In her foreword to Judith Flores Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen’s co-edited collection Crafting Critical Stories (2014), Rina Benmayor writes, “To repeat the oft-cited phrase from Chicana writer Cherrie Moraga, telling one’s story enables a 'theorizing from the flesh,’ transforming emotional memory into situated knowledge. Story has the potential, then, to enable everyone to become teachers and learners, of and from each other” (vii). In this year’s oral history project, students were teachers and learners who conducted interviews with narrators of their choice and presented these stories for a broader audience, including you.
We had initially planned to bring these oral histories together in a community event, scheduled for the end of this month. It would’ve been a collaborative celebration where students can showcase, perform, share, and honor the stories of their narrators. However, with the format changed out of necessity, we will be sharing these stories online through our website and social media.
Each week, from now through November, each educator-participant will be selecting a few of their students’ oral history projects. Some students created artivism. Others presented their oral histories as written narratives. All of these stories matter. All of the stories that aren’t (yet) highlighted here matter.
Your story matters.
The educators involved in this project provided opportunities for students to interview people who mattered to them as people. We hope that these students’ work is something that reaches you and that makes you want to keep coming back to read more.
All of the narrators of these oral histories have provided their permission to share these stories with you. And we thank them. And we thank you for listening.
[Cover image by Brison, a student in Ms. Thomas's History class]