You can learn more about us by exploring our website: Texas After Violence Project
About our name
Our name--Texas After Violence Project--is intentionally janus-headed, looking to the past as we simultaneously imagine a future. Our core work involves listening to and documenting the past--what has happened before and "after violence": the first-hand experiences of people directly affected by murder and the community and state's response to murder, including the death penalty. Our oral history interviews range over the landscape of memory, creating space for people to reflect on the way their experiences int he towns, cities, suburbs, and rural counties of Texas have shaped their individual and communal identities.
Our name also contains within it a nod toward the future, and even a utopian gesture: What would a Texas "after violence" look like? Since our oral histories necessarily engage with violence and traumatic events and subjects emerging from Texas' past and present, we want to also intentionally cultivate spaces of hope, where people can imagine different outcomes and alternative futures. What experiences and histories are available to us to build a more just and less violent Texas, a Texas inclusive of all? We archive, share and reflect on our past in order to make the resources and histories of our communities available for future research, deliberation and public discussion.
Our local context includes the fact that Texas leads the nation in executions; murder rates are high in our cities; and we have one of the largest prison systems in the country. While for many these facts are part of their lived experience, for others in Texas these phenomena lie just outside of consciousness. We see these phenomena as an essential part of the story of our state, and we believe oral history is one way to ensure they are documented as part of our collective history.