Date: May 30, 2014
A diverse group of ten immigrants – including Mexican Indigenous, Salvadorian, Hmong, Cambodian, Punjab and African American – have been awarded places in the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program. These ten individuals share similar yet unique stories of discrimination and resilience, inspiring leadership skills, profound cultural knowledge and artistic talents, which lead to their nomination and acceptance into the second round of the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program (TCOFP).
Coordinated by the American Friends Service Committee Pan Valley Institute, with the generous contribution of the James Irvine Foundation, TCOFP is a program designed to address issues of cultural oppression and shaping new narratives about immigration by strengthen the cultural organizing skills of the Central Valley’s emerging leaders.
Interacting in a multicultural environment for 18 months, the ten Tamejavi Fellows take a collaborative learning journey as they organize and host cultural exchanges within, and beyond, their own communities.
“I can say that I have leadership qualities because I always want to empower everyone around me. I accepted the nomination for the fellowship because having worked with a former fellow I know that this program will give me tools to bring change we need in my community. Throughout various events I have participated I recognized that in the Oaxaqueño community the greatest changes could be achieved through culture and art. I definitely think that these two factors can bring people together and create a common ground to start moving forward ”. Brenda Ordaz, a Fellow from 2014 – 2015
The process begins as the fellows engage their communities and form learning groups to join their cultural organizing work. Together, each group conducts a community assessment and cultural inventory to gain insight into their community’s pressing concerns, and to gather their cultural and artistic assets. Each fellow will communicate their findings by designing a public project using these cultural and artistic assets. The projects will be presented to the public during the Tamejavi Culture and Art Series (TCAS) from March to September 2015.
This cohort of fellows, along with the members of their learning groups, exemplify the diversity that characterizes the Central Valley, the 10 Tamejavi fellows are:
Jamillah Finley, Fresno – An African American high school teacher who infuses the arts into her instruction to engage students and provide them with spaces to express their creativity and develop deeper connections to their communities.
Genoveva Galvez, Fresno – A Mexican student and former farmworker, fluent in three languages (Spanish, English and Mixteco), who has become the voice for many who cannot speak out on their own.
Reginald Chima Maduako, Fresno – An African American from Nigeria, a registered nurse by profession, and an accomplished singer, musician, and community leader among the Igbo community.
Brenda Ordaz Ortiz, Madera – A young Zapoteco activist, student and community organizer working to bring together indigenous youth and women across the Central Valley to express their cultural talents and address community issues.
Walter Ramirez, Fresno – A Salvadorian community organizer with Barrios Unidos, and an advocate for immigrant and indigenous rights, who has collaborated with local artists for mural painting and youth-oriented music events.
Ubaldo Santos Ávila, Visalia – A Mexican student at College of the Sequoias and a dedicated volunteer with organizations working to improve the living and working conditions of farmworkers and youth.
Dolly Solomon, Atwater – A Punjabi educator and student with the ability to employ cultural protocols when bringing community members together, particularly women and others who have few opportunities to organize.
Sokhomaly Suon, Fresno – A Cambodian refugee who works with the Fresno Holistic Center and helped form the Khmer Cultural Preservation organization to transmit cultural knowledge to younger generations and bridge the communication gap between elders and youth.
Gao Vang, Fresno – A Hmong American student who is working on ethnographic research on traditional Hmong clothing to be presented during the 40th anniversary of Hmong refugees’ arrival in the US (December 2014).
See Xiong, Fresno – A Hmong American freelance communicator capturing stories of Hmong born in refugee camps and building a platform for Hmong youth to express their own narratives as they relate to their cultural heritage and to the society in which they were raised.
Date: January 28, 2014
PVI announces a call for nominations for the Tamejavi Cultural ...
Date: June 18, 2013
The Tamejavi Culture and Art Series concluded with the Grand ...
Date: May 11, 2013
The public is invited to Fresno’s Tower Theatre on Saturday, ...
The meaning behind the word Tamejavi
TAj laj Tshav Puam... (Hmong)
The long-awaited release of the "From Our Roots" program is now available!
Support this program today.
The Pan Valley Institute (PVI) needs the participation of individuals willing to donate their time...
The Pan Valley Institute is located on West Shaw Avenue, near the northwest corner of Shaw and Fruit.