June 2020 Updates
By Summer Cherland, PhD
History Faculty, South Mountain Community College
Friends and colleagues,
I hope this update finds you healthy and enjoying the last days of June. We certainly have faced a strange couple of months in our nation’s history, and I know that we are all dealing the best we can as the world changes around us.
As part of our ongoing special collection to capture and preserve the stories of students and teachers in the COVID19 era, the South Phoenix Oral History Project continued our publishing schedule this month. We published ten student essays and nine expert interviews. We also introduced a new co-host: Andrea Rivers in our first Weekly Recap together episode last week. Take a look at our June 2020 updates. It’s a short video with some highlights for you to enjoy.
In our talks with students, faculty, and experts around the country this month, we really noticed a shift in focus. Whereas in March and April our conversations tended to center on discussions of technology and access, by mid-May, many narrators began to really hone in on the social, economic, and political intersections of this pandemic with our nation’s troublesome history when it comes to people of color and the underserved. It’s an honor to be a part of a collection that is capturing history in the making, but it can also be frustrating and difficult to live in a historic moment. This is why our collection is so important. We are archiving the “real” and lived experiences of people like our students – the traditionally underserved people in our country – and talking about it in real time. Like Andrea says, “We may not always get it right, but at least we are trying to talk about it.”
One quick mention: On June 12th, our work placed 4th in an international conference that was held completely on Twitter. (More in the updates video). In doing research for the presentation, I discovered that our collection is likely the very first academic oral history collection to archive COVID19 experiences in the country. What a big responsibility!
Finally, we intend to continue work on our primary collection about the history of South Phoenix and SMCC. Many of you have contributed your own stories, and we encourage you to look at what others have said about our campus community’s history: https://southphoenixoralhistory.com/narrators/
Let’s stay in touch.
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