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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:

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:

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

.


Purpose

  • 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

… 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.


Application

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

  • 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”


  • Chief Seattle’s Speech

  • Chief Red Cloud’s Final Address

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

  • Dudley Randall, “Melting Pot”


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


Excursions

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Morikami Museum and Gardens


Rationale:

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.


  • 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.


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


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


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


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.


It establishes intergenerational dialogue

and becomes living history.


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

  • Veterans Administration

  • Holocaust Educational and Documentation Center

  • Center for Community Involvement


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


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. Lebronwith Student Sade Jenkins


Vietnam Veteran Verneth Melville with student Valeria Dias


Student Mark Diaz with Katrina evacuee Sally Quinones and Family


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


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


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


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


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


Tanaquil Daniel with Ruth Gross


“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”


Student Marisha Kelly with Vietnamese artist

Huong


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


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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