University of California at Irvine professor of History and interim Dean of the Humanities, Vick L. Ruiz (http://www.humanities.uci.edu/history/faculty/ruiz/) has been elected to the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institution. Among the Smithsonian’s many initiatives, Professor Ruiz seeks to promote the Bracero History Project, in consortium with George Mason University, the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas at El Paso, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University.
Indeed, during the spring of 2008 students, faculty, and staff at California State University Channel Islands will be conducting workshops and collecting oral histories to contribute to the Bracero History Project. A traveling exhibit is an aspect of the Bracero History Project to further document, exhibit, and share the multifaceted history the
Bracero Program. In April of 2008, CSUCI will incorporate the study of Bracero Program into its week-long celebration of the life of Cesar Chavez. (http://www.csuci.edu/news/releases/Events_Planned_to_Celebrate_Legacy_of_CÃ©sar_ChÃ¡vez.htm)
Currently, I am documenting the history of Cesar Chavez’s organizing as director of the Community Service Organization in Ventura County from 1958 to late 1959. During this time Cesar Chavez and the Chicana/o community of Ventura County fought the displacement of domestic workers by the agricultural industry’s ever increasing use of braceros. Indeed, this struggle and momentary victory inspired Cesar Chavez to resign from the CSO to create the United Farm Workers Union in Delano, California.