To advance the importance of the work of local activists, Dr. Spoma Jovanovic worked with a team of undergraduate students and fellow faculty during 2019-2020 to Interview and tell stories of ten community members who have been at the front lines of protest and civil disobedience in Greensboro, North Carolina. The activists are younger, older, white, Black, and Latinx to illuminate the issues with which they are immersed to speak out, assemble in public spaces, organize tirelessly behind the scenes, and sometimes even engage in civil disobedience. These champions talk about how they have coped or adjusted to disappointments and still persevered, what they consider the value of free speech to be, how they define activism, and what they think we should do to best prepare youth for community and civic engagement.
Each activist was interviewed in UNCG’s campus studio on videotape in sessions that lasted 30-45 minutes each. We retained full transcripts and video footage but chose to edit the interviews to 3-5 minutes each in length for ease of use in classroom and community instruction. Closed captioning was added.
The videos add to our understanding of the long history of struggle by people in the United States and around the world to assert their voices to advance democratic empowerment. The interviews are designed to recognize that individuals organize and assemble in collective action to resist or challenge prevailing norms, structures and institutions of unequal power. In that way, we draw attention to questions surrounding why, when, and how the human spirit finds strength to speak out, and how justice is advanced through those actions.