them the most. [...]

10 Actions to End Solitary Confinement

October 1st, 2018|Categories: Activism, Criminal Justice, Narrators, VOW Book Series|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Six by ten feet. That’s the average size of the cell in which tens of thousands of people incarcerated in the United States linger for weeks, months, and even decades in solitary confinement. With little stimulation and no meaningful human contact, these individuals struggle to preserve their identity, sanity, and even their lives. We've just released the latest oral history book in [...]

Puerto Rico, One Year After María

September 20th, 2018|Categories: Environmental Issues, Exile & Displacement, Home and Belonging, Poverty and Economic Rights, Puerto Rico, VOW Editor Interviews, VOW Story Lab|Tags: , , , , |

It’s been one year since Hurricane María battered Puerto Rico, destroying thousands of homes, killing nearly 3,000 people, and leaving many across the island without electricity, access to clean drinking water, food, and medical care. In the past year, the current administration has disregarded facts, crafted its own narrative of the aftermath, and withheld crucial [...]

Fighting Words: Stories from the New York Sanctuary Movement

August 28th, 2018|Categories: Activism, Borders and Boundaries, Exile & Displacement, Immigration, Narrators, Refugees|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

by Jon Earle Image courtesy of The New Sanctuary Coalition A bride and groom are married in chains. A mother prepares her daughters for life without her. Two prison friends sing, "Lord, give us a big heart to love, and a strong heart to fight." These are the stories of immigrants facing [...]

Inside an Immigrant Detention Facility

August 15th, 2018|Categories: Borders and Boundaries, Civil Rights and Security, Criminal Justice, English Language Learners, Exile & Displacement, Home and Belonging, Immigration, Narrators, Refugees, VOW Book Series|Tags: , , , , , |

The topic of immigration has been a critical political issue since borders were built, yet immigrant voices continue to be excluded from this ongoing story within the United States. Recently, we've seen a surge of media coverage discussing an appalling scene at our border: refugees are being arrested and locked away in immigrant detention facilities, and [...]

Oral History Projects from our 2017-18 Germanacos Fellows

August 3rd, 2018|Categories: Arts, Cultural and Personal Identity, Education, English Language Learners, Germanacos Fellows, Sharing History Initiative|Tags: , , , , , , |

Since 2015, the VOW Education Program's Sharing History Initiative has supported passionate and underfunded teachers, storytellers, and community leaders in bringing social justice-based storytelling into their communities. In summer of 2016, the VOW Education Program launched the Germanacos Fellowship for Sharing History, which provides support for outstanding Sharing History Initiative participants to explore groundbreaking new [...]

An Oral History of Organic Farming

July 10th, 2018|Categories: Education, Environmental Issues, Labor Issues|Tags: , , , , |

Our Education Advisory Board member Katie Kuszmar has been collaborating with one of the founders of California Certified Organic Farmers to preserve the history of the organic farming movement and honor the voices of its pioneers by collecting oral history interviews from organic farmers. To contribute to the project, Katie interviewed an organics pioneer named Paul [...]