WPC Walls 2: National Steinbeck Center Walls from Exhibit “Filipino Voices”

My second entry for the WordPress Photo Challenge theme…WALL (first entry, here).

Ever since I posted photos of John Steinbeck’s hometown for the WordPress Photo Challenge topic “Reward”, it seems he has been ever-present on my mind.

Steinbeck Exhibit Wall 4

I remember now that I never posted photos on my blog from an exhibit at the Steinbeck Center, focused on the communities that defined the Salinas Valley, including my own — the Filipino Community.

Steinbeck Exhibit Entrance

Although I did not grow up in this area (I grew up in the Philippines), I enjoyed participating in the process, and making new friends — all while learning about the deep roots of Filipinos in the Salinas Valley.

Steinbeck Exhibit Wall 2

I also learned so much more about the history of Filipino immigrants to the U.S., and Filipino-American farm workers’ brave fight for rights along with Cesar Chavez and the UFW.  (Also see Delano Grape Strike article here, or about the film by Marissa Aroy – Delano Manongs Facebook page.  Note: this film was shown at the 2015 Seattle Asian American Film Festival – Social Justice Shorts)

Maybe it was too busy then, or that I was not too crazy about the photos I took (I’ve learned so much more about photography since then, and got rid of the awful pocket camera I had).

But thanks to these WordPress Photo challenge prompts, and for my family history…I now add these photos to my blog of the walls, at the Filipino Voices Exhibit at the National Steinbeck Center.

The exhibit occurred during the spring / summer of 2012.

Steinbeck Exhibit Wall 8

To see entries for this weekly photo challenge, click here, and to participate, consider…

…walls you’ve erected and decorated, the halls you walk down each day, or the exteriors you’ve ignored or neglected. What do these walls reveal about a place, people, or you?

12 thoughts on “WPC Walls 2: National Steinbeck Center Walls from Exhibit “Filipino Voices”

  1. This looks like a great place to visit. I’ve always liked John Steinbeck’s novels. As luck would have it, this week I’ve been listening to 1930s folksinger Woody Guthrie, who was sort of the musical Steinbeck. Guthrie told the stories of the migrant workers in California and elsewhere during the Depression. More than that, he took their side in the battle for justice. If he had lived in the 1960s-70s, I’m sure he would have worked side-by-side with Cesar Chavez.

  2. Tom, thank you so much for the comment, and your thoughtful addition of the Woody Guthrie song to this blog post.

    I don’t know every much about his music, only that he wrote songs with social activism in mind. So yes, I think you are right, he would have been right there with Cesar Chavez bringing light to heir plight, through his songs.

    I hope you are able to visit this area — there is a lot to do, a lot of beauty, and like most places we live, still many places waiting to be discovered (by me, a transplant!) or like in the case of Woody Guthrie, to be rediscovered.

  3. I remember the Delano grape strike. I was living in Ohio then and had a roommate (or house mate, I guess) who was quite involved, had been out there (I think) and was active in Ohio in a boycott of the grapes. Others in our house didn’t care that much for boycotting grapes. I was somewhere in the middle, but I wish now, I’d been more of an advocate for the strikers. I didn’t then realize the need, always, to fight the oppression of the working people.

    • Thank you for the comment — I appreciate seeing this for this blog post, too!

      In the mid 1980s, when we came back to California from Germany, my younger sister — who was attending college in San Francisco — also told us (her family) to boycott grapes.

      This particular Cesar Chavez boycott was to protest pesticide use by grape growers , and the dangers of pesticides to farm workers and the public.

      I had been away from the US and in the military for a few years and did not really understand all the meaning of it then, either. Sometimes it takes a space of time to grasp the importance of these actions, and so now, as a grandmother, I advocate for issues that matter to me because I realize that the small things we do CAN and DO make a difference.

      I’ve shared this quote on my blog and as an overall theme for participating in JustAnotherNatureEnthusiast.org ‘s Earth Friendly Challenges, because it conveys how I feel now:

      “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

      — quote from Marian Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund

  4. Jean, it brought back so many fond memories for me, too — and looking back, and looking at the photos — it was a really awesome exhibit! I wish I had taken more and better photos, but you know, sometimes when you are deep into something, you don’t think so much about documenting it. You are always terrific at this, and now I see you documented the recent Founders Day activities on the ACE blog.

    I may be in Monterey during the fashion show, but if not, I’ll be there!

    Sounds like fun…with “fashion show participants from the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian communities” and especially that “ACE will also present a pop-up museum, Salinas Chinatown In Style! featuring photographs, clothing, and accessories worn by family members in and around Chinatown from the 1920s through the 1970s”. Very cool ideas for ACE, Jean 🙂

    To clarify, is it April 17 or March 17?

    • Thank you for the visit and comment, Jay. I really did not do it justice…I believe the National Steinbeck Center gave the Filipino Community a 10,000 square foot exhibit space, and had I been a better photographer, I would have given you a better sense of the exhibit areas. Before the Filipino Voices exhibit, there was an exhibit highlighting the Japanese Community / Experience and the Chinese Community / Experience and their history in Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay.

  5. A wonderful post Jane! I am also Filipina (but really very American). I was born in Salinas and was a child during the Delano Grape Strike but moved away from the area (to NJ) when I was 12. I vaguely remember my parents talking about Cesar Chavez at the time but did not really know what was happening. Thank you for sharing this important part of history about the Filipino-American farm workers living in the Salinas valley at the time. Very interesting!
    I am about to become a Lola next month and then again in July of this year! My husband (who is not Filipino) will be called “Grandpa”. 🙂
    ~ Mar

    • I’m so happy you stopped by, Mar — wow, that is quite a move from Salinas to NJ! It was interesting to learn so much through this project, and it is important for the next generation of Filipino-Americans to know of our history.

      You will have so much fun being a Lola! And one right after the other 🙂 — we are “Lola” and “Opa”. When your grandchildren get bigger, and since they will call you Lola, people will begin to think your name is “Lola” 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Wall | My Atheist Blog

  7. Pingback: Immigrant Terms and New Americans: Are you first, second or “1.5” generation? | Lola Jane's World

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.