Rebecca Gerny (2020)
Amplifying Sanctuary Voices
Amplifying Sanctuary Voices (ASV) is a community-based oral history project centering the stories of Bay Area residents who have come to the U.S. seeking safety. ASV stimulates dialogue and creates space in the mainstream political conversation for the diverse and underrepresented voices and experiences of those impacted by policy decisions, informed by a project leadership team of community organizations and narrators. Over the past year, ASV has conducted over ten interviews informed by trauma resiliency and storytelling methodologies, hosted three arts-based workshops for unaccompanied minors, piloted a participatory community storytelling event with educators and immigration rights advocates, and developed a timeline of the sanctuary movement in the Bay Area on display in the MLK Student Union. With the support of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize, ASV, led by Rebecca Gerny, will launch an online platform; pilot web-based workshops for educators, students, and community members; and partner with local teachers to develop classroom curricula to stimulate conversations and increase empathy for immigrant and asylee communities.
Rebecca graduated UC Berkeley in 2020 with a major in Global Studies with minors in English and Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. She is passionate about the integration of storytelling, arts, and psychology methodologies with social justice advocacy, particularly in the realm of migrant rights. She has worked in technical theatre for twelve years and has a variety of research and legal advocacy experiences in womens empowerment, food justice, electoral politics and public health. At UC Berkeley Rebecca taught SAT classes for low income students, wrote for the Daily Californian, and was a UC Berkeley Public Service Center Student Director at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. Rebecca now combines her knowledge of theatre and social justice research to inform the collection, preservation, and creative communication of oral histories through the Amplifying Sanctuary Voices project. She enjoys reading, running, and escaping the city for long walks among trees and flowers.