Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Supports 21 New Humanities for All Quick Grant Projects for Winter 2024

No-No-Boy in Merced's Dr. Julian Saporiti with his wife and collaborator Emilia Halvorsen Saporiti. Photo credit: Loma Smith.

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact:  Kerri Young, Communications Manager, 

January 30, 2024—(Oakland, CA)—California Humanities is proud to announce that 21 new public humanities grantees will receive $99,615 in funding through the Humanities for All Quick Grant program. Their projects and public programming, from multimedia events and poetry workshops to wartime property records transcription and an educational conference, will provide rich humanities-centered learning experiences for Californians up and down the state.      

Many of the awarded projects will explore California’s diverse communities through a variety of mediums, such as the Mong Heritage Educational Conference in Fresno that will explore Mong history, genealogy, and cultural practices. Another awarded project, The Return of Lendada Nur (Ancient, Unknowing Salmon), will create a graphic novel depicting the history of the development of the McCloud River in Shasta County, and how the damming of the river led to the dispossession and rupturing of the cultural lifeways of the Winnemem Wintu people. The project is timely as the Tribe embarks on groundbreaking endeavors to return salmon to their river. 

Other projects will use the public humanities to explore global issues through a California lens, such as Bulosan: On American Democracy. This project, a collaboration between composer Andres Luz and Friends of Echo Park Library in Los Angeles, will invite audiences to consider author Carlos Bulosan’s advocacy of American democracy and human rights, relative to his experiences as part of a persecuted minority living on the US West Coast during the 1930s–1950s. The lineup of lectures, Q&A discussion, and concert video of a new music composition created in honor of Bulosan will illuminate sociopolitical issues to students and general audiences. Another project, Poetry on Land: Reflecting and responding to the natural and working lands of the Bear and Yuba River watersheds, will consider the future of open space and conserved lands through a creative exploration of the Bear and Yuba watersheds of Nevada and Yuba counties. 

“California Humanities is excited to welcome our newest round of Quick Grant awards,” said the organization’s new President & CEO Rick Noguchi. “By engaging youth voices and employing an array of artistic media and cultural practices, these projects are helping audiences explore unique California histories and cultures, while also centering equity, education, and advocacy about important community issues.”  

The Humanities for All Quick Grant program is a competitive application that provides up to $5,000 to support small-scale locally initiated public humanities projects. See the complete description of awarded projects below.  

Projects Awarded Winter 2024 

In addition to continuing consideration of all eligible project applications on any topic, using any mode or format, and reaching any public audience, California Humanities designated three specific funding focus areas for Humanities for All Quick Grants: Youth Voices (denoted by “*”), Arts & Humanities (denoted by “+”). 

St. Clair Bourne 4th Tuesdays 
Fulcrum Arts, Pasadena / BADWest LLC 
Project Director: Tiffany Judkins 

The St. Clair Bourne 4th Tuesdays series is a free community event and discussion series, named in honor of St. Clair Bourne, the founder of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West (BADWest). The “4th Tuesdays” series serves BADWest’s mission of advocating and exhibiting quality films that are made by Black filmmakers or having themes addressing issues pertinent to the African Diaspora. The discussions will be led by an African American cinema expert/cultural bearer. The series will begin in the heart of the diverse community of Leimert Park on January 1, 2024–December 31, 2024, at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. 

An Exploration of Identity and Dislocation through Fictional and Nonfictional Narratives 
Community Partners, Los Angeles / NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change 
Project Director: Aziza Hasan  

NewGround will present a three-part series that explores the power of fiction and narrative as effective tools to examine identity, dislocation, and conflict. These virtual and hybrid events will delve into the novel The Lemon Tree, exploring the legacy of expulsion and relocation for both Israelis and Palestinians; Balcony on the Moon, a memoir of growing up in Palestine by an advocate for peace and creative problem solving; and The Pillar of Salt, a classic novel of coming of age as a Jew in French Tunisia. All events include moderated breakout rooms to engage with the transformational power of storytelling. Programming will begin in February 2024. 

History and Housing: Creation and Dismantling of a Black Neighborhood in Redding, CA 
Open Collective Foundation, Covina / Civic Hacker Network 
Project Director: Lori McNeill 

This project will create an ArcGIS StoryMap that guides a reader through information about the creation and dismantling of a Black neighborhood in Redding, California. This project will engage the public by making a complete narrative of this important local history accessible for the first time. Additionally, programming will include workshops to teach student and community collaborators a digital humanities approach to understanding displacement and housing inequity. The project will be introduced in February 2024, as part of an exhibit with the Shasta Historical Society, followed by monthly convenings in March through October 2024. 

La Lucha Continua: The Light and Legacy of the Save Our Centro Coalition + 
Community Partners, Los Angeles / Media Arts Santa Ana (MASA) 
Project Director: Victor Payan 

This project will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Save Our Centro Coalition’s (SOCC) historic boycott of San Diego’s Centro Cultural de la Raza (1999-2007), a communitywide response to a hostile board takeover that included the disenfranchisement of artists, censorship and the destruction of artworks. This project will create virtual and in-person public discussions about the SOCC movement and vision, digitize archival material, and conduct video interviews demonstrating SOCC members’ transformative impact in California and beyond. Programming will begin summer of 2024. 

Rewriting History: A Youth Volunteer Project to Restore Japanese American Farming History and Family Connections * 
Orange Coast Optimist Club of Garden Grove, Santa Ana 
Project Director: Amanda Kim 

The Kansha History project will engage over twenty California youth volunteers in the transcription of the War Relocation Authority (WRA) farm transfer records of Japanese Americans who lost their homes and farms during World War II. Because most of those farmers were tenants, they never returned to their farms, and as a result their family and community histories were lost. Youth will document locations, acreage, housing, crops, and names–thereby, reconnecting families to their rich and complex histories. The data will be published in a searchable database on Community forums will be held with surviving families in San Benito and Contra Costa Counties. Programming will run winter through summer 2024. 

Unleashing Our Voices/Liberando Nuestras Voces * 
Chicana Foundation of Northern California, Burlingame 
Project Director: Vianney Gavilanes 

Unleashing our Voices/Liberando Nuestras Voces is a series of creative writing workshops for Latinx girls in grades 6-8. The workshops invite girls to use writing and art as tools for self-reflection, expression, and exploration of social justice through an intentional curation of mentor texts written by BIPOC writers and pláticas with local women of color artists. Recognizing the connections between identity, language, and culture, this series seeks to foster fierce writing through a culturally and linguistically sustaining curriculum that affirms the girls’ creative dreams, cultural wealth, and linguistic repertoire. The series will occur at the San Leandro Public Library starting September 3, 2024.  

No-No Boy in Merced: A performance, Talk-Back Session, and Ethnomusicology Workshop + 
Merced County Arts Council Inc, Merced 
Project Director: Jason Burge  

The Merced County Arts Council will host ethnomusicologist and recording artist Dr. Julian Saporiti, for a No-No Boy multimedia event that combines original songs, storytelling, and archival images to provide the audience with an immersive experience that explores difficult histories of immigration, refugees, race, empire, and incarceration, across the Asian Diaspora, deftly blending scholarship and art and offering a model for public-facing academic work—with a Talkback session and single day workshop in April 2024. 

Latinx Youth and Poetry in Imperial County 
San Diego State University Research Foundation, San Diego 
Project Director: Donna Castañeda 

This project, entitled Latinx Youth and Poetry in Imperial County, proposes a poetry workshop experience for Latinx high school age youth living at the US-Mexico border in Imperial County. It will include a series of six poetry workshops; a public reading of poetry produced at the end of the project; and an exhibit of the written poems to be held in the El Centro library across a one month period. Project activities will take place between January through May 2024. 

Respecting Our Roots * 
Julian Pathways Inc, Julian 
Project Director: Crystal DeSoto-Schmidt 

Respecting Our Roots is a one-day event focused on strengthening cultural understanding and respect. The event will be formatted as two sessions: one centered around youth and a general community session. Participants will engage in conversations that address bullying, cultural diversity, and the importance of maintaining strong cultural ties. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on personal experiences with bias, understand the power of words, and build connections with others. This event will take place at the Santa Ysabel Nature Center, which is situated on the ancestral lands of the Iipay/Kumeyaay people, in March of 2024. 

Bulosan: On American Democracy + 
Friends of Echo Park Library, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Andres Luz 

This project invites audiences to consider Carlos Bulosan’s advocacy of American democracy and human rights, relative to his experiences as part of a persecuted minority living on the US West Coast during the 1930s–50s. For this project, a new musical composition by composer Andres Luz called “Bulosan: On American Democracy,” was composed, featuring excerpts from Bulosan’s novel America is in the Heart and the essay “Freedom from Want.” The lineup of lectures, Q&A discussion, and playback of the concert video will illuminate sociopolitical issues to students and general audiences in two online presentations in January 2024 directed at California learning institutions. 

Muses & Melanin 
Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco 
Project Director: Lyzette Wanzer 

Muses & Melanin is a five-month project, spanning July to November 2024. It will present a supportive cohort-based model that takes talented African American and Afro-Latina women without advanced degrees through a curriculum that introduces them to writing a formal article or paper worthy of presentation at a humanities, cultural, or literary conference, and/or for publication as an Op-Ed or journal piece. The program components will include a 10-week reading and writing workshop, nine hours of coworking, accountability, and manuscript submission sessions, a San Francisco graduation ceremony featuring the participants’ readings, and a ceremonious launch into the milieu of humanities presentations and publishing. 

The Chinese American Museum of Northern California Photography Exhibit + 
Chinese American Museum of Northern California, Marysville 
Project Director: Brian Tom 

This project will invite ten Northern California-based Chinese American museums, historical societies, and individuals from across Northern California’s Chinatowns to create a new exhibit and lecture series presented at the Chinese American Museum of Northern California. Participants are invited to submit photos and text describing the current state of their local Chinatown. Programming will coincide with Marysville’s Bokkai Festival 2024. Marysville’s Bokkai Temple is the only active Chinese Temple remaining from the Gold Rush era. Programming will run between January through March 2024.  

Mong Heritage Educational Conference 
Mong Heritage, Fresno 
Project Director: Taichiming Cha 

Who are the Mong people and where did they come from? Mong Heritage, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Fresno will hold an all-day educational conference at California State University at Fresno on February 17, 2024. This conference will present Mong history and culture from the perspective of written history (ancient writings and literatures); genealogy and DNA analysis; and oral history through cultural practices and customs, and opportunities for dialogue and discussion.  

Poetry on the Land: Reflecting and responding to the natural and working lands of the Bear and Yuba River watersheds * 
Bear Yuba Land Trust, Grass Valley 
Project Director: Annette Muller  

Bear Yuba Land Trust will launch Poetry on the Land, a program to engage communities in creative reflection and response to the unique natural and working lands of the Bear and Yuba watersheds of Nevada and Yuba Counties. Through poet commissions, poem installations on trails, and outdoor poet-led writing workshops for adults and youth, participants and audiences will connect to ideas and one another in order to better understand our shared heritage and the array of cultures and communities who have made a mark on the land over history, while considering the future of open space and conserved lands. Programming will be implemented from spring through summer of 2024.  

Malaquias Montoya: Images of Our Time + 
EastSide Arts Alliance & Cultural Center, Oakland 
Project Director: Roberto Martinez  

Images of Our Time is a place-based exhibition that explores the legacy of Malaquias Montoya as an activist artist and traces the artistic contributions he made to Oakland’s Chicanx community. Using innovative interpretive techniques and digital technologies, Images of Our Time will take a selection of Montoya’s iconic prints that helped define Oakland’s Chicano movement and present them in public space across Oakland’s urban landscape. Images of Our Time will run through the spring and summer of 2024, activating over 12 locations of historic and cultural importance. The exhibition will be complemented by a series of public programs, a catalog, public tours, and satellite exhibitions. 

得運廠 House of Yùn: Stories from Chinatowns + 
Visual Communications, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Evelyn Hang Yin 

得運廠 House of Yùn: Stories from Chinatowns will host a film screening, two photo book workshops, and a community night of Mahjong and Karaoke at the Union Center for the Arts in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, in support of a two-person exhibition at LA Artcore. The public programs will combine archives, cultural traditions, and visual art to illuminate the untold stories within the Chinese diaspora, craft new narratives, and forge connections with local immigrant and AAPI communities through hands-on and festive activities. The program will run from January through March 2024.  

The Return of Lendada Nur (Ancient, Unknowing Salmon), a Graphic Novel: Undamming Northern California Water History through a Winnemem Wintu Lens + 
The Regents of the University of California, Davis, Davis 
Project Director: Marc Dadigan  

The Return of Lendada Nur is a public history project that will involve the creation of a graphic novel adaptation depicting the history of development of the McCloud River in Northern California. The project’s objective is to more widely share how the damming of the McCloud, related to the dispossession of Winnemem Wintu land and ruptures of cultural lifeways through the destruction of the salmon. The project is timely as the Tribe embarks on groundbreaking endeavors to return salmon to their river. Programming will be implemented in June 2024. 

The REDress Project + 
American Association of University Women, Thousand Oaks Branch, Thousand Oaks 
Project Director: Rossanna Guerra 

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Thousand Oaks is dedicated to advancing gender equity through advocacy, education and research. The REDress Project, organized by AAUW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group, in partnership with a variety of Native Advisors, aims to provide crucial education and advocacy in three vital areas: addressing the nationwide issue of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), raising awareness surrounding domestic violence within Indigenous communities, and education about societal factors which increase the tragedy of MMIW. These goals will be achieved through the presentation of a public library event featuring indigenous author, Mona Gable and her book, Searching for Savanna, a panel discussion of experts focused on the social and legal aspects of MMIW, and an art installation of Red Dresses inspired by Jamie Black’s work. Programming will run February through December of 2024.  

Centro de La Raza Exhibition Interactive First Fridays * 
Historical Society of Long Beach, Long Beach 
Project Director: Julie Bartolotto 

Photographer John A. Taboada’s collection documenting part of Long Beach Chicano/Latino community histories will be displayed in the Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) gallery February-May 2024. The John A. Taboada Steering Committee and HSLB will mount an exhibition of 45 prints of the East Long Beach Neighborhood Center also known as Centro de La Raza. The exhibition focuses on the years between 1970 and 1985. Support is being requested to bring Centro elders to First Friday events in March, April, and May to engage local high school and college students. 

Resistance and Persistence: Commemorating the 1824 Chumash Revolt + 
Oakbrook Park Chumash Indian Corporation, Thousand Oaks 
Project Director: Barbara Tejada 

The Resistance and Persistence program recognizes the 200th anniversary of the 1824 Chumash Revolt against several of the Spanish missions established in Chumash lands. Through a series of panel discussions, book talks and speaker presentations, the program will be delivered through a variety of formats and perspectives to provide members of the public and the Chumash community with a thoughtful examination of what the 1824 Revolt signified to the missionaries, and its subjugation of native peoples and descendants. A series of four programs will commence in February of 2024.   

The Hispanic Student Veterans Initiative + 
California State University Fresno Foundation, Fresno 
Project Director: William Arce 

The Hispanic Student Veterans Initiative is a three-part speaker series designed to highlight the contributions of service men and women in the U.S. armed services. The purpose of the initiative is to provide student veterans at the California State University, Fresno Foundation (Fresno State) and the surrounding community an opportunity to connect with the history, literature and art associated with military service in the US Hispanic community. The series also interrogates anti-immigrant rhetoric overlooking the long history of military service by Hispanic immigrants and descendants of those immigrants. The three-part series will take place during Hispanic Heritage Month 2024.  

California Humanities, a statewide nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation, and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit, or like and follow on Instagram, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  

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man and woman wearing light blue longsleeve shirts hold acoustic and electric guitars in an open field, with puffy clouds in the distance.
No-No Boy in Merced’s Dr. Julian Saporiti with his wife and collaborator Emilia Halvorsen Saporiti. Photo credit: Loma Smith.

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