For Veronica Kirin, taking classes at Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women was a breakthrough to becoming an entrepreneur. Courtesy Veronica Kirin
J. Gardella’s Tavern will host an event tomorrow supporting the “untold stories” of the Silent Generation.
Veronica Kirin, a Grand Rapids anthropologist, photographer and story teller, is hosting an event from 6-9 p.m., Aug. 20, at J. Gardella’s Tavern, 11 Ionia Ave. SW, to officially launch a $5,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to support her project to preserve stories from the Silent Generation.
Through the Untold Stories of the Silent Generation Kickstarter Campaign, Kirin is seeking to raise roughly $5,000, which would go toward financing transportation, gas, food and lodging expenses as she travels across the United States and beyond mainland borders to document the stories of those born before 1940.
Kirin said the crowdfunding campaign will allow her to bring her project on the evolution of technology and how it has affected American society to a national level, which is important because people in different areas of the country have had different experiences and personal stories.
“I chose Kickstarter over any other crowdfunding programs because there is urgency there, as well as a community. The urgency helps me, because I already have urgency with this project: winter is coming and I plan on driving,” said Kirin. “With the community aspect, I need more people to interview. I have interviews lined up in most of the states, but I don’t have connections in every single city, in every single state, and in every single community.”
The Kickstarter platform also will reward donors for pledging their support of $5 or more based on different levels of financial contribution. For individuals giving $250 or more, they will receive an autographed copy of the book; those pledging $100 or more will receive a limited edition custom, hand-drawn representation of a quote from one of the interviews.
The crowdfunding campaign will allow Kirin to travel to Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico. As a cultural anthropologist, Kirin said it is important to have diverse representation of narratives or the whole point of the project of preserving history will be a failure.
“Ensuring diversity and getting to each state comes from my anthropologist roots,” said Kirin. “I know it is extremely important to have a very holistic view, because if I don’t, the resulting book won’t be relevant to everyone in the country.”
Kirin began the Untold Stories of the Silent Generation project in February 2015 to preserve a history that is quickly being lost and highlight how technology has impacted people’s lives and experiences in society.
“I have always had a passion for storytelling. I always wanted to be a writer, so there is that aspect of it and I really believe in preserving narratives,” said Kirin. “As it has evolved, it has become more of a passion for me. When I heard this story on NPR that children being born today won’t know what a telephone pole is, I had this moment of shock and panic all in one.”
Motivated to do something about the widening gap between generational experiences, Kirin decided to pursue the project, which will result in a book chronicling interviews of more than 500 people. To date, Kirin has interviewed more than 30 Silent Generation members in five states, including those living in such cities as Pittsburgh, Birmingham and New Orleans.
During the event, guests will have a chance to meet some of the senior citizens from Greater Grand Rapids who have already been interviewed for the project and view a new video being unveiled during the event.
“By coming to the event, it is showing those people who have already given their stories that they are being heard, and that this is important to anyone,” said Kirin.
A number of small businesses also will sponsor prizes for the first 10 donors who support the campaign. Event sponsors include J. Gardella’s Tavern, Bud Kimbe Photography, Dodd’s Record Shop, Polymathic Prodigy Institute, Argos Books, The Lantern Café and Mon Sheri Photography.
The free launch party is open to the public and individuals interested in attending can register through Eventbrite or on Facebook.