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Festiba 2021 – Bearing Witness: Healing Through Story Telling

February 23 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Watch this presentation on Facebook Live.

When Covid-19 hit the valley, we knew it was a historical event. We started to collect the official documentation put out by state and local authorities. The statistical analysis of those infected, hospitalized, and dead were released daily. A constant reminder of the impact of this global pandemic. But as the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months, those numbers did not hold the same weight they once did. The numbers had no face, no name. They had become empty and meaningless to those not effected by them. My archival training urges me to see things in long term intervals. One day, in 10 years or 100 years, someone somewhere is going to base their thesis, dissertation, or entire body of work on the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020. And when they do, we need to make sure what they find in our archive is more than just statistics, more than numbers and percentages. Future researchers need to know that each of these numbers represents an actual person. This person had a name, family, friends, a life. We needed to humanize this tragedy. In order to do that we called on those left behind to Bear Witness.

We and the area newspapers served as a conduit for these stories. We met with each family virtually. We listened to their memories, asked questions, and cried with them. We related to each one in some way or another. A child the same age as our own, a grandmother who was the foundation of the family, a father whose hands told of his hard work. The stories went out to the public, a testimony to the void left behind, and the stories went in to our archive, to be preserved for generations to come. We did what we knew how to do, to help where we could in hopes that our work would make some sort of impact, both now and in the future.


February 23
9:00 am - 10:00 am