In 2010 I moved to Oregon to begin my job as the curator of OSU’s Oregon Multicultural Archives. The OMA’s mission is to assist in preserving the histories and sharing the stories that document Oregon's African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American communities. Through the OMA I work with communities of color to document, preserve, and make their stories accessible to the public. The majority of my job is to collect materials, from both individuals and organizations, to add to the archives. I also curate exhibits and collaborate with other organizations on special projects as well as with professors for their classes.
One of the communities represented in the OMA is Oregon’s Latino/a community. A few notable collections include the Milagro (Miracle Theatre Group) Records, 1966-2014; the Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection, circa 1940s; the Colegio César Chávez Collection, 1965–2005; and the Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers, 1969-2010. The Milagro theatre in Portland was established in 1985 and is the premier Latino arts and cultures program in the northwest. The theatre produces both classical and contemporary performances that are English, Spanish, or bilingual. The archival collection consists of the theatre's administrative records, production files, and community outreach work. Also included is the company's artwork, videos and audio of performances, correspondence, and promotional materials. The Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection consists of 100 photographs that document the activities of Oregon's Bracero workers during the early 1940s - their cultivation and harvesting work in the fields and orchards as well as the farm labor camps in which they lived. The Colegio César Chávez was established in 1973 as a four year Chicano Serving Institution in Mount Angel, Oregon. The Colegio collection consists of correspondence, publications, and photographs from the Arthur and Karen Olivo and Andrew Parodi Family and depicts their time living on the college campus grounds. The Gonzales-Berry papers documents the research and publishing of Gonzales-Berry in the fields of Latino literature, culture, and immigration from Mexico to the United States; she authored the book Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives.
I am currently working on a project in collaboration with the university’s Juntos program to collect oral history interviews with central Oregon’s Latino/a community and have plans to expand the project. The interviewees share their childhood memories, immigration stories, challenges adapting to Oregon, information about a variety of traditions, and their perspectives on a number of topics.
The members of Oregon’s Latino/a community have a rich and diverse history. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to gather and share their stories to showcase how they have impacted and shaped Oregon’s identity. I am always looking for collaborative projects and potential joint endeavors to continue and expand the OMA’s work. If you have any ideas, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org!
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