Surviving voices
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Surviving Voices:. The Narrative of Refuge, An Intergenerational Anthology A Miami Dade College Learning Innovations 2006 Golden Apple Grant Project Lisa Shaw English Department North. Project Proposal:.

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Surviving voices

Surviving Voices:

The Narrative of Refuge,

An Intergenerational Anthology

A Miami Dade College Learning Innovations

2006 Golden Apple Grant Project

Lisa Shaw

English Department


Project proposal

Project Proposal:

The recording, compilation, and publication of oral histories of those who found refuge in South Florida

Holocaust survivors

War veterans

Former political prisoners

Katrina evacuees




  • To engage students in meaningful intergenerational dialogue with our broad community of immigrants

  • To engage students as active partners in the preservation of history

Lit 2480 issues in literature and culture

LIT 2480: Issues in Literature and Culture

… explores literature as a form of

cultural expression. Students are engaged in the critical process of analysis by connecting literary texts to cultural issues. Through oral and written assignments, and practical investigation, students will study literature as a socio-cultural response by writers to the world in which they live.



Students read and discussed the literary units in their literature text, then selected a specific historical/cultural area on which to focus (political refugees, Holocaust survivors, Viet Nam veterans).

Readings included

Readings included

  • Ivonne Lamazares, The Sugar Island

  • Elie Wiesel, “The Watch”

  • Taddeus Borowski, “Silence

  • Liam O’Flaherty, “The Sniper”

  • David Powell, “Vietnam: What I Remember”

  • Martin Espada, “Frederico’s Ghost” “Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits”

  • Eric Liu, A Chiaman’s Chance: Reflections on the American Dream,

  • Cathy Song, “Lost Sister”

Surviving voices

  • Chief Seattle’s Speech

  • Chief Red Cloud’s Final Address

  • Louise Hogan, “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways”

  • Dudley Randall, “Melting Pot”

Films and videos

Films and Videos

  • The Joy Luck Club

  • Platoon

  • The Old Settler (video play)

  • Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth:the First Storytellers

  • Night and Fog



Japanese Tea Ceremony

Morikami Museum and Gardens



Our students at Miami Dade are not immune to the suffering of their particular ethnic and cultural communities, but they are personally removed from the historical experiences of other cultures who live just outside the boundaries of their own small neighborhoods.

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  • Cross-cultural exchange: students interview survivors from cultures other than their own.

  • Bridge building connects diverse groups of people with whom students would not otherwise engage in meaningful dialogue.

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Hearing and repeating telling someone else’s survival story imbues students with a responsibility that extends beyond self-serving academics.

Surviving voices

Storytelling acts as a conduit to the compassionate and responsible citizenry we as educators seek to create.

Surviving voices

It promotes fellowship and partnership, offering students a broader, experiential definition of “diversity.”

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It invites seniors to actively remain a valuable part of our community,

supports community agency objectives,

and creates a deep sense of belonging in our students, who are often struggling to find their place in the world.

Surviving voices

It establishes intergenerational dialogue

and becomes living history.

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The project included the participation of and service learning through various community agencies:

  • Veterans Administration

  • Holocaust Educational and Documentation Center

  • Center for Community Involvement

Surviving voices

I appreciate Mr. Gottlieb for sharing his story with me. His voice is the voice of many and his courage shows the resiliency of his people…I am grateful for meeting a great man with such a strong passion for life

Tawana Jenkins,

interviewing Holocaust survivor George Gottlieb

Holocaust survivor george gottlieb and student tawana jenkins

Holocaust Survivor George Gottlieb and Student Tawana Jenkins

Surviving voices

Today, I am unsure of which question Gilbert felt uncomfortable about answering because the “impersonal” interview freely flowed like a conversation between two friends... I believe the best part about meeting Gilbert was his openness to receive a stranger [me] into his life. …It is not the soldier who creates the conflict.

Sade Jenkins, interviewing Viet Nam veteran Gilbert T. Lebron

Viet nam veteran gilbert t lebron with student sade jenkins

Viet Nam Veteran Gilbert T. Lebronwith Student Sade Jenkins

Vietnam veteran verneth melville with student valeria dias

Vietnam Veteran Verneth Melville with student Valeria Dias

Student mark diaz with katrina evacuee sally quinones and family

Student Mark Diaz with Katrina evacuee Sally Quinones and Family

Surviving voices

He told me that there were times when he’d see a woman in the supermarket that looked like his sister and he’d run up to her hoping that she didn’t die in the storm... As many times as I’ve heard and seen images on the news about the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the emotions are never as real as seeing it through their eyes.

Diane Melville, interviewing Katrina evacuee, 18 year-old Alain

Surviving voices

The interview will be a record of her experience in Cuba during the revolution, but also a memory of who she is. As a matter of fact, her family asked me to give them a copy of our interview….I learned the importance of our elders and how we must cherish them while we have them around us.

Elba Lumbi , interviewing Cuban refugee Olga Sanchez

Student elba lumbi with cuban refugee olga sanchez

Student Elba Lumbi with Cuban Refugee Olga Sanchez

Surviving voices

Even though she was speaking an entirely different language, her pain translated perfectly. I experienced everything she was saying, not through her words, but through the pain that I saw reflected in her face while she was speaking... I look at the world and I see what is happening in Sudan, where people are being massacred, or in China, where the government’s economy is rising, but at the cost of its people.

Marie Brevil, interviewing Cuban refugee Mercedes Battista

Student marie brevil with cuban refugee miriam mercedes giew battista

Student Marie Brevil with Cuban Refugee Miriam“Mercedes” Giew Battista

Surviving voices

Mercedes told us that she was going to lose custody of her children because she didn’t want to be a part of the Communist government. …it breaks my heart that my family is going through this in Cuba, that my little cousins are going through this conditioning just as I did, and I don’t know if they will ever be able to experience the freedom that I do.

Lien Parra, Cuban refugee, translator

Laura diaz with former cuban political prisoner ramon diaz and his wife maria esther

Laura Diaz with former Cuban political prisoner Ramon Diaz and his wife, Maria Esther

Student reflections

Student Reflections

“From the moment Ella started telling me her story—which was mostly her experience as a refugee—I automatically saw a connection between her struggle and what many immigrants go through.”

Yudi Cayon, Interviewing

Holocaust refugee Ella Kayon

Surviving voices

Tanaquil Daniel with Ruth Gross

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“Just knowing the first hand accounts of what’s going on in Haiti is a scary thing.

Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. “

Tashieka Witherspoon,

interviewing Haitian refugee ”JD”

Surviving voices

Student Marisha Kelly with Vietnamese artist


Surviving voices

After I interviewed Mrs. Hofrichter, I sat down and thought to myself, this is just one story; how about others that have stories or the millions of others that weren’t as lucky to survive and tell them? This was an assignment but I didn’t take it as such; it was more of a duty as a person.

Paula Roa, interviewing

Holocaust survivor Rita Hofrichter

Service learning with veterans

Service Learning with Veterans

Surviving voices

Interviewing Leah was one of the most humbling and sobering experiences of my life.

Santas Rosario, interviewing Holocaust survivor Leah Lee

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