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. 


Website created for Oral Histories of the Inland Empire (2018).