This past week, we launched our Monthly Newsletter. Join us on the 15th of each month to get the snapshots of our journey! We’ll connect you here for more details! Here is the contents of our first issue:
Unlocking Silent Histories Monthly Newsletter!
Welcome!!! Thank you for joining us. Each month as we share our stories and progress. We are excited to keep you informed of our ongoing journey with indigenous youth. For our inaugural newsletter edition, we want to start out with a little history about how Unlocking Silent Histories (USH) began.
Our Story: In 2012, our founder and director Donna DeGennaro took a a leave of absence from her tenure-track University position with the vision of reinvigorating her passion for her work. Since her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, she had been working toward a pedagogical design that was youth-driven and focused on digital media technologies. She was primarily concerned with the deficit ways that culturally diverse youth were educated and the negative media representations that seemed to help reinforce this assumption. Donna’s approach to her work is “constructivist”, which means that she always includes the voices of youth, whose ideas contributed to the unfolding concept or learning design.
Donna’s hiatus from the university took her to Guatemala where she was expecting to expand her research in a small private school. When obstacles thwarted that that possibility, she was initially dismayed. Yet, as fate would have it, she found herself serendipitously in the right place at the right time! When all seemed doomed, Donna met with then Director of the Maya Traditions Foundation, Marcelle. Marcelle was eager for Donna to do work with the youth Maya Traditions supported and invited Donna to begin visiting their communities and meetings. It was a match! Shortly after, Donna got to work not only on her concept, but also on solidifying her idea as a non-profit. It was with this seed that Unlocking Silent Histories (USH) was born.
Finally, we identified four of our first year students to become part of our staff. These Youth Leaders take on teaching new students, administering the organization, and contributing their ideas to the ongoing development of USH. After a recommendation by a youth program leader from Cultural Survival, our Youth Leaders helped us to secure a second partnership with ADECCAP in Santiago, Atitlán. This May these same leaders began our third year of USH, with new students in our present communities as well as in our new ones.
Next Month Preview:
Save the Date!! On June 20th at 6PM, USH will be presenting two films at Casa Herrera in Antigua, Guatemala.Casa Herrera is a research, conference and teaching facility operated by the University of Texas, Austin. We will provide more details in our June New letter.