AUSTIN: Summer training for Texas After Violence Project interns and volunteers begins June 11

Dear friends and colleagues, and future friends and colleagues,

The Texas After Violence Project is an independent oral history and human rights organization that works toward justice and a less violent Texas:  a society that affirms the dignity and value of every person. We have a small staff and rely on the energy, insights, creativity & hard work of volunteers and interns of all ages and backgrounds.

The Austin summer training session for new Texas After Violence Project volunteers and interns will begin on Friday, June 11. The five-week training schedule is as follows:

June 11 –  Introduction; region, racism, religion, violence & the death penalty in Texas history
June 18 – Oral history I: Why and how we interview
June 25 – Ethics in oral history, code of conduct, consent, & expectations
No training on July 2
July 9 – Oral history II: Camera work
July 16 – Self care: how to keep ourselves healthy while witnessing sorrow and trauma.

All sessions will take place from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m., at our office:  611 SOUTH Congress Avenue, Suite 350, Austin, Texas  78704 (just south of Riverside on the east side of the street).

Anyone who is interested should:

* check out our website at http://www.texasafterviolence.org
* fill out the application:  http://www.texasafterviolence.org/application & bring it on June 11
* let us know to expect you by writing to info@texasafterviolence.org

While the training is primarily designed for Texas After Violence Project volunteers, interns, & staff, we welcome the participation of friends and allies from other social justice organizations. The training is free but you must let us know you are coming.

Thanks in advance for sharing this invitation widely!

More information about the Texas After Violence Project
at http://www.texasafterviolence.org and below:

The Texas After Violence Project is an independent oral history and human rights organization that seeks justice, social change, and an end to violence, but without adopting or advocating for particular positions. Rather, we listen for a change. We listen to the first-person narratives of people who have been directly touched by serious violence, investigatory or legal processes, incarceration, or state executions.  Sharing these stories of lived experience, we foster critical, constructive conversations about the most effective ways to both prevent and respond to violence.

The project is unique because:

1) Ours is the only organization – that we know of — in the U.S. that listens with empathy and without judgment to people, regardless of their opinions, variously positioned with respect to violence and its consequences: family members of murder victims, family members of executed persons, clergy and spiritual advisors, law enforcement officers, victims services counselors, defense and appellate lawyers, prosecutors including elected District Attorneys, judges and jurors, formerly incarcerated persons, media witnesses to executions, and others . . . .

2) Currently, the Texas After Violence Project is one of only three partners with the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) of the University of Texas Libraries, http://lib.utexas.edu/hrdi/, a unique program supporting human rights documentation and advocacy around the world. At present, HRDI works organizations that document human rights abuses with born-digital video:  the Burma Free Rangers, the Kigali (Rwanda) Memorial Centre, and the Texas After Violence Project.

3) Unlike many human rights organizations, we unapologetically focus on the here and now: events, practices, and processes for which we, as Texans and Tejana/os, bear great responsibility. You need not go to the Balkans, Burma, Burundi, or Brazil to be a human rights activist or scholar!! Texans and U.S. citizens in general have much to do at home.  We think and study in global terms, but we work locally – in the 254 counties of Texas.

4) Mentoring, training, intergenerational collaboration, and leadership development characterize our project.
We provide extensive training over a period of weeks for each volunteer and intern.  The introductory training introduces people to Texas history, criminal law and procedure; oral history with an emphasis on ethics, interviewing techniques, and videography; grief and mourning; and self-care, among other topics.  We encourage innovation, youth leadership, and the intellectual and emotional growth of all participants.

5) Volunteers and interns perform substantive and meaningful work. As an intern or volunteer, you (or your students) will NEVER be stuck making copies or performing clerical tasks — unless they are your (or their) own.  Everyone writes, rewrites, answers the phone, makes her or his own copies, and takes turns either making the coffee or running downstairs to Dominican Joe’s when people want fancier caffeine.  At our website and on our blog you’ll get a sense of the work you can perform at our project.  We expect every person to spend about 1/3 of her or his time in (always ongoing) training; 1/3 of her or his time on work that benefits the project generally (such as transcribing or indexing interviews); and 1/3 of his or her time focusing on a project of particular interest.  For example, one intern chose to focus on violence against transgender people, another on violence against immigrants, and another on legal interviews.   We are not about to waste anyone’s intelligence and talents; on the other hand, we all must perform our own clerical tasks.

6) We make our methods transparent by publishing everything online at http://www.texasafterviolence.org/praxis, a site that we are constantly updating.
We hope that this transparency will both make our own research more useful, and also that other oral history projects will take what is useful from our site, modify and update it for their own projects, and also share their ideas and innovations.

Thanks in advance for your attention and we look forward to meeting you!

– the Texas After Violence Project team

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