The Voicing & Action Project is the inaugural research project of the Social Justice Institute of Case Western Reserve University. Launched in 2011, the project currently consists of 90 oral life narratives of residents of East Cleveland collected by Community Researchers. The Community Researchers from various walks of life received training in interviewing techniques and camera technology in order to gather the life stories of their friends, neighbors, and other community members. As a primarily African American city (94%), East Cleveland shares many aspects with other Northeastern Ohio communities while simultaneously experiencing some distinct challenges. The interviews focused on people’s personal histories, how they confront injustice, particularly racism, and their vision for the future of the city.
The project has two components – voicing AND action. Collecting interviews in order to document people's experiences and amplify their voices is a critically important, but not the only, goal of the Voicing & Action Project. As an Institute, we believe it is important that action result from study. Since we have collected the interviews, we have used them to host a series of public dialogues in conjunction with the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH) and the East Cleveland Public Library. As a result of those discussions, we decided to jointly engage in a “greening” project that physically reimagined a neglected green space at an important intersection of the city. Additionally, we developed a social justice-focused curriculum based on the interviews, which we piloted at Shaw High School in East Cleveland in Spring 2016. Voicing & Action: Continuing Conversations is our latest action project, which includes this website and a series of live lectures offered at Case Western Reserve University and the East Cleveland Public Library.