With Voices True is an archive of personal narratives on race.

In partnership with University of Notre Dame Archives, the Klau Institute seeks to give voice to the Notre Dame community on issues of race and racial identity. Through written, spoken, or visual stories, our community reflects on how we experience race, how it shapes our lives, and how we navigate relationships within it.

We invite every member of the Notre Dame community to participate.

Tell Your Story

Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights

The Klau Institute seeks to advance the God-given dignity of all human persons through transformative education, innovative research, and meaningful engagement with students and with the broader community.

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2023 Snapshot Summary Video (6:49)

The 2023 story archive presents students, staff, and faculty offering a wide range of perspectives and points of concern around race and belonging.

See more Snapshot Summaries

Stories from the Year

Below are highlights from the stories collected in With Voices True. This digest can be used in classrooms or discussion groups, as a tool for promoting conversation and discovery.

Full interviews are housed in the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library Archives, where they serve as a tool for research. Access to the archive can be arranged by contacting University Archives at archives@nd.edu.

Seeing the privilege

“If someone doesn't like me, it's not because I'm a member of a group that that's more marginalized.”

Hear Josh's Story


“And I found myself thinking, oh, do I have to take a different approach to this because, you know, they're shutting down.”

Hear Margie's Story

Cultural self-consciousness

“That kind of inferiority complex is something that you do grow up with.”

Hear Mahan's Story

Looking for the balance

“I just I try to remind myself of what others may or may not have gone through.”

Hear Erica's Story

Harder to recognize

“That was probably one of the experiences that I was like, oh, like race is a big deal.”

Hear Mia's Story

Double-edged sword

“I think people were kind of afraid to speak out if they had any differing thoughts, other than like, the quote unquote norm.”

Hear Annette's Story

Role models

“If you are different you shouldn't be afraid to stand with that.”

Hear Nadim's Story

Respect and Understanding

“And then I had this enormous amount of empathy for that world because she had not experienced what I had experienced.”

Hear Indi's Story

Being Latina in the US

“I feel like has become a lot more like, there's a hot way to be Latina, and then there's like, the rest of us.”

Hear Myldred's Story

Genuine inclusiveness

“It's not just oh, here's a picture of X racial group that we have on campus, like, that's not, that's not being inclusive.”

Hear Sofia's Story


“Stay in your lane. Stay where you belong. It probably put off the moment of realization a little bit.“

Hear Kevin's Story

Saddled with responsibility

“And I have to just know what all black people feel in that moment or say something that because they're gonna remember what you say.”

Hear Robert's Story

Language barrier

“And it got to a point where it just made me so self-conscious about how I spoke.”

Hear Viviana's Story

Old school mentality

“It wasn't whites and Blacks, it was Blacks and Hispanics.“

Hear Manuel's Story

Confronting hostility

“That's the first time I've ever been scared in that sense, just because of my race.”

Hear Emma's Story

Dividing the workload

“I get asked to do a lot of DEI projects, which I'm like, that's great, I'm happy to do that, but like, who else are you asking?”

Hear Shelby's Story

Connecting with her culture

“When I came to Notre Dame, I think my pride in being Iraqi became more of a thing…”

Hear Hawraa's Story

The importance of representation

"I do feel seen here. And that goes both ways, sometimes in a good way, in a positive way. And sometimes in a negative way.”

Hear Summer's Story

Real connection

“You know, so I think sometimes I feel with some people, can we get over this? You know what I mean? You know, can we talk about something else?”

Hear Zeina's Story

Embracing his identity

“I knew the position I was in and what it represented, but I didn't necessarily let that deter me from who I am as a person.”

Hear Mike's Story

The luxury of forgetting

“I always feel like I need to make sure I always put my best foot forward in everything that I do, because I don't want these negative stereotypes that people have towards black people to be validated.”

Hear Thaddea's Story

Not being seen

“Especially my freshman year, when I was meeting so many new people, I didn't feel different, but I could kind of tell that they would look at me differently or they just wouldn't look at me at all.”

Hear Regina's Story

Living under pressure

“I can't not think about, oh, was this situation a microaggression? And then being told that, oh, no, you're just overthinking it.”

Hear Paige's Story

Gender and race connected

“Because I'm specifically Asian, and a woman, I've noticed I've experienced vulnerability because of that.”

Hear Mia's Story

Building intentional empathy

“That's the thing that you see we need more of throughout our entire country and our world – is that you don't always have to be right.”

Hear Marcus's Story

Culture Shock

“You have to remind yourself that no matter how many struggles you go through, or how many times you do take a mental decline there’s always an opportunity to go back up.”

Hear Luzolo's Story

Measuring Blackness

“One thing I noticed when I got to Notre Dame was that people would almost discriminate against me for my lack of blackness.”

Hear Madison's Story

First generation tensions

“They would always ask me, are your parents legal or illegal? And I guess they're asking if I was too, but that always bothered me.”

Hear Fredy's Story

The “good immigrant” trap

“Be nice to the people next to you before you start to worry about the guy who's across the sea.”

Hear Fred's Story

Adjusting to US realities

“I'm more than just a Black person, I'm a British Black person, I'm a British Black athlete. I'm a Christian, British Black athlete.”

Hear Eno's Story


“You can hide poor but you can't hide race very easily, at least blackness and some other ethnicities.”

Hear Brian's Story

A mixed tradition

“So I just found that really interesting, especially because out of all the like different ethnicities on campus that they did tell us to emphasize the Asian Allure show.”

Hear Ashlyn's Story

Popular culture as a site of meaning

“This music and this type of performance is playing a much deeper role with respect to how people are imagining and thinking, and really lending meaning to their own migration and experience of migration.”

Hear Alex's Story


"I was in school, I passed my classes. Things that should be celebrated. But I felt like, in that moment, all that was taken away through his comments."

Hear Alan's Story

Racism ingrained in culture

"And they didn't have to say it, that's what's interesting, right? They didn't have to say you need to stop being friends with Mariam, because she's Black or African or whatever."

Hear Sophie's Story

First generation experience

"I wouldn't say there's any sort of shame in being like, "oh, you're Whitewashed," or like, "Oh, you act so White now," or, you know, this and that, that doesn't really bother me."

Hear Devon's Story

Nuances of racism

"...there are different kinds of subtle confrontations with racism, both interpersonal and structural racism, that are just more complicated to talk about."

Hear Mark's Story

Misdefined by categories

"...like you make terrorist jokes and stuff like that. You're going to say terrorists are White? Like you're not - nobody believes that."

Hear Maryann's Story

Gaining trust in a changing world

"It's just that the world changed, I think, and the world has been moving and changing in ways that maybe we took for granted..."

Hear Yvette's Story

A Catholic approach

"In the Christian vision, we have this vision of restoring right relationships, of ultimately creating a community based upon friendship, where nobody feels like an outsider."

Hear Daniel's Story

A complex identity

"So I just still hold a little bit of resentment of being forced to check boxes that I don't feel truly encompass who I am."

Hear Lau's Story

Taking responsibility for the conversation

"And so the onus is on me to not go days without thinking about race, because if I was a person of color, I wouldn't be able to do that."

Hear Amanda's Story

Making race an issue

"...as I continued to attend Notre Dame race became such a prevalent issue in how people saw me somehow when race was never even a big part of my life."

Hear Ian's Story

Recognizing privilege

"And then the honest truth is that in many instances, including this one, there's a moment where everyone certainly isn’t healed..."

Hear Maria's Story

Wrestling with identities

"I think that's something that people don't realize with being mixed. It's like you can pass as maybe both if you want to, but at the same time you feel like you don't belong to either."

Hear Liam's Story

Being defined by race

"...you cannot go through life, you cannot go through a week, sometimes a day, where people don't remind you of your race. "

Hear Melvin's Story

Culture and race

"Like sometimes you just need to ask the question because it's better to know then not to know."

Hear Zahara's Story

Being mindful of representation

"I think it's important to call attention to Whiteness as a constructed category of identity ..."

Hear Nicole's Story

Getting to know the unknown

"I think people are worried about saying the wrong thing. And I think that does come from a good place..."

Hear Anna's Story

Resisting White normativity

"...I want to free others to be their authentic selves, too, and not feel as if they have to wear so many different masks..."

Hear Redgina's Story

Unequal playing field

"And she said, I think you guys need to realize that I am a Black woman in a position of leadership."

Hear Alexa's Story

Meaningful symbolism

"...both our own identities and our position in relation to other cultures affects how we interpret what we see."

Hear Tarryn's Story

Engaging with lived experience

"It's not a matter of data. It's a matter of listening to what people have to say and how they have lived their lives. "

Hear Blake's Story

Having the difficult conversations

"...I want us to be okay with sitting in discomfort because the people around us struggling are sitting in discomfort, and they want to be able to come to us with these things."

Hear Kayla's Story

The good and the bad

"But that's just something that in my head processing, like, oh, like, I'm different from the people around me."

Hear Miranda's Story

The slow pace of progress

"But they didn't say any of that, they said it in such a way that was intended to help not offend their White peers surrounding them."

Hear Dianne's Story

Singled out

"...when people first look at me, they never think, oh, look at that American girl. Even though I am. They’ll always be like, oh, the Asian girl."

Hear Lucia's Story

Making space for dialogue

"I wanted them to have a chance to feel at peace where they lived."

Hear Matthew's Story

Protest fears

"But then the police showed up, and everyone, the energy obviously shifted. And most of it was fear."

Hear Erica's Story

Navigating racial lines

"So that's, that's how it worked out with race – I worried about it. The other person worried about me worrying about it."

Hear Gail's Story

The emotional violence of stereotypes

"And here I am having to have the police escort me out of my hotel to a new one because other people can't do their job, and because they think that I'm obviously doing things that I shouldn't be as a Black person."

Hear Sydni's Story

Advocating for herself

"If I didn't know any better, I'd have been sitting in a class that was not challenging me, that I did not need, and it was putting me on a track that I did not deserve."

Hear Kendra's Story

Building a life on shared experience

“…and so they had learned something from each other, you know, and shared something. And that's important.”

Hear Don's Story

Connecting the past with the present

“…racism is one of those things that fades and you think it's getting better, and then it rears its head.”

Hear Kerry's Story

Challenging racial stereotypes

"I use every moment that I can with the kids as a teaching opportunity.”

Hear Chris's Story

Appreciating the diversity of experience

“…you can't tell people their experiences with race aren't valid, because everybody's experience with race is completely different than somebody else's.”

Hear Nelisha's Story

Taking time to consider the other

“And when they hear other people's stories of their experience, a light bulb goes off, and oh, that's what it is…”

Hear Keri's Story

Bringing a world view

“I think everybody - at least you should be more curious and not treat other people like an alien if we're not an American.”

Hear Tsion's Story

Framing a positive story

“But what's even better is… they get to create a story that's never ever existed here on campus.”

Hear Noble's Story

Fighting for identity

“This is something that I've dealt with most of my life, and the fact that people trivialize it is - that's also what kind of annoys me too.”

Hear Joonhee's Story

Balancing perspectives

“I don't know if people just wanted to be nicer as a response, at least people who probably don't support that rhetoric, that kind of a statement.”

Hear Hugo's Story

Facing harsh realities

"The fact that nothing happened to either the man who killed Trayvon or the man who killed Michael just…I don't know, it made me really upset."

Hear Francisco's Story

Confronting the complexities of race

“I was called a settler of color once and it still hits me really hard to think about the complexity of that concept.”

Hear Fiana's Story

Bridging the divide

"We need to learn and we need to listen to other people and their stories, and we can't just avoid other people because they're different from us because we're too scared to talk to them..."

Hear Mikaela's Story

Exploring the possibilities of a "melting pot"

"For example, the guy who lives next to me is from Mexico, and I think that just experiencing, interacting with people from different places has helped me have a better understanding of what he's from."

Hear Carlston's Story

Seeking common ground

"I have a lot of very interesting conversations about race with my freshman and which...really stemmed out of me growing comfortable with the people that weren't like me."

Hear Rathin's Story

Bringing himself to the role

"I don't need you to be my voice, I just need you to pass the mic that you're hoarding right now."

Hear Samuel's Story

Thinking about the people around us

"I think a lot of people kind of assume that people are ignorant because they want to be. I think sometimes people are ignorant because they don't have any other exposure to anything."

Hear Jessica's Story

Experiencing the culture of separateness

"But over time I would say in the span of an hour that table became what my friend called an ethnic table. It was just me, the Asian kid, and the black kids."

Hear Eric's Story

Taking a step beyond bias

" I think we all have fear of engaging in conversation with another group of people or raise whatever we want to describe the categories as."

Hear Joel's Story

Making an effort to be seen

"...if you're an international student, if you're a black student, if you're an Asian student, you are an Asian student first. You have that adjective that comes first..."

Hear Julian's Story

Seeking diversity of viewpoint

"Why should you care if you're with 10 black people versus 10 white people? I don't think that's what counts."

Hear Luke's Story

Finding a place to share viewpoints

"It is really nice having someone, having people that you can talk to who kind of know what you’re doing or what you’re going through I guess."

Hear Jared's Story

Looking for a genuine commitment to diversity

"You can diversify campus all you want, but if people don't feel included, we're not making progress. Diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is being asked to dance."

Hear Briana's Story

Confronting the national discourse on campus

"I never felt like I was in any danger, but then after the 2016 election, it was just like, will I be told this on my way to class? In my class?"

Hear Karla's Story

Navigating moments of tension

"...and, you know, a kid said, like he was talking about the St. Mary’s shuttle and he was just like, “Yeah, like, St. Mary’s girls...they’re kind of part of Notre Dame...it’s like the 3⁄5 Compromise.” And it just got like dead silent in the room."

Hear Kaleem's Story