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About the Somos Latinas Project Oral Histories Online Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About the Somos Latinas Project Oral Histories Online Collection

Voices of Wisconsin Latina activists engaged in their communities

About the Somos Latinas Project Oral Histories Online Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society
Celebrate Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists

Somos Latinas shares the powerful narratives of 25 activists from outspoken demonstrators to collaborative community-builders to determined individuals working for change behind the scenes.

The Somos Latinas (We Women) History Project (2012-2016) was created to document the many significant and largely hidden contributions of Latinas in Wisconsin engaged in their communities to positively impact society in K-12 and post-secondary education, civil rights, women's rights, domestic abuse services, immigration reform, political representation, peace and justice, and other areas.

How to Use this Online Collection

Interviews are presented in a viewer specifically designed for oral histories.  First, locate the interview you are interested in and click the interview link at the top of the record.  A new window will open to the interview. Second, play the interview and/or search the transcript for specific words, click the term in the search result,and click the time point to jump to that point in the interview. 

Explore the Collection

 

Additional Resources

About the Somos Latinas Project

In 2012, Andrea-Teresa "Tess" Arenas, Ph.D., Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program (CLS), UW-Madison faculty, developed a course to engage her community-based learning students in the  in an effort to document Latinas in Wisconsin. Most of the historical literature on the Latin@ community has focused on the southwestern United States and has been heavily male-centric, which left a gap for the remainder of the country and for Latinas in particular. The Somos Latinas (We Are Latinas) History Project was created to document the many significant and largely hidden contributions of Latinas in Wisconsin engaged in their communities to positively impact society in K12 education, post-secondary education, civil rights, women’s rights, domestic abuse services, immigration reform, political representation, peace and justice, and other areas. Tess made the decision to focus on older Latinas, some already in their eighties, to ensure that their stories were not lost. In some areas of the state there were no older Latinas identified and a handful of younger Latinas who met the project’s community engagement criteria were also included. The project was shaped and overseen by a volunteer advisory committee that included Eloísa Gómez, co-author of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book based on the project.

Phase I of the project ran from 2012 to 2016 and involved teams of Tess’s community-based learning students who researched a designated Somos woman, developed a question set, conducted and recorded an interview on video, edited the interview footage, and produced a finished one-hour video featuring one of the women. This was such as positive experience that some students enrolled in multiple CLS courses so they could interview more women for the project. All Somos interview subjects were asked about archival materials documenting their lives and careers and those that were donated became part of a Somos Latinas collection in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Archives. Upon completion of Phase I it became clear that more work needed to be done, both to delve more deeply into the stories of the Somos women and to explore other ways to make the stories more widely available, which led to Phase II of the project. In Phase II a second round of interviews was conducted with a selection of 25 of the original project participants. These interviews, which were conducted on audio, were based on a Human Subjects Protection-approved common question set asked of each re-interviewed Somos woman. Edited transcripts of both the video and audio interviews were then used by Tess Arenas and Eloísa Gómez as the basis for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book Somos Latinas. Wisconsin Historical Society archives staff, using the original video and audio interviews and transcriptions, created this online presentation of the Somos Latinas History Project.