Watsonville is in the Heart: Mapping a Recuperative History of Filipino Farmworkers

Catherine Ceniza Choy
Ethnic Studies
UC Berkeley

Kathleen Gutierrez
UC Santa Cruz

Our project aims to create a multimedia resource map of the 1930 Watsonville, California anti-Filipino race riots for the general public and curricular tools for high school classrooms to enrich our understanding of denizenship among the first generation of Filipino farmworkers who arrived to California shores as “US nationals” or colonial subjects. This project extends an ongoing collaborative archiving and exhibition initiative between UC Santa Cruz and Watsonville-based organization, The Tobera Project, to preserve and uplift the narratives of Filipino migrant farmworkers in California’s Pajaro Valley. Collaboratively spearheaded by faculty at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley, our new multimedia map traces the violence and refuge sought during the riots while featuring photographs, objects, and oral history interviews collected by our research team. The map, along with our project’s digital archive launched in 2022, will form the foundation for novel curricular tools that will be piloted across Pajaro Valley Unified School District as part of the district’s newly-mandated Ethnic Studies curriculum. Coinciding with the debut of a 2024 exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, our UCHRI-backed project will culminate with the launch of resources that will be available to community partners, students, high school educators, and researchers.