East African Immigrants Invite You to "Celebrate: Part I"

East Africans are proud entrepreneurs and shareholders of the Silicon Valley taxi industry (photo by D. Michael Cheers).

“Celebrate: Part I,” comprised of 60 photographs by photojournalist D. Michael Cheers and nine display cases of cultural memorabilia donated by East African immigrant and refugee families, opened March 10 in the Cultural Heritage Center on the fifth floor of King Library.

East African Immigrants Invite You to "Celebrate: Part I"

Proud, competent woman entrepreneur at Michael’s Styling Salon in Santa Clara (photo by D. Michael Cheers).

Part I features photographs of East Africans as they engage in their families, work, communities and faith. Part II, slated to open in August, will include films, digitized stories, photographs and more memorabilia.

The exhibits are the work of the Silicon Valley East African Diaspora Project, which is seeking to profile the newest East African immigrant groups to Silicon Valley: Eritrean, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Somali, South Sudanese and Sudanese immigrant families.

Unlike earlier African diaspora groups, there is little documentation of their immigrant stories, challenges and contributions to our democracy or our region.

The multimedia pieces are designed to bring more visibility to Silicon Valley’s diverse black groups, identify and address social justice issues they face, support local self-help groups in their efforts to navigate the complexity of our society, and educate Californians of the widening diversity of blacks in our communities.

The project team includes Chair of African American Studies Ruth P. Wilson and Cheers, an associate professor of journalism and mass communications. The effort is funded by grants from Cal Humanities and the College of Social Sciences.  “Celebrate: Part I” continues through March 30.


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