USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Kori Street spoke to students at Magnolia Science Academy in Carson, Calif., on Monday about IWitness, testimony, and how they can use their own voices to participate in civil society.
Street’s talk was part of the school’s month-long social science unit about identity, which culminates in a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Magnolia Science Academy provides a college preparatory educational program emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while cultivating scientific thinkers who are able to contribute to the global community as socially responsible and educated members of society.
In her talk, Street discussed USC Shoah Foundation and its mission; the Visual History Archive; and IWitness. She showed the winning 2014 IWitness Video Challenge film by Ruth Hernandez, which relates testimony of Holocaust survivors to immigration and deportation in the United States today. She also talked about the recent IWitness activity pilot in Chicago, in which fifth graders watched testimony and made art to raise awareness about prejudice.
The discussion also covered the themes of identity and responsible civic participation. Street showed several clips of testimony of Holocaust and Rwandan Genocide survivors and also discussed popular books and films such as Divergent, the Hunger Games trilogy, and Superman. Both the testimonies and the examples from popular culture deal with topics such as immigration and how young people can use their voices responsibly to make a difference in civic society.