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We couldn't have imagined when 2020 began that this fall would see our classes happening on Zoom and our students reading Antigone and Frederick Douglass online. But we're grateful that Clemente continues to provide welcoming spaces where ideas and conversations take center stage, even when that stage is virtual.

Our Fall 2020 Clemente Quarterly brings us an impressive new anthology of student writing, a student-directed video, and a flurry of news from across the network. Thank you for reading on!
We, Too, Are America Gathers the Voices of Clemente
In the tumultuous summer of 2020, graduates of the Clemente Courses in Dorchester, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester, Massachusetts set themselves a critical task: to capture this national moment of pandemic, protest, and political divisiveness. They did so by writing original essays that reflect their experiences and views on the country, our democracy, and their communities. Those stories are collected in the new anthology, We, Too, Are America.

The essays arose from summer courses in writing and media literacy offered through Mass Humanities and funded by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and the Mellon Foundation. They are based on the belief that in difficult times, it's essential that people lift their voices. In their essays, students argue for health care, imagine the lessons of Covid-19, and sing about the power of #BlackGirlMagic. More than anything, they offer hope. As Whítmer Castro of Lowell wrote in his essay, "Unity in Color," "We must raise each other up, stand, and fight together."

You can read essays on the Mass Humanities website or purchase your own copy of the anthology at the Harvard University Bookstore. And below, you can meet Mallory Shelly, whose powerful essay, "Why I Took My Children to a Black Lives Matter Protest," exemplifies the hard examination and fierce conviction these Clemente writers--one and all--bring to the page.
Can't Get Enough Clemente?
In our brand new Clemente blog you can read student writing, faculty reflections, and stories from the classroom and beyond. Updated weekly and rich in inspiration, it's a great place to keep up with what's happening in our courses and communities. See you there!
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2020 Graduate, Worcester, Massachusetts

“I get chills,” said Mallory Shelly, when reflecting on her summer Clemente Course in writing and the anthology of student work that grew from it. “I love that everybody is so different and brings something to the table. These aren’t stories we would have heard otherwise.”
Mallory, a 2020 Clemente graduate, is always eager to learn. Still, she felt uncertain coming into a class that required her to speak from her own experience. But after answering countless questions about why she brought her two children to a protest, she realized this was a story she needed to tell. 
In her beautiful essay, “Why I Took My Children to a Black Lives Matter Protest,” she wrote: 
I can only protect my children for so long before they go out and into the world on their own, having formed their own opinions, morals and critical thinking skills. What I can do is prepare them for what they may see, hear or encounter. When I was growing up I didn’t hear about a major event or movement taking place until I was much older and did my own research. All my daughter has to do is open an app and the world is at her fingertips. Having attended a peaceful protest, my kids are going to be part of the change we all hope to see in years to come. They’ll understand the truth of our history, history we’ve experienced and learned about together.
You can read the full essay here and read more about Mallory and her Clemente experience in this profile in our blog.
News from Across the Network

A Reckoning in Boston, a documentary film about two students in Boston’s Clemente Course, will air on PBS’s Independent Lens. Watch the trailer here and stay tuned for details in 2021.
Johnny Horton, a professor in Seattle’s Clemente Veterans’ Initiative (CVI), published this piece in Crosscut about the power of community in the CVI classroom. In it, he profiles George Williams and other CVI graduates.
The power of epistolary learning in a Georgia prison is the theme of this article, “The Third Space of Proximity,” by Common Good Atlanta's Sarah Higinbotham and Jamil Zainaldin.
The Common Good Atlanta Clemente Course gets another shout-out in this Atlanta Journal & Constitutition article, "Learning alongside former prisoners, college students find 'challenge, passion, mutual support'." 
Providence CVI graduates and discussion facilitators Sarah Cavanaugh and Ty Smith shared stories from the classroom in the Trinity Rep YouTube series, “Your Half Hour Call with Curt” episode titled “A Salute to Our Veterans.”
Providence CVI was also busy in October, accepting the Innovation in the Humanities Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. You can view the awards celebration here.
How has the pandemic affected adult students like those served in Clemente Courses? This article from the UW Odyssey Project provides some answers.

In Atlanta’s Clemente Course, program graduate Patrick Rodriguez produced a video to introduce potential applicants to the course. Tune in to hear how students reflect on the program: “The Clemente Course is about looking ahead. It’s about looking at who you are, what you’re capable of, and where you want to go. And it’s going to help you get there.”
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The Clemente Course in the Humanities
Recipient of the National Humanities Medal

The Clemente Course in the Humanities provides a transformative educational experience for adults facing economic hardship and adverse circumstances. Our free college humanities courses empower students to further their education and careers, become effective advocates for themselves and their families, and engage actively in the cultural and political lives of their communities.

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