The Race and Change Initiative Dr. Kitty Oliver. The Race and Change Initiative promotes a 21st Century discussion of race and differences in cross-cultural public forums using archival oral history interviews, video and Web radio programs, and creative performance presentations.
The director is Dr. Kitty Oliver, an author and TV producer and adjunct professor of oral history writing and race and ethnicity within the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. This site is generously funded by the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and the Knight Foundation Fund, and New Visions Educational Foundation, Inc.
“Race” is considered a metaphor for the differences that separate us, causing conflicts and creating inequities. Skin color, ethnicity, class, and even sexual orientation, across generations, also play significant roles in determining how certain groups are perceived as inferior or superior. From there, discriminatory patterns evolve. Race, as W.E.B. Dubois wrote, is the experience of discrimination.
The Race and Change Oral Histories archive ranges from life histories of baby boomers – U.S. born and immigrants – who came of age with the Civil Rights Movement, to interviews in Ghana, West Africa. It is the only cross-cultural collection of its kind and scope in the U.S. where ordinary people reflect candidly on race relations experiences over the years and how society and they have changed.
The Race and Change Dialogue strategy is a model for talking about differences in a non-confrontational, inclusive, hopeful way, opening the door to global conversations and progress.
“Sharing the truth of our story, all that we have grown through, the progress as well as the pain, can be a healing experience – for the speaker, and the listener – and provide hope for generations to come.”
She pioneered the cross-cultural “Race and Change” research project in South Florida that has expanded to Ghana, West Africa. The work has resulted in an historical archive of oral histories on race, a multimedia website on race, and consulting for historical, tourism, social service, and government organizations.
Her public television and video productions are used widely by schools and libraries She is producer and host of the 10-part series “Crossing Cultures/Changing Lives”, airing on WBEC-TV. In addition, she produces videos, podcasts, and blogs on race and ethnic relations and changes across generations. She is a lecturer and workshop leader on creative nonfiction writing techniques and memoir writing, and a professional jazz singer. She conducts community oral history field work and is a member of the Oral History Association.