John Arroyo and the Casa y Comunidad team will create a series of short documentary films on the history and housing of migrant Latinx workers in Oregon—a rapidly growing population in the Pacific Northwest—in close collaboration with the workers themselves. Drawing on testimonios (oral histories) of multiple generations of families as well as the work of historians, policymakers, and other experts, the project will trace how new waves of both documented and undocumented migration has affected the area’s culture and economy, including a growing housing shortage with dire consequences for the workers and the region. Specific segments of the series will highlight topics ranging from wildfire recovery to inter-generational housing to land use challenges.
Each episode will center on one family or individual, incorporating on-site filming to capture their personal housing history along with interviews with other experts to provide regional and historical context. The project website will add bilingual supplementary learning aids including photographs, historical documents, planning records, and news articles expanding on the themes addressed in the videos. Partners include state and local agencies, school districts, and ethnic-serving community-based organizations.
The judges were impressed by the deeply collaborative nature of the project; the robust plan to share the series with housing policymakers, thus injecting history into public discussions about the present; and the strength of the collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education, an enthusiastic partner that will introduce the series to 9-12th grade teachers as they begin to comply with a new state-wide ethnic studies requirement. Casa y Comunidad also coordinates with a new initiative Arroyo is leading at the University of Oregon: the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice, funded in 2021 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.