Equity Through Art Series

As part of our 2021-2022 Equity Through Art series in partnership with the County of San Mateo Chief Equity Officer, these library programs will highlight the complex relationship Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) have had living and trying to thrive in San Mateo County.

Looking back at the history of San Mateo County from the lens of communities of color facing the inequities today is not just important, but necessary to chart a path towards equity.

As we, in San Mateo County, reckon with the issue of racial equity, it’s critical to understand the history that got us to where we are today. This series takes you on a journey from today’s pain in Silicon Valley into the history of some of our people of color, to culminate in a vision for the future of BIPOC in San Mateo County. Communities will share their stories and experiences through the lens of art.

See past events here:

Seeing Silicon Valley  
With arresting photography and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible. Instead of young entrepreneurs striving for efficiency in minimalist corporate campuses, we see portraits of struggle—families displaced by an impossible real estate market, workers striving for a living wage, and communities harmed by environmental degradation. If the fate of Silicon Valley is the fate of America—as so many of its boosters claim—then this book gives us an unvarnished look into the future. 

Silent No More  
Cathy Quon’s art shares insight into Asian-American history. The piece WORKING ON THE RAILROAD focus on Chinese workers and the subsequent Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, while the pieces MR. KOREMATSU and INTERNMENT illuminate the effects of WWII Executive Order 9066. She also shares REMEMBER VINCENT CHIN that covers the 1980s event that fueled the Asian American movement, and more. 

Tanforan Assembly Center  
Did you know that when the Tanforan Racetrack was converted to the Tanforan Assembly Center in 1942 it was the second-largest temporary Wartime Civil Control Administration camp? View the post-movie discussion with Steve Okamoto, former internee, and Foster City Council Member. 

Through the Eyes of ALAS, opens a new window
There is a rich Latinx history, culture, and community along the coast of San Mateo County that is often missing from the story of who San Mateo County is. A community-based organization, Ayudando Latinos A Sonar, or ALAS, share the stories and history of the community.

A Conversation With Community Elders About the Nairobi Movement
San Mateo County has a vibrant history in East Palo Alto as a prominent hub for Black culture and activism in the Bay Area and nationally. It’s a history that many in the county are unaware of and yet holds local and national significance. Community elders who played leading roles during the Nairobi Movement shared personal stories about the Black Experience in East Palo Alto during the Nairobi era. 

Filipinx Kwentuhan
In the Filipinx diaspora, kwentuhan (storytelling) is a way of remembering and honoring ancestors, preserving histories, and reconnecting with kapwa. It has also provided a path to resisting invisibility. From the time the first Filipinos landed in California in 1587 to the time they began settling in San Mateo County in the 1920s, storytelling has always been part of the fabric of the community's lived experience. Moderated by Aileen Cassinetto, San Mateo County Poet Laureate, "Filipinx Kwentuhan" will feature unique stories of resilience, healing and bayanihan in the Filipinx community in San Mateo County.

Black Indigeneous Youth of Color: Experiences in San Mateo County and Aspirations for the Future

This webinar panel was organized by a subcommittee of the County Youth Commission.  

Stay tuned on future events still being finalized including: 

  • Pacific Islander Experience in San Mateo County

…and more.

If you missed our spring Equity Author Talk series, visit it here. You can also view our impactful Seeing Silicon Valley, opens a new window program hosted by our County’s very own Chief Equity Officer on our YouTube channel.

Looking for more content? Our staff has created book lists for all ages to learn about Racism and Social Justice.

Children’s Book Lists

Teen Book Lists

Adult Book Lists