Hello, my name is Kevin Gonzaga and I wanted to briefly inform you about two projects I am simultaneously working on regarding cultural awareness and invite you to consider partnering with me on them by contributing content.
The main project…
Currently I am working at the University of North Dakota with the Department of Justice to develop online training materials for death investigators around the United States.
The focus of the training I am developing is cultural and religious competency. Death investigators have extensive contact with the recently deceased and the risk of cultural or religious offense is high, especially if and when they are unfamiliar with the culture and religion the person is from. This training will help ensure death investigators work with the family and community to treat the body with as much cultural and religious integrity as possible as they perform this duty.
This training will be available to death investigators across the United States so I am attempting to cover as many cultures and religions as possible.
As part of this training I am incorporating video interviews of cultural and religious leaders providing additional information specific to the groups they represent. The interviews are provide death investigators with a basic understanding of that groups mortuary rites and any concerns they have about the care of the deceased during a death investigation.
Here are two examples of the videos I have shot and edited:
At the same time I am using this opportunity to work on a side-project of mine. In the interviews I am asking the question: “What are three things you wish everyone in the U.S. knew about your culture/religion?” I will incorporate these answers into the training but I also plan to use the answers I receive to create a mini-documentary of sorts that will highlight the cultural diversity of the United States and hopefully raise awareness and appreciation of other cultures.
How you can contribute…
While I can interview some people myself, I cannot interview everyone and I want as many cultures and religions represented as possible. However, I can edit and incorporate any video footage that is contributed to me.
If you are (or know of) an a leader within your cultural or religious community (an elder, pastor, imam, cleric, priest, rabbi, religious leader, community organizer, civic leader, etc.) that could speak on these issues I am inviting you to participate by contributing interview footage. Contributing in this way will help ensure that people from your culture and religion are treated with respect in their passing across the United States as this training will be nationally available.
If you are interested, all that you will need is a video-recording device (even a good webcam might work), and a quiet, well-lit, place to record. You can either send the footage to us on a USB that we will supply if you need it (we will also take care of postage both ways) or send it to us over the internet. From there I will take it to get edited and incorporate it into the online training.
You will receive a link to the video for yourself and the second project, when it is finally finished, will be available online.
If you would like to participate or want to know more, please just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org