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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Oral History of the Justice for Janitors Movement: On Trauma, Central America, and the Undocumented


The article details the experience of conducting an oral history project on the Justice for Janitors movement in Los Angeles. In particular, the piece focuses on the recounting of sensitive material and the legal process behind interviewing undocumented workers. In the case of the former, many of the interviewees were in Guatemala and El Salvador during their respective civil wars. The article looks at best practices for oral historians when dealing with interview subjects that have suffered great trauma. In the case of the latter, the article looks at the many obstacles regarding interviewing undocumented workers. While some protections are available to ensure the confidentiality of interview subjects, their legal reliability is still largely unknown.

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