Most of you know that editing and compiling the Voice of Witness book Nowhere to Be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma's Military Regime was a transformative experience for me — it was a real honor and responsibility to share the life stories of people directly and deeply impacted by Burma's decades of oppressive military rule. I believe oral history creates a sacred space for listening and remembering, for giving complexity and texture to our understanding of critical social justice issues. And I believe it’s vital to put the voices of people directly affected in the foreground as we shape how to move forward on these challenging issues. I feel proud to be part of Voice of Witness, a unique organization that puts oral history to the service of social justice and gives us a platform for writing history from the bottom up.
I’m fundraising for Voice of Witness to support the amazing work of their education program, which puts these oral history books into students’ hands, and supports young people in telling the stories of their own communities through oral history. In my teaching work, I’ve seen how engaging with issues through firsthand life stories gives students a completely different — and captivating — entrance point to thinking about the world around them.
Students who read the oral history books in our series hear from undocumented immigrants, refugees, and the wrongfully convicted, among many others whose voices are rarely heard in classroom texts. They discover unexpected moments of connection and develop a more nuanced understanding of the world around them. To foster these experiences, we support teachers with oral history training, books, lesson plans, and one-on-one curricular consulting.
Any donation, tiny or large, helps! $25 gets an oral history guidebook to a teacher. $50 allows that teacher to make a customized lesson plan. $100 puts an audio recorder and a book in a student's hands. Scroll through the photos on the left to see more info about how the donations are used.
Over the past five years, Voice of Witness has offered services and resources for free to thousands of students and teachers around the U.S. who otherwise could not afford them. This would not be possible without the generous support of people like you, and we rely on your help to continue this work.
Please help me meet my $500 fundraising goal to support the Making History campaign!