This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. As I enter into the summer working for the Oak Park Neighborhood Association I hope to accomplish many things. I hope to help the community build capacity to tell their own stories, I hope to make connections with people within the City of Sacramento, and I hope to produce something that is meaningful and helpful for the community I will be serving. But ideally, I’d like to produce the start of a digital humanities tool that lasts for many years. That can be used toward advocacy and as a tool to build community capacity.

The start of this is daunting. I am still working with OPNA to fully define the scope of the project. Much of this on my end is managing my own expectations. What can I reasonably due over the summer when I also have other obligations? I am hoping, at the very least, to conduct five substantial oral histories for OPNA that can be incorporated into a digital mapping project. The project will stretch over the course of the next year to incorporate more stories and to build a platform that the community can use after I leave the project.

This may seem ambitious (or not ambitious enough) but the oral histories will include detailed histories as well as research conducted with the community to better understand the history of Oak Park. I hope to better define the history of the area away from the traditional histories of Sacramento. Ideally, I’d like to focus on the history of gentrification, environmental justice, and social justice advocacy that is so rich in this neighborhood of Sacramento. Oak Park is where the Sacramento chapter of the Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers started where many environmental justice battles were waged, and where the neighborhood now is grappling with the impacts of development to their community. I want to focus on these stories as well as gain the perspectives of new residents who now call Oak Park home. Through this project, I hope that the community will be able to tell their own stories, using their own voices, to provide a richer and more substantial history of the Oak Park neighborhood.