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Social Justice Task Force Commission Feedback

The Oral History Association’s Social Justice Task force would like to welcome OHA members to review and comment on the proposed report as an addition to the current Principles and Best Practices suite of documents.

You can read the current draft of the for the proposed documents here: https://www.oralhistory.org/social-justice-task-force-commission-summary-and-recommendations-report/.

Comment period:

Members will have the next 25 days to comment before members vote at the business meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 12:30-2:00 EST at the OHA Annual Meeting. There are several ways to do so. We have created a Google Form where members can comment, either anonymously or not. One can also email the Oral History Association executive office.

And, we also want to offer space for people to communicate directly with one or more of the task force’s leadership. So, we have set up two video meetings. See below for details. “Seating” is limited, but if there is enough interest, we will look to add another session.

Video meeting dates – google sheet for sign in for virtual meeting RSVP – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Lu8Jn9AsWWcVC43Oy7dWqYNtz_ckDwDiVR0EZDV-ueA/edit#gid=0

Sept 23: 1pm – 2pm PST (2pm MT/3pm CST/4pm EST)

Sept 28: 2pm – 3pm PST (3pm MT/4pm CST/5pm EST)

Last, even though all their names appear in the introduction, we want to thank here too all the members of the Task force for all their hard work. They are: Anne Balay, Christy Hyman, Sarah Loose, Sarah Milligan (OHA ex-officio), Amaka Okechukwu, Sherrie Tucker, Tara White.

Special thanks to our early reviewers: Wesley Hogan, Malinda Lowery, Nepia Mahuika, Sarah McNamara, and Yuri Rameriz. Thanks also to Voice of Witness, the New Zealand Oral History Association, and Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change — whose ideas and spirit of true oral history are reflected in this document.

Nishani Frazier & Cliff Mayotte
Task force Co-Chairs

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OHA 2021 Business Meeting: Bylaws Revision and Addition

After the 2021 Annual Meeting, OHA President, Dan Kerr, appointed an Organization Restructuring Taskforce, comprised of Tomás Summers Sandoval (chair); Cynthia Tobar; Allison Tracy-Taylor (until February); and Yolanda Leyva (since April). The Taskforce’s charge was to review the current structure with respect to committees, task forces, and interest groups; review association documents and consult with current committee leadership and others; and propose changes to improve the organizational structure and ensure it reflects and supports the new Strategic Plan.

Out of their work, they have proposed the following changes to the Bylaws regarding OHA’s committee structure. Changes were approved at the August 2021 Council Meeting, and now need to be voted on by the membership at the Business Meeting. As per OHA Bylaws, the changes need to be presented to membership 30 days in advance.

There is a Bylaw Revision and three Bylaw Additions (the numbers reflected below is what the new bylaw order will be). Members can find the complete Bylaws under Association Business on the public website.

The Business Meeting will take place during the 2021 Annual Meeting, on Tuesday, October 12, 12:30pm ET.

Revision

Original Bylaw Language:

COMMITTEES

The standing committees of the Association shall be Education, Emerging Professionals, Diversity, Finance, International, Membership, and Publications. Council may create and dissolve standing committees as necessary to accomplish the mission of the Association. In addition to the standing committees, the president may appoint such ad hoc committees as may be necessary from time to time. Vacant committee member and chair positions, except for the Nominating Committee, shall be appointed for specified terms by the president. This process will be completed as soon as possible after the annual meeting. Association members will be given opportunities to express their interest in serving on particular committees, and that interest can be taken into consideration when appointments are made. Chairs will work with the president to draft committee charges for the coming year. Chairs, engaging their full committees, will work with Council to fulfill charges and will report the activities of their committees to Council three times a year (with the first report due prior to the mid-winter meeting, the second during the summer, and the third prior to the annual meeting). Council liaisons will be responsible for working closely with their respective committees, promoting the efforts of these committees, and ensuring that the committees are acting to fulfill the organization’s objectives. Expectations of chairs and committee members will be communicated prior to appointment. In instances of unsatisfactory service, Council shall have the option to remove committee members or chairs.

New Bylaw 14 Revised Language:

COMMITTEES

The OHA relies on committees of members to fulfill the mission of the Association.  Committees execute the work and responsibilities as described in these Bylaws and in their charge, provided by Council on an annual basis. Council may create or dissolve committees as necessary to accomplish the mission of the Association. The standing committees of the Association will be Advocacy, Awards, Committee on Committees, Development, Diversity, Education, Emerging Professionals, Finance, International, Membership, Nominating, Programming, Publications, and Scholarships, as described below:

  • ADVOCACY COMMITTEE guides Council and the Association in their role as an advocate for the field of oral history and issues of concern to the Association and its membership. The committee coordinates public statements relating to our principles and best practices, and the rights of oral historians and narrators. More broadly, they advise the OHA in our efforts to support a more equitable, just, and democratic world; defend marginalized voices and peoples; and protect the process of free inquiry.
  • AWARDS COMMITTEE determines the recipients of the various awards and scholarships sponsored by the OHA. Through its subcommittees, it ensures transparent criteria for the selection of awardees and fulfills the mission of the organization in its conferral of awards.
  • COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES recruits and assigns members to serve on the committees of the Association. The Committee on Committees seeks the advice and consent of Council in making committee assignments and actively seeks to fulfill the goals of the Association with regards to diversity and inclusion.  
  • DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE oversees the association’s fundraising campaigns and other efforts to support the growth of the endowment in accordance with the strategic plan and the mission of the association.  
  • DIVERSITY COMMITTEE supports the Association’s work with regard to diversity and equity within the membership, leadership, annual meetings, and in the field more generally. The committee works independently and collaboratively with other committees to foster inclusivity and promote the meaningful involvement of historically-marginalized populations, in particular those based on race/ethnicity, spiritual beliefs, gender, sexuality, class, and ability. The committee also advances the inclusion of unaffiliated oral history activists and practitioners.
  • EDUCATION COMMITTEE promotes the use of oral history in the classroom and works to ensure the Association meets the needs of educators. The committee creates and maintains networks of educators to facilitate communication; promotes excellence and innovation in oral history education; and provides professional development resources for educators at all levels.
  • EMERGING PROFESSIONALS COMMITTEE ensures the Association is welcoming and professionally relevant to new professionals entering the field (including students, interns, early-career oral historians, and oral historians seeking their first professional jobs). The committee helps create an inclusive and nurturing community within the Association by providing resources, advice and mentorship initiatives, networking opportunities, and by advising Council on policies and procedures to advocate for new professionals within OHA and the public sphere.
  • FINANCE COMMITTEE oversees the finances of the Association and provides information and advice to the officers and Council on their fiduciary responsibilities with respect to OHA income, expenses, and investments. To promote an informed and transparent decision-making process, the committee reviews the annual budget and audit, and ensures the executive office maintains appropriate financial records.
  • INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE fosters and maintains relationships with oral history programs, organizations, and practitioners beyond the United States. The committee maintains open communication with these constituencies and advises the association as it seeks to support and advance the practice of oral history abroad and enhance the presence of non-U.S. practitioners within the membership. The committee serves as the liaison to the International Oral History Association, and encourages the reciprocal participation of members of both in the others’ organization, annual meetings, and publications.  
  • MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE promotes the mission of the Oral History Association by ensuring the growth of a dynamic and diverse membership. The committee maintains membership data, conducts membership drives, and promotes efforts to enhance membership benefits and involvement in the association.
  • NOMINATING COMMITTEE nominates members of the Association for election to Council or as officers of the association, subject to the approval of Council. The committee seeks nominees reflecting the diversity of our membership and the inclusion of those historically marginalized within the profession, and collaborates with the Diversity Committee and others to fulfill its charge and promote clear pathways toward leadership within the OHA.
  • PUBLIC PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE sponsors and hosts a yearly program of events, workshops, and other gatherings relating to oral history and aligned with the needs and interests of the membership of the Association.
  • PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE develops and implements a comprehensive and professional publications program for the Association that reflects the diverse and varying interests and needs of the membership and broader public. The committee reviews and solicits publications both in traditional print and electronic formats, including white papers and pamphlets produced by segments of the OHA.
  • SCHOLARSHIPS COMMITTEE selects recipients for the OHA Annual Meeting scholarship awards.

 Committees fulfill the responsibilities described above and as specified in an annual charge given them by Council. All committees are responsible for making a report of their work to Council—once in advance of the midwinter meeting and again in advance of the annual meeting—and whenever Council may request. As the foundation of the Association’s work, committees are also responsible for suggesting ways the Association might better serve its members and fulfill its mission and goals. Committees have the right to make motions at the annual business meeting without the need for a second for the motion to be considered by the floor. All committees will be assigned a meeting time at the annual meeting and in consultation with the vice-president/president-elect, committees may sponsor sessions at the annual meeting.

 Each year, with the advice and consent of Council, the Committee on Committees selects members to serve on all committees (with the exception of the Nominating Committee, whose membership is determined as described in these Bylaws). Committee members must be members in good standing of the Association and no one person can serve simultaneously on more than one committee. Committee membership should reflect the diversity of the membership of the Association and ensure the inclusion of groups who have been historically-marginalized within the profession. Annual committee assignments are finalized by July 1st, announced before the annual meeting, and terms of service begin at the beginning of the meeting. As part of their service, committee members are required to participate in committee meetings during the year, attend the annual meeting, and take an active role in supporting the committee’s charge.

In order to encourage and maintain effective communication between Council and the Committees, each Council member and officer (except for the Vice President/President Elect) will be assigned to serve as a liaison to one or more Committees. Council liaisons are non-voting, ex-officio members of the Committee to which they are appointed. Liaison assignments for the upcoming year are made by the outgoing Council immediately upon the election of new committee members and Association officers. To facilitate transition, both the outgoing and incoming liaisons should attend the appropriate Committee meetings at the annual meeting. In order to fulfill their responsibilities with regard to the planning and organizing of the annual meeting and conference, the Vice President/President Elect will not be assigned liaison duties. 

 Each committee is guided in their work by one or more chairs. Committees select their own chairs by the Annual Meeting and notify the President of their decision. Chairs are responsible for fostering an open and democratic process for their committee. They convene and preside over committee meetings and, with the participation of the committee members, develop an agenda for each meeting and keep a record of the attendance and minutes. Chairs are tasked with collaborating with their Council liaison to maintain open and informed communication between the committee and Council. Toward that end, they are responsible for preparing and presenting reports of the committee’s work to Council.

Addition

New Bylaw 15:

TASK FORCES

The President, in consultation with Council, may create a task force when the needs of the Association so require. A task force is an ad hoc committee of members charged with specific (usually time-limited) tasks. The president shall appoint a task force chair (or chairs) and will work with them to appoint members and develop a clear charge, including the work they are to accomplish and a timeline for its completion. If no members of Council are appointed to the task force, the president will act as liaison.

 Task forces make reports of their work in progress to Council, as requested.  When they have completed their work they make a full report to the Council for formal action. Once Council recognizes their charge as complete, the task force is disbanded. If the work of the task force reveals itself to be a continuing need, Council will consider whether to convert the task force into a standing committee.

New Bylaw 16:

CAUCUSES

The OHA is defined by its mission and governance documents, but also by the interests, concerns, and needs of its membership. One of the ways these shape the Association is through our caucuses. A caucus is a formally-recognized group within the membership, one defined by a shared identity, interest, or other criteria. The goal of a caucus is to foster community and inclusivity while creating mutually-beneficial relationships within the Association.

 Caucuses are created by members according to their own initiative and interest. Council formally recognizes a Caucus upon their request and in accordance with the goals of the Association. In general, a request for recognition should be made by at least ten (10) members in good standing and include a succinct description of the defining composition of the caucus. Once recognized, caucuses will be advertised within the Association and its membership. They will also be given meeting time within the program of the annual meeting.

 Caucuses have no formal responsibilities to the Association but, as recognized and valued segments of our community, the OHA welcomes their voice, advocacy, and contributions toward strengthening the work of the Association. 

 In order to maintain formal status, each caucus must submit the names of up to two co-chairs and a roster of current members at the end of each annual meeting. Chairs are responsible for convening the caucus and maintaining formal status. They should be selected by the caucus members on an annual basis and in a manner agreed to by a majority of those participating.

New Bylaw 12:

COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES

There shall be a Committee on Committee composed of six members, three of whom are elected by the members on each annual ballot from a slate of not less than five nor more than seven candidates proposed by the Council, in addition to nominations by petition. Candidates may be paired. Members shall vote for three candidates. If they are paired, the nominee in each pair receiving the higher number of votes shall be elected. If they are not paired, the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. Members of the Committee on Committees shall serve for two years until their successors are announced at the annual meeting of the Association immediately following the election.

 

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Call for Proposals: Assessing the Role of Race and Power in Oral History Theory and Practice

June 2022
Convened by the Ad Hoc Group for Transformative Oral History Practice* in
collaboration with the Oral History Association and the Oral History Center at UC
Berkeley

It has been just over one year since a White police officer murdered George Floyd, sparking the largest call for racial justice in this country in a generation. Support for Black Lives Matter reached an all-time high in June 2020, with nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults holding a favorable opinion of the movement, and support spilling over to all corners of the globe. White Americans also helped take down Confederate monuments and bought books on antiracism in record numbers while corporations pledged millions of dollars to social justice organizations and causes. One year later, however, commemorations of Floyd’s life and legacy asked:  “What’s changed since?”

We acknowledge that “Assessing the Role of Race and Power in Oral History Theory and Practice” is taking place amid revitalized demands for understanding – and changing – the systemic racism that enabled a White police officer to murder a Black citizen in daylight without seeming fear of repercussions. But it is also taking place at a time of fierce backlash to any understanding of the oppressive forces that enabled Floyd’s murder. At the time of this writing, some state legislatures have passed laws banning the teaching of critical race theory, even as a majority of states seek to suppress the Black vote and overturn our elections.  Recent events such as these are causing many to evaluate the role of structural racism and White supremacy in the arts and humanities, including the practice of oral history. 

Building on an enthusiastically received panel that asked “Is Oral History White?” at the 2020 Oral History Association annual meeting, participants in that session (calling ourselves the Ad Hoc Group for Transformative Oral History Practice), in collaboration with the Oral History Association and the Oral History Center at UC Berkeley, are convening a symposium that will define, identify, analyze, assess, and imagine alternatives to conventional practices, prevailing ideologies, and institutional structures of oral history in the United States and Canada, as they pertain to historic and current forms of systemic racial discrimination. In essence, the symposium is moving beyond the question the 2020 panel asked – “Is Oral History White?” – to interrogate broader structures and dynamics of race and racialized thinking in oral history. 

We are inviting proposals from oral historians and others involved in fieldwork-related interviewing practices, as well as critical race and Whiteness theorists, to submit proposals for symposium papers that pose major questions and offer precise assessments of racial constructs as a factor in all phases of oral history work: project design, research processes, financial and budgetary matters, fieldwork and community relations, interviewing, archival practices, and public presentation and interpretation of narrative materials. 

The “Assessing the Role of Race and Power in Oral History Theory and Practice” symposium will take place via Zoom Webinar over a three-day period in June 2022. We expect to convene approximately thirty-five presenters, spread over six to eight sessions of two hours each. With the assistance of a moderator and/or one or more discussants, session presenters will summarize and discuss pre-circulated papers posted on a conference website, which will have also been made available to registered attendees in advance of the symposium. Symposium sessions will allow time for audience questions and comments, vetted and synthesized via the Zoom Webinar “Q&A” function by the session moderator. This format will allow for especially robust and probing discussion during sessions. 

This symposium should present a significant opportunity for audience members to reflect personally upon the charged subject of race in oral history in a pedagogically constructive way. Discussions of racialized experience and representations in our field will raise not only important insights but also strong emotions. We expect our audience to have a vast range of racial identities and relationships – including but not limited to Whiteness and Blackness – and varying degrees of experience reflecting upon that. We therefore plan to set shared expectations for constructive conversation rooted in mindful awareness, good faith engagement, and emotional maturity at the very beginning of the symposium and to create opportunities for small-group discussion and individually tailored self-reflection over the duration of the symposium. We hope that the symposium’s virtual nature, with participants in the relative privacy and comfort of their own homes, will contribute to this aspect of the symposium experience. Above all, we plan to keep discussion focused on practical applications of whatever theoretical and conceptual insights into race in oral history our symposium may furnish.

Intended outcomes include publication of revised versions of selected conference papers in an edited volume and a white paper assessing OHA’s racialized history, practices, and programs, to be developed by symposium organizers. Organizers, in cooperation with OHA’s Equity Task Force and Diversity Committee, will also create and promulgate guidelines for racial equity in oral history.

Pending receipt of grant monies, we hope to provide honoraria for symposium presenters.

Proposal Information 

Each proposal should include a title, an abstract of no more than 500 words, and a short biographical statement of no more than 300 words. Include your name, institutional affiliation if relevant, mailing address, email address, and phone number. The abstract must outline the research that you either have conducted or intend to conduct in support of your proposed presentation, the sources that you have consulted or will consult, and the collections in which you have conducted or will conduct research. While we anticipate that most proposals will be for a single paper, we welcome proposals for full sessions, also – to include 3-5 papers, moderator and discussant/s. We also welcome inquiries from individuals interested in serving as a session moderator or discussant to include a brief statement of interest and a short summary of work in oral history. Proposals are due October 1, 2021. (See below for more information.)

Some questions and themes we expect symposium participants may address include:

(Please note that we are open to other related questions and explorations.)

Whiteness and White Supremacy

  • How should Whiteness be defined, and how do the deep structures and conventions of our practice reflect Whiteness, structural racism, and White supremacy?
  • How might an interrogation of unexamined Whiteness be brought to bear on work in oral history? This might be done by assessing a past project or the curation of an existing collection or by considering the planning and implementation of a project currently under development. (Note: While we welcome case studies that audit specific projects, we would also like to see papers go beyond that.) 
  • How has work that has drawn upon existing collections reproduced racialized assumptions? 
  • What are some examples of projects that handled or represented racial dynamics, including Whiteness, in a creative, antiracist, or otherwise generative way?

Non-Western perspectives and approaches

  • What has oral history learned from Indigenous, African American and other perspectives and approaches that fall outside the dominant Western paradigm?
  • What patterns do we see in our own work that can be traced to BIPOC origins and models? What do these BIPOC origins and models have to teach us about the pitfalls of Whiteness and White Supremacy? 
  • How might specific insights, both theoretical and methodological, generated by the field of Critical Race Studies, help guide practical approaches to oral history? 
  • How and in what circumstances has oral history operated against the grain of prevailing racial assumptions?
  • What can oral historians learn about power dynamics and reflexivity from research in the field of trauma studies?

Invisible Architecture

  • How have the institutional and organizational structures underlying work in oral history been racialized? How has the way oral history has been funded and otherwise supported contributed to unintentional racial bias? How has the “history from below” approach perpetuated these biases? And how do White interviewers themselves perpetuate bias?
  • Over its fifty-plus year history, how has the work of the Oral History Association been racialized or reflective of broader patterns of White supremacy? In what ways and to what effect has the association functioned as a gatekeeper for oral history and oral historians, including some practitioners, practices, and work, excluding others, through its various products and programs such as the Principles and Best Practices, annual meeting, and publication of the Oral History Review? How has the association addressed racial issues over time, to what effect? 
  • When and where is it appropriate for oral historians to think beyond our individual projects and consider the role of the institutions we work for in order to tackle structural racism?

Oral history and current events

  • How are oral historians and the institutions and organizations with which we are affiliated responding to the current political moment? How might we respond more effectively?
  • Oral history is by its nature a civic enterprise and a medium for public engagement. How can oral history mobilize anti-racist constituencies, create dialogue around difficult issues, and/or influence public opinion or policy?
  • What are the limits of oral history in combating structural racism?

The deadline for proposal submissions is October 1  November 1.

Notification of acceptance: On or about November 15.

Submit proposals to:

In the subject line of your email, please write, “Last Name Symposium Proposal Submission” and send to: MOC.L1632487183IAMG@1632487183YROTS1632487183IHLAR1632487183OEVIT1632487183AMROF1632487183SNART1632487183. Proposals should be sent as an attachment in Word or PDF formats and not in the body of the email. Please include a cover page with your name, contact information, and brief bio.

Questions may be directed to:

MOC.L1632487183IAMG@1632487183YROTS1632487183IHLAR1632487183OEVIT1632487183AMROF1632487183SNART1632487183

Final papers should be submitted no later than April 15, 2022 in order to post them on the conference website for distribution  to conference attendants by May 1, 2022

Final papers should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words and include a bibliography. 

Submit final papers to: 

In the subject line of your email, please write, “Last Name Symposium Paper Submission” and send to:  MOC.L1632487183IAMG@1632487183YROTS1632487183IHLAR1632487183OEVIT1632487183AMROF1632487183SNART1632487183. Proposals should be sent as an attachment in Word or PDF formats and not in the body of the email. Please include a cover page with your name, contact information, and brief bio.

 *The Ad Hoc Group for Transformative Oral History is composed to date of the five panelists who contributed to the OHA’s 2020 conference session, “Is Oral History White?” – Benji de la Piedra, Jessica Douglas, Kelly E. Navies, Linda Shopes and Holly Werner-Thomas.

 

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OHA 2021 Annual Meeting Registration is now open!

Registration for the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting is now open. The conference will take place October 9-14.

2021 Conference Fees:
OHA Member with Institutional Support…$75
OHA Member Independent Scholar … $50
OHA Student Member… $40
Non-member… $120
Non-member Student… $50

The complete program  is available here (All times are listed in Eastern Time). For a refresher of what the different session types are, please see the Call for Proposals.

The descriptions of the pre-conference workshops are available here. This year workshop fees will be on a tiered scale, so feel free to pay as much or as little as you are able.

See our website for more 2021 Virtual Meeting details and for information about signing up as a volunteer.

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OHA’s Response to the Violent Attacks Against Asian Americans

March 22, 2021

In light of the recent violent attacks against the Asian American community, the OHA has done several things to support our friends and neighbors. We have signed onto a statement with fellow professional societies affiliated with the American Council of Learned Societies, decrying the violence. You can find the statement here: https://acls.org/ACLS-News/ACLS-News/March-2021/ACLS-Statement-Condemning-Anti-Asian-Violence. The Council has also gathered together resources that we might rely on as we stand firm against racial injustice pitted toward Asian and Pacific Islander communities. They include:

You can also:

If you have other resources you think we should include, please contact the Executive Office at gro.y1632487183rotsi1632487183hlaro1632487183@aho1632487183. We will continue to post everything we receive on this page.

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Chinese and Spanish Translations of the OHA’s Principles and Best Practices Now Available!

The Principles and Best Practices Documents are now available in Spanish and Chinese! The documents are linked in the Principle and Best Practices suite of documents: https://www.oralhistory.org/principles-and-best-practices-revised-2018/.

Thank you to Denise Amparan, Administrative Assistant, and Vianey Alejandra Zavala, Manager of the University of Texas at El Paso Institute of Oral History, for completing the Spanish translation of the documents:

http://www.oralhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OHA-Best-Practices-Translation-to-Spanish-2020.pdf

Thank you to Lili Wang (North China Electric Power University), Xiaofan Liu and Chenxi Gu ( Communication University of China) for completing the Chinese translation of the documents. And thank you to Bin Liu (North China Electric Power University) and Xiaoyan Li (Cui Yongyuan Center for Oral History, Communication University of China) for editing the translation:

http://www.oralhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OHA-Principles-and-Best-Practices-Chinese-revised.pdf 

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OHA Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 5, 2020

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a member of the Minneapolis Police Department. Following Mr. Floyd’s death, protests and calls for change and an end to police brutality have risen throughout the United States and internationally. The Oral History Association stands in solidarity with the family of Mr. Floyd, Black Lives Matter, protestors, and communities of color, and we echo this call for change. The killing of George Floyd is not an isolated incident, but another event in a long history of state violence and brutality toward people of color in the United States—a history that predates our country itself.

Institutionalized white supremacy is a disturbingly prominent part of American history, placing barriers to economic, social, and educational equality and creating a criminal justice system which is deeply punitive towards Black Americans. Further, militarized police actions that threaten a free press and freedom of assembly have worked to create a terrible legacy of violence and suppression towards those working to change this country.

As oral historians, we understand that through the stories of people—citizens and activists—we can confront oppression and work to create an equitable and just society. In our commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and respect, and to a historical record that documents the experiences of unheard and marginalized voices, we must listen to and amplify the demands of people and communities of color. We must continue to document and expose the injustice so many have suffered for centuries, and develop new projects to expand these efforts.

In this work, it is essential we adopt anti-racist methods and practices. Further, we can and must work to address institutional racism in our institutions and our field, through developing and supporting leaders of color, providing anti-oppression training, and continually working to center the voices and experiences of those most directly impacted by oppression. People of color, whether they be colleagues, narrators, students, or patrons, must be supported and valued. Historical knowledge around police brutality and systemic racism is essential to addressing both, but Black and Brown people must have a clear, equal, and respected role in developing this knowledge.  

Many of our members have dedicated their careers to documenting stories of democratic citizen action and how these efforts can enact change. We have a responsibility to understand and celebrate these successful efforts, and to engage in this work ourselves. There are a number of ways we can support current protests and calls for justice: register to vote, sign petitions, support protestors or participate in protests ourselves, donate to groups and funds working to end police violence and systemic racism, call our legislators, and educate ourselves.

As Black Americans and those acting in allyship in our communities, states, and country engage in difficult and transformative work to end police violence and racism, work that will continue long after the current moment, we are committed to supporting them and participating, now and in the future. Black Lives Matter.

The following organizations have endorsed this statement:

Baylor University Institute for Oral History
Columbia University Oral History Master of Arts Program and
Columbia Center for Oral History Research
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic (OHMAR)
Texas Oral History Association (TOHA)
UNT Oral History Program
UW-Madison Oral History Program

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Highlight: OHA 2019 Diversity Scholarship Award Winner- Anahí Naranjo

Anahí Naranjo Jara is an environmental justice advocate and storyteller from Quito, Ecuador. Anahí is using oral history to highlight the resilience of communities on the frontlines of environmental and social injustices historically silenced in dominant discourses.  Her Pachamama Oral History Project “aims to elevate and center agrarian indigenous individuals in the Ecuadorian Andes to highlight the impact of climate change on the physical and cultural landscape of the region.”

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