Voice of Witness

Voice of Witness is a nonprofit that uses oral history to illuminate ongoing human rights crises in the U.S. and around the world. It produces an acclaimed book series, published by McSweeney’s, that depicts these injustices through the stories of the men and women who experience them. Our education program fosters youth engagement with human rights by bringing these stories, and the issues they reflect, into classrooms throughout the U.S. and by providing holistic, oral history-based curricula support to educators. Voice of Witness was founded by author Dave Eggers and physician Lola Vollen.

For more information, visit www.voiceofwitness.org
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Excerpt from Palestine Speaks in Guernica Magazine Sacred_Land_2011_550_tall Guernica
We are excited to share an early excerpt from our next book release Palestine Speaks: Voices from the West Bank and Gaza that Guernica ran this month. READ IT HERE. To read more about Palestine Speaks and pre-order the book from Powell’s Books, click here. We also encourage you to pre-order copies through your local bookseller or…

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(Audio Clip: Pauline Frederick, Apr 1984 Pt. 2)

What was it like for staff when United Nations headquarters was located at Hunter College before it found a permanent home on the east side of Manhattan?  Did you know that Sture Linnér, the former Chief of the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), was supposed to have been on board the same plane as Dag Hammarskjöld before it tragically crashed in 1961?

Since its founding in 1945, the United Nations has served as a forum and an instrument of peace comprised of many different personalities.  How better to learn about the Organization’s rich history than through the voices and words of the people who lived through it?

The United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library announces the launch of the United Nations Oral History website.  For the first time, select interview transcripts and audio files from this collection are available online.  From first hand participants,  learn about the discussions held during the creation of the United Nations Charter; learn more of the origins of “Uniting for Peace” resolution; discover how the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspections searched for weapons of mass destruction.  Take a tour back in time as former delegates, UN staff members, and journalists recount their experiences with the United Nations.

The UN launches an website devoted to oral history - pretty cool! 


An alternate cover look for our seashore issue, which hits newsstands next week. Or buy it from any of America’s finest dead tree retailers, like Powell’s in PDX

We just picked up the latest issue of the cult-favorite food journal Lucky Peach and are thrilled it includes an excerpt from our upcoming book, Palestine Speaks. On newsstands today!

Words of Praise for “Palestine Speaks” forthcoming in November 2014

The Voice of Witness staff has been so pleased to hear the encouraging reactions of early Palestine Speaks: Voices from the West Bank and Gaza readers—especially since those readers include George Saunders, Ben Ehrenreich, and Noam Chomsky. We’d like to share there reactions now and link to an excerpt from one of the narratives that Guernica published last week …

A stunning, essential, and…

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The Myanmar government hopes to implement the policies ratified in the ILO Convention this past December. Learn about the Convention and what that means for child laborers in Myanmar in this July 18 article in The Irrawaddy. 

If you’re interested in global labor rights, we hope you’ll check out the latest Voice of Witness book Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy

Summer Matching Challenge Results . . .

The Voice of Witness Summer Matching Challenge just ended this week, and we’re happy to announce that we met our fundraising goal and then some raising $37,000 total! These funds will directly support our book projects, education outreach, and core capacity—all furthering our mission of fostering more nuanced, empathetic understanding of contemporary human rights crises through story.

On behalf of everyone on the Voice of Witness staff, the narrators in our book series, and the educators we work with, THANK YOU!

Fausto Guzman, a vineyard worker in Healdsburg, California, shares his story in Voice of Witness’s most recent release, Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global EconomyIn this passage, Guzman describes waking up in the hospital after collapsing at work. 

I remember the ambulance arriving and being inside it. The ambulance took me to the hospital in Healdsburg. I was there for one night, I think. After examining me, the doctor told me I had 45 percent saturation of carbon monoxide in my blood. My heart had stopped. I’d had a heart attack. The doctor told me that the fumes from the forklift were responsible. The forklift was damaged and giving off carbon monoxide fumes, and ventilation in the warehouse was poor. Some of my co-workers were also sent to the hospital but they were fine. That day, I was the only one who’d worked the entire time inside.

At the hospital, the doctor ran a number of tests on me and finally told me that my heart wasn’t working normally anymore, that the carbon monoxide had damaged it. He told me, “You need a pacemaker.”

To read more of Fausto Guzman’s narrative or other voices, click here. 

Report from Amplifying Unheard Voices 2014

Report from Amplifying Unheard Voices 2014

by Natalie Catasús

On the first day of Amplifying Unheard Voices, Education Program Director Cliff Mayotte posed a big question: why does telling stories matter? It was a question our group would return to over and over again during the four day oral history training run by the Voice of Witness Education Program.

Cliff and Claire, the Education Program…

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Forced labor investigations continue in Thailand’s seafood industry. Check out this recent article from the Wall Street Journal that outlines the nature of the allegations. 

Learn more about global labor rights in the latest release from Voice of Witness, Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy

In honor of the release of Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy (McSweeney’s Voice of Witness, May 2014), we’re sharing related content that raises awareness for global labor rights this month.

Read about the plight of Indian migrant workers in the Gulf in this June 13th article featured in The Diplomat.

If you’re interested in global labor rights, learn more about Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy