Series Introductions

Stories for Liberation: Family in Dark Times (December 2017)

What happens to the human spirit in times of oppression? Can family ties grow ever stronger, as harsh and cruel policies darken each coming day?

Our December series will focus on stories by Dreamers, who have been protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) through provisions made during the Obama administration, and young people who were born in this country, as they struggle with what is happening to the less protected members of their families.

As these young people experience their own increasingly fragile exemption from detention, deportation, and danger, the situation grows more and more precarious for their family members. The mandate to build solidarity, unity, and courage grows stronger.

We showcase these stories here with the hope that they will help people realize that it is not enough to exempt Dreamers from deportation without making sure that their parents, who dreamed with them and for them as they undertook dangerous journeys and risks, will be equally protected. Nor is it enough to set up one set of rules for children born in this country and another for those who were not.

We present these stories in a cry for reason, that families remain unbroken and that the desire to be together and strong be taken seriously and made real.

Stories For Liberation: Crossing Borders (November 2017)

What does it mean to give voice without a name? At a time when writers are not safe to read their own stories, what will happen next?

It is with sadness, but also with urgency and pride, that we anonymously share the writing of five young people who crossed the border, most of them alone, because it wouldn’t be safe to share these stories in a traceable way.

We share the hope and the light in their voices at this moment of time when, in the words of Nancy Pelosi, “the Statue of Liberty has tears in her eyes.”

These young people are part of a movement to gather stories from those whose voices have been silenced and unsung—started 21 years ago by Herstory Writers Workshop, working with women and adolescent girls in Long Island’s three jails, with women in domestic violence shelters, with students struggling with poverty, racism and inequality of opportunity, and with communities torn apart by violence and hatred.

Can their stories help hold up the torch of compassion and welcome, and bring back the light that the oppressors are trying to extinguish? Can they help the most vulnerable among us hold on through the darkness, uncertainty, and danger?

As we read these brave stories, we are struck by the quiet and forceful wisdom that shines through, giving testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the hope within us all to be heard. We think of a time when the students will again be able to claim their own stories, with their names attached, when we will be able to bind these stories and many others into a book with photographs of these heroes and have a true celebration, of their heroism, spirit, and hope.