A SURPRISING GENESIS STORY

BY DEBRA FOWLER


Miriam and I taught a variety of humanities courses to new immigrants and refugees at a large, urban, truly diverse high school. We both regarded our work to be equally and harmoniously humbling, inspiring, heartbreaking, and joyous -- and it was a profound privilege.


History UnErased's story begins with these students, and the stories and identities they brought into our classrooms.


The Inspiration


Our classrooms welcomed students from many corners of the world. Some of our students were born in refugee camps, some arrived with little or no formal education, some arrived well-adjusted, and some arrived traumatized by war. But they all arrived with hope.

As is true for everyone -- they were aching to be seen, learn, and belong.

Irrespective of their English proficiency, they found a way to share their voices with us. Their stories percolated through homework assignments, incidental conversations, particular behaviors, doodling on desks, and by any means possible. And their messages - often shifting from unspeakable grief, to triumph, to adjustment - started to become a living, breathing thing.