Dear future Students,

The Race and Oral History course will provide you with a learning experience that is beyond the classroom and can not be replicated in the classroom. You will be given the opportunity to work with the community, while at the same time learn valuable skills. You will learn how to use different technology, conduct an interview, transcribe an interview and numerous other skills that are specific to the community partner you choose to work with.

I worked with Detainee Allies an organization who writes letters to people in detention centers. I participated in their Monday night meetings. At these meetings we read incoming letter from new detainees who were looking to be written to. We also organized and sent out mail to our detained friends, as well as, sent them funds so they can purchase food, sanitary items and call their families. We would do all this work at the dinner table and In the process of doing this work we would all go around the table and talk about a highlight of our week. We would also be updated about different aspects of the organization, for instance archiving, collaborations and new policies that will affect those who are being detained. I learned a lot at these meetings about immigration policy, the circumstances that people in detention centers are in, as well as the restrictions and regulations of detention centers and ICE. It was a truly rewarding experience to not only be able to witness grassroots organizing firsthand but also be a part of it.

My group chose to create two videos for Detainee Allies, so they can post it on their social media. The first video we created was an introductory video that focused on what the organization is about. The second video was a reading of a letter from a detained Mexican Mother, which was meant to give visibility to the letter. In doing these videos I learned different techniques for taking video and still images, as well as editing and recording skills.

My overall experience with Detainee Allies was one of a kind. Everyone was very welcoming to our group and they worked well with our group to create our final projects. I am excited to continue working with Detainee Allies for the summer on their Policy Project, where I will be doing research on immigration policy. I intend to continue attending Monday meetings and I am grateful to have been introduced to this organization.


D├ęstina Valladares