Spartan Daily (San Jose State Universtiy, CA), September 9, 2009
Students and members of the community gathered Wednesday night on campus to watch personal stories of triumph as part of the Latino Digital Storytelling Project.
One of the stories was that of Maria Perez, an ex-first generation gang member. Her story described life growing up in the East Side of San Jose and the shooting of her now deceased father.
“Every time I tell the story I think it brings back the reality,” Perez said. “Telling the story, you relive some of the memories – I lost my father three years ago, so to still talk about my dad … it was hard.”
Nine of the 12 documentaries were featured at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library as part of the California of the Past Digital Storytelling grant project. The grant is funded by California State Library and was put in place to preserve and share the memories of the communities.
Perez said she now advocates change and counsels others on how gangs and drugs impact families.
“It has been my passion to reach out to the gang members, to hurting families, to the addicted, to those that are lost,” Perez said. “Just to be able to convey the hope, that if I made it, you can make it.”
Subjects Covered: digital storytelling, diversity, education, personal storytelling