Join us for “Reframing a Region: Communities of Color in the California Delta – Part 2”

DATE: Thursday July 2nd, 2020


This webinar will address popular narratives of the California Delta that present the region as a white space. Using an array of primary sources, a panel will contest this view, illustrating how communities of color were fundamental to the development of the Delta region. 

Register here.

Our panel includes:

Phillip Merlo, San Joaquin County Historian

Phillip Merlo is a professional historian and educator who serves as the Director of Education at the San Joaquin County Historical Society & Museum. A Stockton native with roots in the delta, Phillip has degrees in history and geography from UC Berkeley. Prior to his tenure at the museum, he served as a social studies teacher at Franklin High School. He has written on the history of the Delta and of Stockton for literary and academic journals, and has worked for local social justice organizations such as Little Manila Rising, the Stockton Cultural Heritage Board, and Restore The Delta as a researcher and educator. Previously, he has given lectures on structural racism in Stockton and San Joaquin County to the California Preservation Foundation, the Osher Life Long Learning Institute, working groups from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Michael Tubbs for Mayor Campaign, and over a dozen local nonprofit agencies. 

Tama Brisbane, Executive Director, With Our Words

Tama Brisbane is the City of Stockton’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. In her two terms of service, she has presented over 75 times, including the inauguration of Michael Tubbs, the city’s first Black Mayor. Her first project in 2015 was to help craft Stockton’s successful return to All- American City status with a groundbreaking, 10-minute spoken word presentation at the National Finals in Denver. At her historic 2017 appearance as Guest Poet at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Martin Luther King III told her, “Your words matter.” She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the nationally- recognized literary and performing arts nonprofit organization With Our Words; a 12-time youth poetry slam coach; and the San Joaquin County Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools, one of the largest writing residency programs in the nation. “Mama T” is also: a Susan B. Anthony Award Winner for Creative Arts, a University of the Pacific Woman of Distinction. a Black Women Organized for Political Action Honoree, a Stockton Arts Commission Comet Award Winner, a California Vision 2020 Ambassador, and a charter member of the Brave New Voices National Network. Her tireless work on behalf of Stockton/Central Valley voices, particularly young voices of color, has been recognized by both houses of the California Legislature as well as both houses of the United States Congress.

Malissa A. Tayaba, Director of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians

Val Adoba, Director, The Red Dragon Youth Theater

Elaine Barut, Senior Program Manager, Little Manila Rising

Elaine Galiza Barut is a public health advocate and a youth leader of St. George’s Youth Group. She is a 2nd generation Filipino American who was born and raised in Stockton, California. A graduate of Weston Ranch High School, Elaine went on to attend San Joaquin Delta College and later transferred to Sacramento State where she earned her B.S. in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health Education. Since then, Elaine has moved back to Stockton where she strives to give back to the community that raised her.

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