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Watsonville is in the Heart: Digital Archive Launch & Community Talk Story

April 9, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 10:00 pm

You are warmly invited to celebrate the launch of the Watsonville is in the Heart Digital Archive. The new archive features oral history recordings, original documents, and family artifacts that capture the rich history of Filipino life and labor in California’s Pajaro Valley.  This event is FREE and open to the public, refreshments will be provided.

Come to learn more about the UCSC Watsonville is in the Heart research initiative and its partnership with The Tobera Project, and share in conversation with Watsonville community members working to uplift stories of the manong generation, the first wave of Filipino workers to arrive in the United States at the start of the twentieth century.

The digital archive launch will include a presentation of the digital archive website and a Talk Story panel, “Women of the Pajaro Valley.”  The panel will highlight three community members at the forefront of this memory-preservation work: Juanita Sulay Wilson, Eva Alminiana Monroe, and Antoinette DeOcampo Lechtenberg.

The evening will include pop-up exhibitions curated by THI Undergraduate Fellows, Markus Faye Portacio and Katrina Pagaduan. Guests will be able to explore the digital archive using interactive stations and meet with members of Watsonville is in the Heart and The Tobera Project.

This event is sponsored by the University Library, California Humanities, The Humanities Institute, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

This event is made possible with generous support from: California Humanities; the University of California Santa Cruz, University Library, The Humanities Institute, the Social Sciences Division, and UCSC AAPI Faculty and Staff Group; the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History; and the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. 
The event will be held in-person. We kindly ask that all attendees show proof of vaccination, wear a mask, and fill out a symptom questionnaire on the day of the event.

Eva Alminiana Monroe

Eva Alminiana Monroe is the daughter of Filipino immigrants who first arrived in California at the start of the twentieth century. Her father, Amando Ocampo Alminiana, settled in Watsonville in the early 1930s and operated Universal Barbershop, one of the few Filipino-owned businesses in the agricultural town. After serving in the US Army during World War II, Amando met and married Eva’s mother in Manila. Over the last two years, Eva has participated in numerous oral history interviews and has shared family artifacts with the WIITH team.

Antoinette DeOcampo Lechtenberg

Antoinette DeOcampo Lechtenberg is the child of manong Paul “Skippy” Tabalan DeOcampo and Texas-native Gloria Molina DeOcampo. Her father migrated on a stow-away ship from Ilocos Sur in the Philippines in 1928. Along with two other siblings, Antoinette grew up in the agricultural town of Aromas, seven miles from Watsonville. She practices as an herbalist with a deep connection to the soil, agricultural history, and manong narratives.  

Juanita Sulay Wilson

Juanita Sulay Wilson is the daughter of Mamerto Agustin “Max” Sulay and Virginia Alice Viner. Her father was a migrant foreman who followed the agricultural seasons in the Pajaro and Salinas valleys as well as in San Luis Obispo, Imperial, Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Barbara counties. The eldest of six children, Juanita spent the first two years of her life in a labor camp on Rowe Ranch in Pajaro before moving with her family to the northern town limit of Watsonville. For over forty years, she was a classroom aide for San Francisco Unified School District.