All Funded Projects

Community Stories


This ongoing story-gathering effort to document community life in California coincides, at times, with thematic initiatives conducted by California Humanities. For more information, click HERE.

Grants Awarded in Winter 2015

California State University, East Bay Foundation, Hayward
Project Director: Henry Gilbert and Marjorie Rhodes-Ousley
An exhibit exploring the story of five generations of a 60 member Ohlone/Miwok family that continues to live within and near their now heavily-urbanized ancestral homelands in the San Francisco Bay Area will raise awareness of the ongoing presence of Native peoples in California and document a powerful story of cultural resilience and survival. This campus-based project will engage students in oral history work and development of a multimedia exhibit. An online archive, publications, and public programs will offer additional learning experiences for the community at large. $10,000

Community Agroecology Network, Santa Cruz 
Project Director: Michelle Aguilar
Nestled within a concrete jungle adjacent to the historic Santa Cruz boardwalk, the Beach Flats Community Garden has provided an oasis for a dedicated group of gardeners, mostly Latinos, for the past 20 years. This oral history project aims to produce an archival website and documentary film to share the stories of the gardeners, now facing eviction, and provide a lens for exploring topics of concern to Californians today: gentrification, food security, and land use conflicts. The film will be screened in various community settings in Santa Cruz, distributed to schools and libraries, and disseminated through online and digital media channels; accompanying lesson plans will be developed to support classroom use. $10,000

Islamic Scholarship Fund, Berkeley
Project Director: David Washburn
Four short documentaries will provide four California Muslim American veterans opportunities to reflect on and share their personal stories as well as to explore the particular complexities and challenges faced by each. The documentaries will be presented through a series of screenings and discussions hosted by community partners in Northern and Southern California and distributed online. Aiming to dispel misconceptions and stereotyping by sharing first person accounts, the project will promote greater understanding of California’s Muslim community. $10,000

Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco 
Project Director: Rene Yung
Integrating oral history, archival research, and storytelling with visual, sound, and performance art, this multimedia project will juxtapose stories of 19th and 20th century Chinese settlers alongside those of recent migrants to the Bay Area.  By sharing memories and experiences that are seldom voiced and little known, the project will provide an opportunity for audiences to deepen their understanding of the commonalities of the immigrant experience, both past and present. In addition to live performances and discussions in San Francisco, a DVD and materials to support classroom and community-based screenings and dialogues will be produced. $10,000

Mid-Peninsula Community Media Center, Palo Alto 
Project Director: Elliot Margolies
Storytelling salons hosted by local public libraries will provide an opportunity for residents of Palo Alto and Redwood City to hear from a group of young California DREAMers – children who accompanied their parents to the US without legal authorization. To help build bridges of understanding as well as to infuse historical and sociological insights into discussion of a hotly contested political topic, media professionals and humanities experts will facilitate community conversations following the storytelling sessions. The live events will be recorded for broadcast and online distribution through a variety of channels to extend the reach and impact of the project on wider audiences. $10,000

San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Encinitas 
Project Director: Jeff Charles
The once-thriving floraculture industry in North San Diego County has all but disappeared as farms and fields have been transformed into suburban housing tracts. With support from CSU San Marcos scholars, the museum will produce and present a multi-media exhibit from oral histories to be collected from the laborers, growers, plant scientists, and other local residents who made this region the “Flower Capital of the World” in its heyday. The exhibit will be complemented by a public lecture series, a symposium, and the development of a hybrid STEM-humanities curriculum unit for local elementary schools. $10,000

University Corporation, California State University Northridge, Northridge 
Project Directors: Moshoula Capous Desyllas and Sarah E. Mountz
As much as 20% of the young people in LA County’s foster care system identify as LGBTQ; most are youth of color. Many of them experience special challenges and suffer discrimination and even violence as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This project will provide 30 foster system “alumni” an opportunity to create photo essays documenting their lives before, during, and after foster care. These first-voice pieces, along with contextual material, will provide content for a series of online and physical exhibits and public discussions designed to raise public consciousness and understanding of their experience and inform policy and professional practice. $10,000

San Francisco Film Society, San Francisco
Project Director: Deborah Craig
A feature-length documentary will share the stories of California lesbians who are finding ways to grow old gracefully and even joyously, whether they are aging in place, going “back to the land” in rural California, relocating to a gay-specific or gay-friendly retirement community, or joining the legions of aging seniors living “on the road” in RVs. Through community screenings and discussions, and an interactive website, the project hopes to counter dominant narratives and stereotypes about gay people, elders, and women, and to offer Californians of all ages and orientations new insights and new ways of thinking about aging. $10,000

Asian Story Theater, San Diego 
Project Director: Kent Brisby
Using the popular traditional multilayered Filipino dessert as a metaphor, the project will explore the diversity of experiences within San Diego’s Filipino American community. A full-scale multimedia theatrical production will be developed from archival research and interviews conducted with community members, with support from scholars and community researchers. The project will provide a means to preserve and share a history that is little known, both within the community as well as outside, and promote greater understanding of the Filipino presence in California, past and present. $10,000 

University Corporation at Monterey Bay, Seaside 
Project Director: Naseem Badiey
California is home to a diverse group of over one million Iranian immigrants who have arrived since the 1979 Revolution, but their stories and experiences are little known outside the community. This oral history project will create a website to house interview clips and short-format documentaries developed through the grant that will also provide a means to store and make accessible user-generated content from the community. Aiming to expand awareness of the diversity of this immigrant community among the general public, the project will explore the commonalities and differences individuals and families have faced as they negotiate identity, maintain continuity with cultural and social traditions, and adapt to life in a new home. $10,000

West of West Center for Narrative History of the Central Valley, Inc., Fresno
Project Director: Ernest Lowe
While the story of the white Dust Bowl exodus to California is well-known, the parallel journey of Black sharecroppers during the 1940s and 50s is less so. This project will create a multi-media exhibition documenting this strand of California’s migration history, focusing on Teviston, a Black Okie town in Tulare County. In addition to oral histories, the exhibit will include historical and contemporary photographs, video documentaries, music, and artifacts.  The exhibit and accompanying public programs will travel to campus and community venues in the Central Valley and Bay Area. An associated website will provide a space for community members to share related stories and images. $10,000

Heyday, Berkeley 
Project Director: Jeremy Rosenberg
This oral history project will provide denizens of LA’s rapidly changing downtown with space to reflect on the economic, demographic, and cultural changes taking place alongside the physical transformation of the city. A series of interviews, public forums, and community conversations organized in collaboration with and hosted by local partners will engage people from many walks of life and different points of view in reflection and discussion about the city’s past, present, and future. A website and publication will provide additional ways to preserve and share these stories and related research with wider audiences. $10,000

Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Maylei Blackwell
Los Angeles has the largest indigenous population of any US city. This university-community collaboration will explore the relationships between the Tongva and Tataviam communities, the first peoples of LA, and other indigenous groups from North America, Latin America, and Oceania who now make the city home. The digital storytelling project will link audio and video recordings from interviews to on online map accessible through a smart phone “ap”; public exhibitions, a radio documentary, and a K-12 curriculum will further extend the project’s reach and impact. In addition to promoting connections between and raising awareness of the presence of indigenous peoples in the city, the project hopes to spark new research. $10,000

Go For Broke National Education Center, Torrance 
Project Director: Barbara Watanabe
In partnership with the Monterey Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and students from local colleges, project staff will research the little-known story of a group of local citizens who organized to publically welcome Japanese American internees back to the community in 1945. Research and interviews with these “upstanders” and their descendents (John Steinbeck was among the group) will be woven into a short documentary geared for community and educational use. The project aims to stimulate reflection and dialogue about a moment in history when, as now, security concerns test adherence to democratic principles and human ties. $10,000

Self-Help Graphics, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Michelle Lopez
A comprehensive retrospective interpretive exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum will document the work of this vibrant grassroots collective of East Los Angeles-based women artists of color, and explore the ways in which it has helped shape and been shaped by movements for cultural identity, social change, wellness, and individual and community empowerment. Academic and independent scholars will serve as curators and history consultants in developing the exhibit and public programs, which will include panel discussions, intergenerational platicas (talks), oral history presentations, and a poetry reading. $10,000

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, Los Angeles
Project Director: Heidi Duckler
This innovative arts-humanities project will explore the immigrant experience in Los Angeles through the stories of the people who live and work near LA’s Central Wholesale Market. UCLA humanities faculty and students and Company members will interview Market tenants, mostly newcomers from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.  Their stories will provide source material for a new site-specific work of dance.  Performances and talk-backs will help make visible this vibrant but largely unknown community, and promote greater understanding and interaction between the vendors, their neighbors, and the wider Los Angeles community. $10,000

Pasadena Arts Council, Pasadena
Project Director: Candacy Taylor
During the era of Jim Crow, many African Americans relied on this “Bible of Black Travel” to navigate safe passage and find sustenance and respite while on the road. This oral history project will identify and interview individuals who are connected to historic sites of refuge in Los Angeles – hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses. Stories will be presented through public programs, an interactive website, and provide material for a book and exhibit that will document a little known chapter in California history and provide opportunities to re-examine America’s troubled history of race relations. $10,000

San Diego State University Research Foundation, San Diego 
Project Directors: Anna Culbertson, Melissa Lamont
An online interactive website will document the emergence of LGBT social movements in the San Diego region, using the annual San Diego Pride cerebration as a focal point. Oral histories, photographs, video and digitized graphics from T-shirts, buttons, posters, and banners from the collection of the Lambda Archives at SDSU as well as new interviews will provide content for the website, which will be supplemented with contextual material to be contributed by project scholars. The online resource will be launched with a public lecture series that will coincide with San Diego Pride in June 2017. $10,000

La Habra High School Theater Guild, La Habra 
Project Director: Brian Johnson
An original immersive theater experience will bring to light a little-known episode in Orange County history, the censorship of “Pastoral California”, a WPA-era mural depicting life in the Rancho era.  In collaboration with CSU Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History, high school faculty and students will conduct archival research and interviews, which will be developed into a site-specific performance piece, focusing on the stories of key characters in this dramatic episode. Post-play discussions will raise awareness of local history and provide opportunities for dialogue about current community relations.  Recordings of interviews as well as the performances and discussions will be archived on a website. $9,000

Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles
Project Director: Yusef Omowole
Working in partnership with community elders, scholars, and educators, the Library will conduct a year-long project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Watts rebellion.  In addition to collecting stories from eye-witnesses and other community members, the project will develop a virtual exhibit housing archival material as well as new stories, and produce resources for educators. The website will be launched with a public forum which will explore the relationship of this historical moment to the present, as the city, the state, and the nation continue to grapple with racism and racialized conflict. $10,000

Grants Awarded in Summer 2015

The 1947 Partition Archive, Berkeley
Project Director: Guneeta Singh Bhalla
Oral histories from Central Valley residents who witnessed the 1947 Partition of the Indian subcontinent – which produced the largest movement of people in the 20th century -- will bring to light untold stories of survival, displacement, resettlement, and cultural integration within the contemporary California landscape.  Screenings and discussion of these stories at museums and community organizations in the region will provide opportunities for community reflection and dialogue; the stories will reach a global audience via an interactive, map-based online exhibit. By sharing these stories, the project aims to foster greater public understanding and empathy. $10,000

Media Arts Center San Diego, San Diego 
Project Director: Ron Najor
El Cajon, a city in eastern San Diego County, has one of the highest concentrations of Iraqi refugees in America. A majority of these new residents are Chaldeans, members of a distinct cultural group, who fled religious persecution and violence after the war began in 2003. Through in-depth interviews with individuals who represent different dimensions of the larger community experience, the project will explore and document the challenges and opportunities these refugees face as they seek to make a home in California. The short video pieces to be produced will be broadcast, made available online, and presented at screening and discussion events throughout the region. $10,000

Kern Community College, Bakersfield 
Project Director: Oliver Rosales
This year (2015) marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Delano Grape Strike (1965-1970). A new oral history project will shed new light on this historic period by documenting a lesser-known story: how the farm labor organizing movement gave rise to civil rights and social justice activism beyond the fields of Kern County.  A collaborative effort involving Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield, the project will identify key participants, record oral histories, contextualize and share them through a website, and develop public programs and opportunities for community engagement and learning. $10,000

Cante Sica Foundation, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Jonathan Skurnik
By collecting and sharing stories of Native elders who attended Indian Boarding Schools, this project will provide opportunities for Native and non-Native audience alike to understand the complex history and legacy of these institutions.  By training a group of Southern California Native youth in oral history and documentary methods to conduct these interviews, the project will help develop a new generation of public historians and strengthen intergenerational bonds within the Native community.  In collaboration with the Autry National Center, the oral histories will be archived and made available online, accompanied with contextual materials.  Exhibits and public programs that result from the work will support community engagement, reflection, and dialogue. $10,000

Center for Community Advocacy, Salinas 
Project Director: Miriam Pawel
A recently rediscovered trove of photographs by Mimi Plumb will be the focus of a new, interactive, bilingual, multi-media website that will share stories about the farm workers who joined Cesar Chavez's movement forty years ago in the Salinas Valley. Designed to expand as people find and identify friends and relatives in the photographs and add their own recollections, the website will also include archival material and oral histories already conducted. The project will culminate with a public forum at the National Steinbeck Center that will offer the community an additional story-sharing opportunity. This project will recover a rapidly disappearing piece of California history and document its enduring legacy. $10,000

California Institute for Rural Studies, Davis 
Project Director: Idli Carlisle-Cummins
Part live performance and part permanent, easily-accessible, free audio tour, this project will explore the history of the landscape between San Jose and Auburn travelled by thousands of commuters each day, inviting listeners to expand their understanding of this region and explore topics that are the subject of contemporary policy debates. The project will launch with a live story-based performance on the train during the two-hour program en route to Sacramento, and discussion sessions on the return trip to Oakland. After the event, stories will be made available as podcasts that can be accessed via smart phone app or computer by travelers and others interested in the past, present, and future of California and regional history. $10,000

Center for Asian American Media, San Francisco 
Project Director: Stephen Gong
Home movies are now recognized as an important source of historical and cultural knowledge.  By collecting, preserving and sharing home movies created by Asian American residents of the Central Valley, this project will share authentic stories and images documenting  everyday life that will counterbalance stereotypic (or absent) representations of Asian Americans often seen in conventional media.  Humanities advisors will help viewers make connections between the deeply personal and familial experiences portrayed by these amateur filmmakers to larger communal and social histories through the means of direct public programming and an interpretive website and online archive. $10,000

Chicana/Latina Foundation, Burlingame 
Project Director: Albertina Zarazua Padilla
Seeking to promote understanding of the experiences of women whose labor puts food on our tables, and broaden knowledge of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of California  farm workers today, this project will record and share stories from women farm workers in the Central Valley and the Central Coast.  Stories elicited through workshops, supplemented with visual and contextual material, will be presented on a bilingual website and broadcast on Radio Bilingue.  A public program in the Bay Area will launch the site and provide opportunities to strengthen connections between the campesinas and the urban communities their labor helps sustain. $10,000

Graton Day Labor Center, Graton 
Project Director: Christopher Kerosky
This multimedia project will provide the means for some of the many thousands of undocumented young people in the North Bay Area who have obtained legal status under the DREAM Act/DACA law, known as DREAMers, to share their stories and aspirations with the broader community.  Through a collaboration involving many community partners, the project will produce a website, social media platforms, video profiles, and a half-hour documentary that will be broadcast on public television and screened in local schools, museums, businesses, and government offices.  These stories will add a human dimension to academic and policy debates about immigration reform, and promote thoughtful public engagement with a complex and contested issue. $10,000

National Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, Oakland 
Project Director: Nicole Newnham
A team of filmmakers and scholars will work with schools and youth development organizations, enabling young people in 20 underserved communities across the state to explore and document compelling contemporary stories that affect them, ranging from the tech industry's displacement of youth and their families from San Francisco's mission district to the effect of the drought on a community in the Inland empire. Stories uncovered through these investigations will be incorporated into a online digital map accessible through the project website, “Map My World.” Tools will be developed to support community-based as well as online screenings and discussions about these stories and the issues they raise. $10,000

California State University, San Bernardino 
Project Director: Tom Rivera
This oral history project aims to produce a record of life in a segregated Mexican American community in the Inland Empire, from the 1890’s to 1960 when the civil rights era initiated a gradual process of its integration into the surrounding city of Colton. Interviews with current residents and descendents of earlier residents will yield a richly textured description of life in this “parallel” community and document a story about which little has been written.  Recordings, transcripts and photos produced by the project will be archived and shared through virtual and real-time public programs, exhibits, and forums geared for local residents, students, and scholars of California and Latino history. $10,000

Media Arts Center San Diego, San Diego 
Project Director: Kristine Diekman
California has been experiencing a prolonged and historic drought, but nowhere are its effects and the resulting competition for water more apparent than in Tulare County, where some economically disadvantaged individuals and families are currently living without running water. Hoping to raise awareness of the complexity and history of issues related to water use in California's Central Valley, the project will use video, photographic, and interviews to document the experience of those affected, and share their stories online through interactive digital technology, to be made available free for educational purposes by community members, students, scholars, policy makers, and the broader public. $10,000

Santa Monica College, Santa Monica 
Project Director: Sang Chi
This campus-based project will engage students, faculty, and community members in making a documentary about the Korean American community’s experience of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Emphasis will be placed on examining the impact on second- and third-generation Korean Americans, including interviews with the family and friends of Eddie Lee, a SMC student who was the only Korean American killed during the civil unrest. Through oral histories, interviews and archival research to be conducted with the aid of journalists and community leaders, the project will develop material for a long-form documentary that will be widely disseminated through locally hosted screenings, regional film festivals, and community based organizations. $10,000

GameTrain Learning, Inc., Redondo Beach 
Project Director: Randall Fujimoto
Using contemporary digital tools, middle and school students will work with academic scholars and community historians to create a 20-minute machinima (animated film) documentary about Sawtelle, a historic Japanese American neighborhood in Los Angeles.  Using archival photographs, video footage, with “narration” provided by previously collected oral history recordings, the project will employ  animation to recreate a 3D virtual environment of the community in its heyday, the 1930s-70s. Public presentations and a website will enable access by K-12 and college students, current and former residents, and educators, researchers, and individuals and organizations interested in Japanese American and Los Angeles history. $10,000

Pomona College, Claremont 
Project Director: Tomás Summers Sandoval
This youth-centered, community history project, a partnership between Pomona College (Claremont) and dA Center for the Arts (Pomona), will bring to light and share the stories of Pomona’s Latina/Latino military veterans and their families. Intensive training will enable local youth to conduct 30 oral histories, spanning the period of the Vietnam War to the present. The oral histories will anchor an interdisciplinary museum exhibit incorporating video, audio, and visual materials--including works of visual and performance art inspired by the stories—that will connect these young people and the community at large to their collective past. $10,000

California State University, Fullerton, Auxiliary Services Corporation, Fullerton 
Project Director: Xtine Burrough
A collaboration between Cal State Fullerton (CSUF), the Center for Oral Public History at CSUF, and the Orange County Great Park, this project will raise awareness of women's roles in the military and enrich visitor’s appreciation of the history and landscape of the park, site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air station.  The project will develop a free, interactive smartphone/tablet application that will enable visitors to hear recorded oral histories shared by women veterans and military wives who lived and worked on base from World War II until its closure in 1999, and contribute their own stories and reflections about military experience, family lore, or their experience of this changing landscape. $10,000

Lavender Effect/Community Partners, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Andy Sacher
Aiming to launch on December 1, National AIDS Awareness Day, this new media oral history project will bring attention to the dramatic and poignant story of West Hollywood's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in its early days. Through in-depth interviews with individuals from LGBTQ and allied communities who were participants and/or witnesses to that turbulent period, an important chapter of community history will be preserved and made available online for current residents, LGBTQ youth, and the broader public.  Educational materials (standards-aligned) will be developed to support use by teachers and student organizations at LAUSD middle and high schools. $10,000

Zen Hospice Project, San Francisco 
Project Director: Diane Mailey
This expansion of Zen Hospice Project’s ongoing Storytelling Initiative, which records and shares stories from hospice residents, families, caregivers, volunteers, and staff, will further promote healing and transformation among participants, strengthen care-giving, and educate families, caregivers, and broader professional and public audiences about the experiences of death, grieving, and loss. In partnership with StoryCorps Legacy, the project will develop a new series of storytelling and community events, improve production quality, and broaden dissemination of these compelling stories through online distribution, social media, and public radio broadcast. $10,000

Grants Awarded in Winter 2014

Big Sur Oral History Project
Henry Miller Memorial Library (HMML), Big Sur  
Project Director: Michael Scutari
Big Sur Oral History Project will capture, preserve, and make available an oral history of a unique community in one of the most remarkable landscapes in the world; the stretch of land comprising Big Sur. The Henry Miller Memorial Library (HMML) will digitize existing audio and film recordings (still in many cases on deteriorating media), and record new stories. Materials will be shared with visitors and residents through a publicly accessible archive and listening station. The project will explore contemporary life and how the area’s residents have adapted to their rugged natural surroundings, the conservation ethic, and to the ever increasing amount of visiting public across the past 100 years. $10,000

The Briefing Room
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito 
Project Director: Carrie Hott
The Briefing Room will engage visitors to Headlands Center for the Arts in Golden Gate National Recreation Area with the diversity of experiences of the many peoples who have lived and worked in this place: Native American Coastal Miwok, Spanish and Mexican ranchers, Portuguese immigrant dairy farmers, military personnel, and the California artists, activists, and civil leaders that partnered with the National Park Service to create a thriving international arts center – the site’s current use.  The multi-media storytelling center – comprising digital displays featuring interviews, guides, photographs, and drawings – will reveal and promote understanding of the region’s complex history. $10,000

Cold War Culver City
The Wende Museum, Culver City 
Project Director: Donna Stein
The Cold War Culver City project intends to highlight the city’s ‘hidden in plain sight’ Cold War-era history through means of an online exhibit, a portable digital application, and public programming, that will draw upon previously collected material as well as new oral histories. The Wende Museum hopes that by linking the vestigial Cold War landscape to personal and communal narratives, and making the community’s past visible and accessible, it will encourage greater interest in local history and further understanding of the significant role the city played in Cold War politics, culture, and industry. $10,000

Digital Histories – Making a Home: The Power of Place in Asian Pacific American California Neighborhoods
Visual Communications, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Janet Chen
Digital Histories will explore the meaning of place within the Asian Pacific American experience in California. Using interviews, storytelling, filmmaking, and writing, a group of Southern California APA seniors will reflect on and represent their unique experiences with particular places that have been important in their lives, examining the relationship between the physical environment and its social context, as well as how place contributes to the formation of personal and collective identity.  Ten original documentary short films will be produced; free public screenings and discussions will occur at film festivals and community centers across the state. $10,000

The Growing Divide: A portrait of the Marijuana Farming Boom in a Rural Community
The Watershed Research and Training Center, Hayfork 
Project Director: Piper McDaniel
The Growing Divide will investigate and document the impact of the black market marijuana industry on the rural community of Hayfork, CA, a geographically isolated community in California’s Far North that experienced dramatic changes to its physical and social landscape in the wake of the booming marijuana farming industry. Utilizing photography and interviews with residents, marijuana growers, law enforcement and government officials, this project will produce an interpretive exhibit and online archive depicting a community undergoing rapid environmental and social transition: divided, interdependent, tightly knit, and struggling for definition and stability. $10,000

It’s a Krip-Hop Nation
Watts Village Theater Company, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Lynn Manning
It’s a Krip-Hop Nation is a research project and ultimately a theatrical production drawn from the stories and histories of people living in South Los Angeles who have been disabled through accidents, violence, and war. In collaboration with community partner organizations and agencies, Watts Village Theater Company (WVTC) will conduct an oral history project to collect stories from disabled survivors of violence, their family members, and their caregivers.  Professional theatre artists will collaborate in the production of an original stage play depicting the too seldom portrayed lives of people with disabilities, giving special attention to the often-ignored population of disabled people of color. Post play discussions will provide opportunities for community reflection and dialogue. $10,000

Jews and the Development of Los Angeles
KCRW-89.9 FM, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Avishay Artsy
This project will focus on the important but little-known role played by Jewish architects, developers, political and social leaders, and philanthropists in shaping the built environment of Los Angeles.  Through one-on-one interviews with key figures in this story, and analysis contributed by historians and other scholars,  Jews and the Development of Los Angeles will explore why the Jewish community, a relatively small segment of LA's population, has had such a significant impact on the city’s physical form.  The project will result in a series of print articles and radio stories that will be published in The Jewish Journal and broadcast on KCRW, an NPR affiliate in Southern California, as well as presented through public forums. $10,000

The Kumeyaay Nation: Stories of Change
Imperial Valley Desert Museum, El Centro 
Project Director: Frank Salazar
This project, an innovative exhibit at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum (IVDM), draws from over seventy hours of interviews with members of the Kumeyaay tribe, which has inhabited the region for over 9,000 years. Under the theme of “shared identity in a changing landscape,” the exhibit will use state-of-the-art museum technologies, exploring how the tribe has adapted to the region’s arid climate, and sharing accounts and stories about life in the desert environment.  The exhibit will provide the means for Kumeyaay perspectives on the environment and culture to be shared with new audiences, and for museum visitors to reflect on their own experience of this landscape. $10,000

Opening the Door: Personal Stories of Groundbreaking Los Angeles Lawyers and Judges
LA Law Library, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Linda Heichman
Oral histories of individuals who have overcome significant barriers to achieve success – Los Angeles judges and lawyers who triumphed despite obstacles posed by discrimination related to gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status - will be the basis for an upcoming exhibit and short video created by the LA Law Library. Personal stories, artifacts, and ephemera from the Library’s legal history collection will be shared to help spark an engaged dialogue about past and present impediments to educational and career achievement. Through public programming, Opening the Door aims to engage and inspire local high school and college students to surmount societal obstacles that they, too, may face, and to raise awareness of these issues within the broader community. $9,897

Pursuing Dreams: Stories of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in California
Refugee Transitions, San Francisco 
Project Director: Jane Pak
Pursuing Dreams: Stories of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in California will collect and share stories from a group of Bay Area immigrant youth about overcoming odds, survival, resilience, and cross-cultural friendships. Many refugees and immigrants hold memories that are still fresh and raw after having fled war, economic hardships, or violence; lost loved ones; and/or having been resettled after living in refugee camps for many years. The project will help these young Bay Area newcomers develop English language skills as they craft and share their written and visual stories through digital and public programs, and foster greater awareness, appreciation, and a greater understanding of the California immigrant experience. $10,000

Q&A Space Coming Out Stories
API Equality-LA, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Shelly Chen
LGBTQ youth, particularly youth of color, often feel isolated and face hostility and even violence.  To respond to these challenges, API Equality-LA will expand its existing online archive of stories from Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT individuals by collecting new stories from parents, family members, and friends of LGBTQ youth. The Q&A project will present and contextualize these stories through the means of an exhibit, an online archive, and public programs to provide the means by which API youth with complex identities can share their stories, towards the goal for fostering greater compassion, understanding and awareness on the part of the entire community. $10,000

Reflections of a Drought
Fresno County Library Jurisdiction, Fresno 
Project Director: Jonathan Waltmire
Fresno County Public Library (FCPL), in partnership with The kNOw Youth Media, will produce a documentary exploring the impact of the current drought on Fresno County, the top agricultural producing region in California. Stories from community members who have been affected by the drought will be recorded through video interviews, digital storytelling, and a short documentary film – these materials will be archived and presented online and in real-time public programs in order to promote understanding among local, state, national and international audiences about this contemporary environmental crisis. $8,960

Salmon Wars of the Klamath River Project
Yurok Tribe, Klamath 
Project Director: Isaac Kinney
The Yurok Tribe will produce a four part video documentary, Salmon Wars of the Klamath River, that will explore the story of the struggle of the Yurok people in the 1970’s  to preserve their traditional fishing rights and restore the health of the Klamath River.  Highlighting the historic and legal components of Yurok fishing rights, the cultural awakening and resiliency displayed during and after the Salmon Wars, and the status of the current Yurok fishery, the documentary will explore an important California story with national resonance. The video will be shared with tribal members, the local community, and visitors to the tribal visitor center, as well as made available online and screened at film festivals. $10,000

Second Chances
ImaginAction, Sierra Madre 
Project Director: Hector Aristizabal
Although LA is home to more refugees who have survived torture in their homelands than any other American city, their stories are seldom heard and their experiences little known.  ImaginAction will collect oral histories from at least 20 torture survivors – mostly from Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union  – now living in the region, and record and present these through texts (online and print), radio, video, and theater performances. Second Chances aims to provide  a window on the experiences of these new Angelinos as they begin their new lives – both the advantages to settling along with the obstacles to social reintegration – and offer opportunities for genuine and thoughtful conversations as well as to promote greater public understanding. $10,000

SF Stories: A Shared Experience
Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco 
Project Director: Jason Jakaitis
Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) will engage local veterans, their families and veterans’service organizations to develop, produce and share digital stories about veterans’ reintegration process into their home communities, through the personal lens of their families. These stories, combined with commentary and additional content provided by the veteran’s themselves, will be shared online and developed into an hour-long program for broadcast on SF Commons. By providing opportunities for veterans and their families to create and share their unique stories with each other and the public, the project aims to increase self-understanding, communication and a positive self-image through the creative storytelling process. $10,000

We Are SF
Community Initiatives, San Francisco 
Project Director: Shaady Salehi
We Are SF is a six-month multimedia project that will share immigration stories from people of all different walks of life, with the goal of creating a sense of shared identity among San Francisco residents and broadening public awareness of the positive contributions immigrants have made to the city throughout its history. The project kicks off early in 2015 with a public event co-hosted by Immigrant Nation (iNation) and the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs. An online collection of unique and unexpected stories – video, audio, text, poetry, and photographs – will be collected by local organizations, bloggers, artists, and journalists and shared through a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. $10,000

Grants Awarded in Spring 2014

(War Comes Home-related projects are identified with an *)

Building Oak Tree School: A Living History of Education on the Ridge
North Columbia School House Cultural Center, Nevada City
Project Director: Jeff Adams
Building on interest generated through an earlier Community Stories-supported project, the Center will explore another facet of community life—the local public school. Interviews with the founders (both “old timers” and “back-to-the-land” urban transplants who started the school back in the 1970s) and current residents will be recorded. Archival research will provide additional material for a rich and imaginative array of public programs and an online exhibit and archive. The project will not only provide a means to preserve and share local history but provide a lens through which the challenges facing public education in California today can be better understood. $10,000

Cahuilla Continuum: Kuktushatem Chema’avuwetemngax (Words From Our Elders)
Riverside Museum Associates/Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Riverside
Project Director: Brenda Buller Focht
Although they are the largest Southern California Native community, there is little awareness among outsiders about the history and culture of the Cahuilla people. A video documentary, directed by museum staff members who belong to the tribe, featuring interviews with Cahuilla culture bearers and other experts, will provide a means not only to preserve their culture, but to share it with the broader community.  The film will be launched with public programming in September 2015 (Native American Week in Riverside). It will also be available on the museum’s YouTube channel and incorporated into a new exhibit. Educational materials for use in K-12 classrooms will further extend the project’s reach and impact. $10,000

Communities Crossing: Echoes Along Historic Route 123 
Kala Art Institute, Berkeley
Project Director: Sue Mark
Thousands of East Bay residents travel along San Pablo Avenue every day, but few are probably aware of the rich social, economic, and cultural history associated with this historic transit corridor. This arts-infused humanities project will make the community’s hidden history more visible, and provide opportunities for area residents to share their stories about the experience of place, learn more about local history, and voice their concerns about gentrification and other current issues. Project activities will include story-gathering sessions, archival research, community conversations, an installation of text and imagery along the thoroughfare, site-specific performances, and a website. $10,000

Coming Out West
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles
Project Director: Jamie Scot
The history of LA’s queer community from 1945 to 1980 will be brought to light through a 90 minute video designed to raise awareness of the formative role Los Angeles activists played in the emergence of the city’s gay community institutions and organizations, as well as in the larger struggle for LGBTQ civil rights. The project will draw on interviews with activists and culture bearers (many of whom are WWII veterans) as well as earlier documentary and archival materials collected by the applicant organization, a community-based archive. The video will be broadcast on LAUSD’s TV channel, submitted to film festivals, and screened for community audiences; a website will provide contextualization and house related resources. $10,000

Community Beautiful
LA Commons/Community Partners, Los Angeles
Project Director: Rosten Woo and Alyse Emdur
The story of Watts-Willowbrook Christmas Parade and Beauty Pageant, two South Los Angeles community institutions that emerged out of the Watts Rebellion of 1965, will be investigated through oral history and archival research that draws upon current scholarship about placemaking and community building. Findings will be shared through a billboard and a book (print and web-based editions) of photographs, personal stories, and essays. Public programs during spring 2015 will foster public knowledge about Los Angeles history, as well as raise awareness of the importance of public ritual and celebration to community life and cultural identity. $10,00

The EchoTheaterSuitcase Project*
CounterPULSE, San Francisco
Project Director: Krista DeNio
Through the means of audience interactive, site-specific, theater installations, the project will provide opportunities for veterans and non-veteran civilian communities to listen to and reflect upon stories about the experience of war and its aftermath, (as both participants and audience members). By bringing disparate groups together to learn from one another and join in dialogue, the project aims to break through the larger cultural “silence” around these issues. Initial performances during spring, summer, and fall 2015 will take place in San Francisco and Davis, before the project expands to other parts of the state. Recorded performances and stories from project participants will be shared online, along with responses from the community who participate in the online, transmedia portion of the project. $10,000

Echoes of War *
Playhouse Arts, Arcata
Project Director: Jacqueline Dandeneau
Using a “storybus” (mobile recording studio) and other imaginative strategies, project staff, working with local veteran, Native, and community organizations, will collect and record stories from an ethnically and culturally diverse group of Northcoast residents about the impact of war on their lives, their families, and the community in this geographically remote and economically challenged region. The stories will be woven into a dramatic piece; live performances and post-play discussions will be recorded and edited for broadcast on a local public radio station on Veterans Day, 2015. Collected oral histories will be archived in local libraries and the Playhouse’s online “story bank.” $10,000

Homie UP: Life Beyond La Vida Loca, Stories of Love and Redemption
CSU San Marcos Foundation, San Marcos
Project Directors: Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez and Marisol Clark-Ibañez
Stories written by a group of 10-15 young Latino/a inmates who are participants in Universidad Popular, an educational program conducted “behind the walls” by the campus-based National Latino Research Center, will provide a window into the world of California’s prisons and the life circumstances of its prisoners.  The project aims to document the “school-to-prison pipeline” and illuminate the linkage between educational failure and the revolving door of incarceration.  The stories of the young inmates participating in the project will be shared through public readings and online recordings, bringing their experiences to the notice of wider audiences and inviting thoughtful consideration of matters related to juvenile justice and incarceration. $10,000

Los Callejones: Garment Worker Stories from Los Angeles
UC Regents, Los Angeles 
Project Directors: Kent Wong
A half hour bilingual radio documentary will allow the voices of immigrants who work in the alleyways of LA’s garment industry to be heard, and broaden public understanding of a significant but largely invisible element of the city’s landscape and economy. In partnership with the Garment Worker Center, a worker education/advocacy organization, researchers from the UCLA Labor Center will conduct interviews with some of these workers. Their stories, augmented with contextual information, will be shared through listening parties, audio kiosks, and a phone-accessible digital platform, Vojo. A half hour radio documentary will also be developed for broadcast on public radio, with an accompanying discussion guide and lesson plans for classroom use. $10,000

Mi Abuelito Fue Bracero
ACTION Council of Monterey Co., Inc., Salinas
Project Director: Luis ‘xago’ Juárez
Stories of Salinas Valley braceros (farm laborers from Mexico who came to the US under a government-sanctioned contract labor program that began in WWII) will be shared through a new play that will raise awareness of this largely unknown history and its relationship to current issues of immigration, identity, and labor rights. The multimedia piece will incorporate material from interviews with surviving braceros, their descendents, and community members, along with mini-docs to be made by local youth. A series of school and community performances in Spanish and English, supported by educational materials, will be held in Salinas. Interviews will be housed at the public library and offered to the Smithsonian’s bracero archive. $10,000

Mother/Madre: Healing Narratives Between California Mothers and Daughters
Global Girl Media, Culver City
Project Director: Nicole Middleton
Part of an ongoing initiative to engage more women in journalism, empower women as storytellers, and raise awareness of issues faced by women and girls, both locally and globally, the project will identify a group of 20 Oakland girls from underserved backgrounds. The girls will receive instruction in research and storytelling before carrying out their assignment: to interview their mothers and grandmothers about what it means to live in poverty and “on the brink.” Guided by project staff, they will develop selected stories and share them through public programs in the Bay Area, as well as to wider audiences through web-based videos and blogs. $10,000

Race, Class, and Real Estate: Portrait of a Neighborhood
Poetry Flash, Berkeley
Project Director: Frances Lefkowitz
Bay Area author Fran Lefkowitz will lead a free 8-week long writing workshop at the Oakland’s public library’s Temescal branch, providing a group of North Oakland residents the opportunity to reflect on their experiences of economic hardship, explore the meaning of home and community, and develop their skills as storytellers and writers. Stories will be posted weekly on a blog and compiled into a print publication. At the conclusion of the workshop, the novice writers will participate in public readings of their work at the library and community and literary forums throughout the Bay Area. The library’s website will house an electronic version of the publication, event recordings, and additional material that will put a human face on the issues of gentrification and neighborhood succession. $9,735

San Francisco Seniors Remember
Meals on Wheels of San Francisco
Project Director: Kate Griffin
Conceived as a “gift exchange”, this intergenerational story-sharing project will connect University of San Francisco students in a humanities-focused service-learning project with a diverse group of 10 – 20 homebound elders who are clients of the applicant organization, giving seniors an opportunity to share their life stories and connect with young people, and students the means to develop academic and interpersonal skills and deepen their ties to these elders and their community. Story Corps staff will train the students and provide the means to archive these life stories and add them to the historical record.  Holiday season programming will provide opportunities for story sharing and community building. The desired outcome is to produce a sustainable and replicable model that can be shared with other academic and community partners. $10,000

SAYSAY Voices of Historic Filipinotown
Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture, Los Angeles
Project Director: Jilly Canizares
Inviting residents and the larger Filipino-American community to consider how “history, culture, and community intersect in a place,” a “community-sourced” oral history project will explore the memories and meanings associated with LA’s recently-designated Historic Filipinotown neighborhood. Project staff will collect and record between 50 and 75 individual stories. These stories, along with text, graphics, photographs, and other materials identified through a series of participatory activities and community events, will be used to produce both physical and virtual programs, an exhibit, podcast, and screenings to coincide with annual community celebrations in fall 2015. $10,000

Skid Row/Central City Women’s Theatre Project
Fringe Benefits Alliance, Los Angeles
Project Director: Cynthia Ruffin
A community-based theater project will examine the “gentrification” of downtown Los Angeles, using storycircles and dialogue sessions to bring together two disparate groups of women – young professionals who are new to the area, and long-time residents, poor and/or homeless, who are subject to displacement. Stories shared during these activities will be developed into a theater piece by theater artists, scholar-advisors, and the participants through a collaborative process.  Performances, followed by talkbacks, will take place at a downtown venue. A video recording of the performance will be archived on a website and shared through subsequent community and academic programming as well as electronic channels. $10,000

"To Hope for a Better Future": Integrating Riverside, CA’s Schools
Inlandia Institute, Riverside
Project Director: Cati Porter
The story of Riverside’s historic voluntary school desegregation in 1965, an important but largely-unknown chapter in the story of the civil rights movement, will be brought to light through a publication and related public programs (an exhibit and community and school-based forums). Centered on the compelling story of Arthur Littlewood, school board president and U.S. Supreme Court-appointed Master who facilitated the process, the book will also draw upon stories from other participants, archival material, and new photography by Douglas McCulloh. The project coincides with the broader commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights era currently underway. $10,000

Welga! Filipino American stories of the Great Grape Strike of 1965
Asian American Studies Dept, UC Davis, Davis
Project Director: Robyn Rodriguez
Filipino Americans have played a long and significant role in California agriculture, but their contributions to the development of the labor organizations and labor history have often been overlooked. This oral history and archival research project will endeavor to correct this omission by documenting their participation in the historic 1965 grape strike.  Project findings will be shared through a website (linked to digital markers accessible through QR codes that will be placed in Delano, the center of the strike), that will also house K-12 curriculum and other material. Public programs will take place in Delano, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the strike in September 2015, and at UC Davis. $9,982.92

Grants Awarded in Winter 2013

(War Comes Home-related projects are identified with an *)

Americans with Disabilities A.C.T.!: Activism, Culture, and Technology
Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at SFSU, San Francisco
Project Director: Catherine Kudlick
The 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in summer 2015 will provide an occasion to reflect on its history and legacy. Oral histories from 24 Bay Area activists, many whose stories have not previously been told, will be supplemented with contextualizing historical information, and presented in