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photo credit: Courtesy of the city of Santa Rosa

A member of a lowrider club at the United Nations. An indigenous Marine veteran. An Obama administration official leaving to become president  of Santa Rosa Junior College. These are all stories told through a city-sponsored project in Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa’s Multicultural Roots Project aims to highlight the singular lives of Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have had an impact on Sonoma County. 

The project releases five profiles each month and works with local historians and community partners to conduct interviews. A small group of volunteers with AmeriCorps’ VISTA program are responsible for much of the research and writing of the profiles.  

The city of Santa Rosa has a Community Engagement department of which the Multicultural Roots Project is a part. Santa Rosa Community Engagement Director Magali Telles said the first year of the project has been a huge success.

“Feedback we've heard thus far has been that this is our readership's favorite part of the City Connections newsletter,” Telles said. “The community is excited to see Black, Indigenous, people of color being highlighted and uplifted. The public loves learning about Santa Rosa and Sonoma county's history that they've never heard before.” 

Telles said that’s a history of community leaders, policy developers and decision makers. With 73 stories and counting, the Multicultural Roots Project has profiled individuals ranging from survivors of World War Two Japanese-American internment camps to current youth activists to farmworkers. Now going into its second year, Telles said she’s hopeful for its growth.

“So our team is also working on other ways to expand this program by including video interviews, radio interviews, and possibly in-person displays,” Telles said.

Those interested in learning more or contributing a profile themselves or recommending someone in the BIPOC community, find more info on the Santa Rosa Multicultural Roots Project website.

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