The stories gathered here are about people who lived in the region we now recognize as Santa Cruz County. These Santa Cruzans are not wealthy or famous, yet their lives and stories are exceptional.
They are the workers who grow and process apples and strawberries in Watsonville. They are artists and athletes who honed their crafts in the unique environments of the Santa Cruz region. They are children who learned from their experiences of pain and injustice. They are Indigenous, immigrants, pioneers, and neighbors. Their stories touch on growing up, family life, education, work, service, environment, identity, entertainment, and art in the Santa Cruz region. They also show resilience in the face of injustice, discrimination, and hardship.
The stories connect us to each other. The stories highlight local history, yet they also speak to larger historical moments. Though the history of people in the region is much older, this exhibition listens and looks back as far as 1793, beginning with the Indigenous experience of the mission system in Santa Cruz. It moves through time to share the stories of surfers, teachers, and organizers who live in Santa Cruz today. The question that drives this exhibition is an invitation to continue to tell our stories, and it is a jumping-off point for curiosity. Everyone has a story to tell, and sharing and listening to stories are acts that strengthen community. We invite you to share your stories, and to continue learning about these folks and others.
This exhibition is sponsored in part by The Humanities Institute, UCSC.
It is curated by Morgan Gates, The Humanities Institute Summer Public Fellow 2020