Books for changing the world
Say it Forward
A Guide to Social Justice Storytelling

Oral history is a universal form of storytelling. For many years, Voice of Witness has shared powerful stories of people impacted by injustice with a broad audience of readers. Say It Forward extends this work, offering a DIY guide for social justice storytelling that outlines the critical methodology at the core of Voice of Witness’s evocative oral history collections. Field reports candidly detail how to harness the power of personal narrative to expose larger issues of inequality.

Cliff Mayotte is the education program director with Voice of Witness. He previously edited The Power of the Story: The Voice of Witness Teachers Guide to Oral History.

Claire Kiefer is the author of Bear Witness. She was a Voice of Witness curriculum specialist and currently works at the Georgia Capital Defender.

  • “Stories are humankind’s connective tissue, and Say It Forward reminds us the process through which we document a story is as important and powerful as the story itself.” 

    —Lauren Markham, author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

    Say It Forward provides not only a practical blueprint for storytelling methodology and approach, it does something more meaningful—it contextualizes and validates the purpose and multilayered nuances of capturing deeply personal accounts.”

    —Linda Sotelo, New Americans Museum

    “Oral history changes lives. Claire Kiefer and Cliff Mayotte have made a profoundly clear, fluid, and accessible guide to doing your own oral histories, and teachers, students, and parents: I beg you to try it.”

    —Dave Eggers, Voice of Witness cofounder and author, The Monk of Mokha and What Is the What

    Say It Forward is a useful guide for anyone new to recording the oral histories of vulnerable populations. Voice of Witness makes plain how to work with sensitivity, respect, and care.”

    —Danielle Jackson, cofounder, Bronx Documentary Center