Friday, May 24, 2024

New Program Teaches Immigrants to Tell their Stories by Blogging

The University of Southern California (USC) and the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California have launched a new site called “vozmob,” which gives immigrants, mainly day laborers, an online space to speak their minds and share their stories.

The program was unveiled last month with a mix of grants from various foundations, including $40,000 worth of cell phones to train laborers.

Organizers go out to local job centers to teach workers how to upload text, photos and videos.  About half a dozen laborers have launched their own blogs so far. Others are experimenting, transferring bits of broken audio and blurry images onto the Web.

Maria de Lourdes Gonzalez is a 62-year-old housekeeper who didn’t own a cell phone two years ago.  Now, she carries around a tape recorder and a video camera and regularly snaps photos and sends text messages for her blog.

“The idea is to let those voices be heard,” Gonzalez said. “To bring out of us what’s already inside.”

Amanda Garces is coordinating the project for the institute.  She says no one expects most participants to be so active, but hopes that some day laborers will at least become more comfortable with technology.

Garces also says that the immigrants’ blogs will help counter the anti-immigrant voices that have ruled the online debate, spreading negative images.

“This gives you the tools to tell your own story and not let others tell it for you,” Garces said.

LA Times