As of June 30, I will be leaving my position as Curator for Human Rights Collections. As a result, this blog will be updated less frequently, though I am hoping that whoever replaces me will take it over.
But before I go, I wanted to mention a couple of newly available digital collections here at UConn:
For the past year, I’ve been interviewing activists about their political advocacy work on issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including second-parent adoption, civil union, marriage equality, and equal protection under the law for gender identity and expression. These are all hugely important rights that set Connecticut apart from the vast majority of other states, which don’t allow LGBTQ citizens the same rights and protections as heterosexual citizens. Looking around the state, it didn’t seem that many libraries and archives were actively trying to document these very recent– and in some ways still ongoing– social movements. And so, with support and encouragement from my institution, I set out to do so.
In 2010, the University of Connecticut Libraries began actively collecting documentation of activism around the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, and neighboring areas, and received donations of research files and materials from Mia Farrow, Eric Reeves, and others. It was Ms. Farrow’s vision to create an online documentation center of these materials so access would not be limited to only those who could travel to Connecticut. Working in consultation with Ms. Farrow, and also with Dr. Bridget Conley-Zilkic at the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, the project was launched in June 2011.
The website contains information about the Sudan related archival collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn, as well as a research guide for Sudan, links to news sources, and advocacy and humanitarian organizations working in the region. The project also includes an online gallery of digital photographs from Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic from various refugee and IDP camps.
According to the UNHCR, there are approximately 4.5 million internally displaced people in Sudan, and hundreds of thousands more in camps in neighboring countries. There are just over 200 images in the collection, most of which were taken by the incredible Mia Farrow, who has devoted the past 7 years to using her voice and celebrity to raise awareness of the horrific violence in Darfur and neighboring areas, which tragically is ongoing to this day. It has been my utter privilege to work with her this past year on the project, and I could not be more in awe of her tireless dedication to the people of Darfur.
All the best, and thanks for reading!