March 25 PSN: Storytelling and Fundraising

This PSN explores the role of storytelling and listening for activists and organizers who are, want to be, or need to be involved in fundraising. The chat will examine the various roles narrative can play in working with individual donors, volunteers, boards, grants, and foundations -- as well as the ways utilizing storytelling might support, or perhaps undermine, the social justice work of our organizations.

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Feb 3 PSN: E-Security for Oral Historians in the Age of Trump

As people using oral history for social justice, we often collaborate with and record the stories of people, such as undocumented immigrants or queer and trans people, who are particularly vulnerable to potential harm if their stories are shared in ways they did not consent to. And as activists, we may be targets of surveillance. What do social justice oral historians need to know about cyber security? Where do we draw the line between being paranoid and being naive? In this chat, we will share strategies and skills for managing electronic security for oral history projects.

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Feb 21 PSN: Oral History and Decolonization: Reclaiming Stories and Ancestral Wisdom

Indigenous-led movements like that to protect the water at Standing Rock highlight the power of ancestral wisdom in transformative change. As movement-oriented oral historians and practitioners, how can the process and practice of oral history help us root ourselves in the wisdom of our own traditions and ancestors?

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Building Movements with Oral History in 2017

Dear Groundswell Community,

We experienced a lot in 2016. A presidential election that shook this country to its core. Native American led organizing against environmental destruction and for Native sovereignty. Black led organizing against police brutality and anti-Blackness. Movements led by undocumented people against their exploitation and criminalization. Many personal and collective tragedies and triumphs. And everything in between.

As we approach 2017, may we be reminded of the power of people’s voices (and the documentation of these voices) in the building of strong, inclusive, liberatory social movements.

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Student-Farmworker Collaborations that Yield Stories and Build Justice

We hear a lot about immigrants in the media. It’s a story we all think we know about how times in Mexico and Central America are hard and how this hardship drives men and women to cross borders and take other people’s jobs. Many of us want to help, some of us want these people to return to their country of origin, but few of us take the time to ask questions and listen. Mainstream media rarely let immigrants speak for themselves.

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Building the StoryCorps Justice Project: Call for Groundswell Practitioner Perspectives

StoryCorps, the national oral history project, is launching the Justice Project – an initiative that will amplify and preserve the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by mass incarceration and the justice system nationwide   We hope to use this and other Groundswell spaces to generate response, engagement, and reflection as we build this project.  Please help us build the best project possible.  

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July 8 PSN: The Archivist is IN: An Open Q&A with Members of the XFR Collective,

Join members of the grassroots archival collective XFR (pronounced "transfer") Collective for a conversation about how to organize, safeguard, and archive oral history materials. What questions should you ask as you begin an archival project? What kinds of tools might you use to make sure that your digital and paper files are findable? Bring your own questions, and join us for what we hope will be just the start of an ongoing conversation.

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Report Back on May’s PSN: Self-Care for Social Justice Oral Historians

On May 26th, seven women-identified oral history practitioners gathered for May’s PSN, Self-Care for Social Justice Oral Historians. Our sharing circled above a loving attention to our bodies and the ways in which they communicate their profound knowing to us. In the social justice and oral history communities in which many of us operate, the idea of caring for ourselves is regarded as an afterthought, internalized as secondary to “the real work”. 

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Listening through Time and Finding My Own Place

The first thing that struck me about Listening through Time and Place: An Oral History Exhibit was the size of it. The information to wade in was both wide and deep. An average of four—and often more—five- to 10-minute excerpts of life history interviews featured in each of twelve exhibits may not sound overwhelming until you realize that each excerpt is designed as a gateway not just to that person’s life, but to an entire zeitgeist. 

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May PSN: Self-Care for Social Justice Oral Historians

In oral history, deep listening requires the interviewer to open themselves to the narrator's stories. Such stories can be challenging and even painful. We often discuss how to support our narrators in telling difficult stories, but rarely how to take care of ourselves as we listen to them. In this chat we will build on conversations, in both the academic and the activist world, about burnout and resilience. The goal is to share experiences and develop self-care strategies for social justice oral historians.

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Forty Blocks: The East Garfield Park Oral History Project

Before you read further, please google the phrase East Garfield Park. Okay, aside from the ubiquitous Wiki entry, what did you find? Our guess is you saw mostly hits that involved crime and gentrification in some way. The mainstream dominant media portrays this community in the heart of Chicago’s West Side as crime ridden, poverty stricken, and little else.  East Garfield Park organizations and residents strive to rewrite this narrative. 

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APRIL PSN: Storytelling the Environment: How can we use stories to help understand and protect the natural world?

April's PSN Video Chat aims to develop strategies for utilizing storytelling to affect positive change in the natural world and to emphasize the human race's responsibility to our planet. This chat will examine the various roles narrative can play in environmental activism, from how storytellers can convey complex scientific knowledge to the general public to how personal storytelling can be used to affect public policy. 

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