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Allison Manuel

June 29, 2019


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Anita Rivera

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This interview was conducted with Allison Manuel in Hudson, NY as part of the Oral History Summer School workshop, “I Am Sitting in a Room” on Saturday, June 29, 2019. Allison was born and raised in Durham, NC, and moved to the Bronx, NY in 2009, where she worked as a community organizer for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), a grassroots organization that fights for racial and economic justice in New York City. Allison describes her guiding principle of being vulnerable as the spark that led her to explore her capacities as a writer and storyteller at the New School. She also recounts the journey to faith through community organizing, and how her family’s musical traditions have led her to choral singing in her faith community. She discusses her father’s love of nature and music as early sources of inspiration on her spiritual path. She describes her newfound faith and leadership in the worship team alongside her brother’s success as a musician and his secular skepticism. Allison reflects on how vulnerability can be a path forward to embrace change, take risks, cross boundaries of difference, and co-create the future.

This interview would be of interest to those curious about the ways that community organizers and activists integrate a commitment to social justice, spirituality, and the need for self-fulfillment.

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Interviewer Bio:
Anita Rivera

Anita Rivera is an English and AVID elective teacher at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, NY. Her interests include using oral history in her teaching practice as a means of empowering student voice and fostering intergenerational connections through family stories. A public school educator for 22 years, Anita has Masters in literacy from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

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Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”

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