The Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights has announced a new initiative, With Voices True, to collect and record the voices of the Notre Dame community on the topic of race. The aim is to establish a permanent archive of narratives that can serve as a resource for reflection, research, and engagement. The envisioned archive will include audio recordings, video interviews, written narratives, photography, and art.
Klau Center director Jennifer Mason McAward explains that the project is consistent with the mission of the center founded in 1973 by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. “Our center has always been dedicated to bringing important conversations to Notre Dame,” McAward says. “Fr. Ted’s commitment to facing with a clear vision the most complex of human problems, and encouraging us to look inside ourselves for thoughtful solutions, informs the work of the Klau Center today.”
In partnership with the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy, the Klau Center will recruit members of the Notre Dame family—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—to share their personal stories. Richard Jones, director of the Gallivan Program, sees the project as a meaningful way to engage students of journalism. “The old adage goes that journalists write the first rough draft of history,” Jones said. “By collaborating on the creation of this archive, the Gallivan Program looks forward to making a sustained contribution to the historical record of life in our community. As educators, we stress to our students the importance of using multimedia tools to share the stories of those who might not otherwise be heard. This project perfectly aligns with our journalistic mission.”
The materials will be digitally curated by University of Notre Dame Archives to become part of a new and permanent university collection. In addition, the Klau Center will produce an annual summary for immediate use in classrooms, campus outreach, and other university programming..
Explaining the impetus behind the project, McAward says the achievement of racial justice remains a work in progress. With the national appetite for civil discourse eroded, listening to one another is a natural starting point for progress. “With Voices True will be, we believe, a foundational part of Notre Dame’s role in addressing the challenge of racial understanding,” she says. “Sharing the misunderstanding, fear, joy, and grace that accompany race relations is essential to finding just solutions. Our hope is to encourage the unflinching clarity of vision and honest reflection this issue so urgently requires of us all.”
Members of the Notre Dame community are invited to participate in With Voices True. Those interested in sharing their stories may visit klau.nd.edu/voicestrue.