The 2023 Sharing History Initiative: Free Oral History Books & Lesson Plans

Sharing History Initiative

Apply for the 2023 Sharing History Initiative to combat educational censorship and center marginalized voices.

The Sharing History Initiative brings oral history and social justice storytelling to classrooms and communities around the United States by providing educators, organizations, and advocates with free Voice of Witness books and curricular resources. VOW’s Sharing History Initiative is geared toward public schools, community colleges, and universities, as well as arts, education, advocacy, or community-based nonprofits.

This national program has placed over 6,500 copies of our books in over 250 schools and organizations around the US since 2015, and offers a dynamic approach for teaching and learning about our society’s most pressing issues of injustice.

In the US, the freedom to learn and teach truth is under increasing threat, from educational gag orders to book bans that aim to erase oppression from our history.

In light of these efforts to deliberately silence stories from marginalized communities, oral history is an important method of bringing these vital voices and perspectives directly into the classroom. It’s critical that students learn from past and present systemic injustice in order to work together toward creating a more just future. Many educators and advocates are actively searching for resources that can help them create inclusive spaces for diverse experiences that better reflect their students and/or the world around them.

We are fighting back through the Sharing History Initiative, which offers free sets of VOW oral history books and lesson plans.

To address this need, the 2023-2024 Sharing History Initiative will offer free copies of a number of VOW books:

VOW’s corresponding lesson plans for each book provide opportunities for students and teachers to learn about intersecting issues and the social, cultural, and historical forces that inform these oral history narratives. The lesson plans support learning about themes such as representation and identity, power and oppression, community resources and cultural wealth, racial and economic inequity, migration and climate change, and more.

The corresponding discussion questions for each book offer a jumping off point for groups to explore these crucial topics.

For advocates and organizations, these first-person stories and resources can serve as powerful advocacy tools in your work to advance racial justice, immigration justice, climate justice, and equity.

Applications open on April 18! Learn more and apply here.

The Sharing History Initiative is made possible with the generous support of the Germanacos Foundation and the Abundance Foundation.

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