Community Listening Project
Saturday November 17th, 2012 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Listening for a Change holds free oral history workshops regularly.
If you're interested in interviewing community members
of diverse backgrounds and you would like to attend one of the workshops listed below,
please contact us to enroll.
Saturday February 9th, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Saturday May 4th, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Volunteer Center of Sonoma County
153 Stony Circle, Suite 100, Santa Rosa
Click here for directions
Community Listening Project
The Community Listening Project is a program that trains volunteer community
members in the art of oral history and engages them in interviewing their neighbors.
The process of interviewing people of different backgrounds helps to heal fractures
and misunderstandings caused by socio-economic, racial, and ethnic diversity, and
to forge a cohesive community identity. It's also a lot of fun!
In our bountiful Sonoma County, with people from many different backgrounds,
how can we, as a community, become more inclusive and proactive problem solvers?
This is one of the questions that the Community Listening Project strives to address.
By bringing together people from diverse community groups across Sonoma County
in an effort to build empathy, understanding and communication, the project aims
to break down the barriers of ignorance and intolerance through the process of
listening to the voices and looking into the faces of our own neighbors.
Using oral history techniques, the Community Listening Project creates a structure
that allows people to come to know one another, cross boundaries, and slip a toe
into someone else's shoe.
This is a pivotal time for Sonoma County. A rapidly changing and increasingly diverse
population creates both opportunities for and challenges to the creation of a healthy
community. Many of these challenges arise from fear, ignorance and lack of
interaction—which too often lead to divisions, hostility and even violence.
As the Community Action Program report stated a few years ago, there is a higher
level of racism in Sonoma County than is generally acknowledged by public leaders
and the media. The report indicated that, in all aspects of community life—from
services, to education, to political representation—a significant population
of Sonoma County feels disenfranchised.
The Community Listening Project trains volunteers to conduct interviews with
people from diverse ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, generational, socio-economic
and cultural backgrounds about their life stories and personal experiences.
Each volunteer interviewer conducts interviews with community members of his choosing.
Interviewers are encouraged to select neighbors, colleagues, or even strangers from
backgrounds different than their own. In addition to learning about the Interviewee's
life, interviewers ask specific questions about their subject's experiences of and
perspectives on local issues, especially those regarding acceptance of diversity.
Listening for a Change records all interviews, transcribes them, and archives them
in our growing library of community voices. The Community Listening Project has also
launched a public awareness campaign. You may have seen posters containing photographs
and excerpts from statements of Interviewees displayed in public places throughout
Sonoma County. In addition, we often work with the Community Media Center,
KRCB television/radio, and Spanish Radio KBBF to create public service announcements that
are aired on television and radio.
The Community Listening Project creates a deeper commitment to and acceptance of
diversity among varying cultural groups. In addition, it promotes understanding
across racial and age divisions and brings communities and families together in
new and meaningful ways. Our goal is to help produce systemic, long-term
transformation that will foster community problem-solving and understanding.
We hold workshops every other month for community members to get involved.
See the schedule of workshops above.
If you are interested in attending a workshop, scheduling one for a community group,
or getting involved in some other way (we always need volunteer transcribers),
please don't hesitate to contact us.
If you live outside of Sonoma County and are interested in having a workshop in your
own community, please contact us
and we will be glad to help you get started.