Dear The Eye readers,
Last year many friends responded with contributions to our appeal which created a fund that has already made a real difference. With these funds we launched a new Student-Community Outreach pilot project in Oaxaca, Mexico, with the Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca (UABJO). Approximately 24 indigenous first-generation college seniors are conducting community betterment projects using our video participation methods for education and awareness raising in five towns in Oaxaca. Their projects are a model to strengthen community identity, motivation, and leadership for positive action. We’re also proud that the documentary video team we trained for the Totontepec, Oaxaca, project (2011-2016) could provide the training with our supervision.
Language revitalization for education and community evolution is now happening in many places. Our work is at the forefront of this movement, as evidenced by our second invitation to present our methods in Europe this year and a return invitation to teach at CoLang 2018 at the University of Florida next June. Our media-based, community participation methods have been recognized as among the best practices for aiding in the vitality of the world’s languages and cultures, while helping traditional communities adapt and evolve in the 21st century.
Language revival for positive social change and community evolution is real but fragile. And we are the rare group that is independent enough of government and academic constraints to truly innovate with all the risks and rewards that entails.
Our goals for 2017-2018:
- Fund the second year of the Mexican Student-Community Outreach model: salaries for local trainers, transportation costs, and training support.
- Launch the Totontepec Ayöök Language Radio Station. The radio station is the most important single component needed to help ensure that this resilient community, stewards of the vast Sierra Mixe forest, grow their language and culture for future generations. Cost for equipment, training, and salaries.
- Speaking Place Development Fund: continue developing viable, path-breaking projects and educating the public through our web site, videos, and public presentations.
With sincere thanks and best wishes,
Ben Levine Julia Schulz
Contact Speaking Place to make a donation to this amazing cause and help preserve indigenous languages: www.speakingplace.org.