SIMONETTE BALTAZAR VERMILLION'S CLASS
Engaging Our Community
Simonette Baltazar Vermillion teaches Pre-AP English 1 at Rancho Verde High School. She is new to the oral history project and asked her students to focus on artivism. She says that the “Oral History Project gave my students the opportunity to engage with their community and offered them the chance of learning new skills they will need to be successful in high school, college, and career. I had an awesome team and mentors who gave me all the resources I needed to implement the project successfully and were quick to respond to all my questions throughout the process.”
Simonette suggests the following for educators new to oral history projects: “Show YouTube videos to introduce Artivism. Introduce students to the community and who can they contact. Give students time to compose letters to the person they chose to interview; Show sample letters. Once students had conducted their interviews and consent forms collected, let students share their experiences on what they had learned about our community. Let students brainstorm with each other on how they can present their project through art. Have an honest discussion on their findings.”
Select artwork to see the oral history of the person (the narrator) who inspired it and a brief artist statement.
Names of narrators appear first, followed by the artist statement.
All oral histories and artist statements have been edited for length and clarity. Oral histories and artist work/statement are shared with permission.
"LOVE" BY KIERRA
A spoken word poem based on the oral history of Dr. Judy White
Anyone can say they love you
But does that make it true
I can hurt you with my words or my fist
And strip you from your meaningful bliss
That’s not love
Love is not a hug
Nor is it a present containing a mug
Love is an act
When all of humanity is one pact
Love defeats those who are racist, sexist, prejudice, rapist and immoral
And highlights those who are honorable and loyal
Loyal to God’s commandment
To love thy neighbor as thy self
For those who don’t love, don’t know God, for God is love.
Now let that be used as empowerment
To help people with their health and wealth
And show them what mankind is truly made of
But hold on, let’s not get to hasty
We have to digest the impact
The reason why an African American woman should have been broken but is still intact
Well, let me tell you gracefully
A woman who’s smart and bright who has a doctorate
And is also in charge of a corporate
Had to go through rough times but see you didn’t know that
A young African American girl dealing with difficult times in her household and doubt from others
Has a passion to learn and a passion to exceed not only for herself but for people all over.
She had a love for learning
Someone loved her enough to motivate, encourage, and see her thriving
She loves students so she supports, teaches, helps and guides young brilliant minds
Like mines and those throughout the course time.
So to make our Moreno Valley community great, which is what many people propose
It’s so simple because the answer will always be love!