Browse Exhibits (9 total)

Association of Black Social Workers, Greater Los Angeles The Dr. Shirley Better Special Collection

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The Dr. Shirley Better Special Collection documents the Association of Black Social Workers of Greater Los Angeles’ (ABSW-GLA) 50-year journey of service, policy change, and advocacy to uplift Black peoples. Dr. Shirley Better, Professor Emeritus of Cal State L.A. School of Social Work, remains one of the three living national founders of the NABSW and the local chapter. She preserved the documents generated by ABSW-GLA over the decades that are now archived in Special Collections at the Cal State LA University Library. This archive can be used as a valuable educational resource for students interested in researching community organizing and advocacy in the Black Community using historical primary documents. This exhibit also details the profession service and leadership areas of education, child welfare, community action, and clinical social work practices.

This virtual exhibit is presented by the Association of Black Social Workers of Greater Los Angeles and the University Library Special Collections and Archives.


Welcome LA Starts Here Resources Guide

The guide was developed as part of a collaborative partnership between La Plaza de Cultura Artes Les Navegantes Program and the Special Collections & Archives Department at California State University, Los Angeles. The Les Navegantes/Volunteer Program is centered on connecting the museums visitors with the Latina/o experience and the stories of Los Angeles from the past, present, and future. The guide provides specific resources related to the topics and themes presented in the LA Starts Here permeant exhibition at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The resources outlined in the guide are part of the Cal State LA University Library’s Collections. Through this collaborative partnership we not only aim to provide resources, but also provide research strategies and tools to help the navegantes with their research endeavors as part of the program. 

The Public Memory Project at Cal State Los Angeles Featuring Cal State LA Project Rebound & the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership

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Emerging from the collaborative work by Cal State Los Angeles Project Rebound & the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership in centering the stories of formerly incarcerated people in the spring 2021 virtual exhibition, Mervyn M. Dymally BridgeBuilder of Los Angeles, this public memory project seeks to amplify the voices of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women. This project serves as a foundation for an oral history collection that is focused solely on the lived experiences of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women through the collection of letters, art-work and ephemera.  

Otros Saberes: Digital Testimonios, Oral Histories, Micro Documentaries


The Digital Testimonios Micro-Documentary Project showcases student-created Micro-documentaries that blend personalized Testimonios and Oral history interviews to reveal the life experiences of underrepresented voices from the local community.Emerging from Dr. Lani Cupchoy's courses in Chicana(o) Latina(o) Studies and History, the project introduces non-film majors to the craft of documentary-digital storytelling through oral history and public history with attention to using everyday available technology to transform testimonios into a compelling and emotionally engaging format. Students engaged as active agents in culturally relevant and community responsive pedagogy that humanizes narratives within the legacy of Counter-Stories traditions. Micro-docs are five to ten (5-10) minutes long and encompass a wide range of topics including immigration, migrant life, intergenerational stories, first-generation students, race-ethnicity, labor-class issues, gender-sexuality, LGBTQIA+, identity politics, civil rights activism, social justice, etc. Recognizing the importance of community capacity building,local knowledge and community-generated information, these micro-docs demonstrate the passion and commitment students’ exhibit in constructing the visual culture of highly personal narratives relevant to their own life experiences.

Poster and Presentation Winners of the Annual Student Symposium on Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activities


This collection of posters represents an important collaboration between the University Library's Special Collections and Archives and the Office of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (ORSCA) to document the winners of the Annual Student Symposium and celebrate the intellectual activities of our students. These posters have not only been made available to the public here but will be preserved long-term in the archives.

Established in Ink: Asian American Tattoos from the Streets to the Studio

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Not all stories are written down or spoken. Some stories are inscribed on bodies. “Established in Ink” is a visual storyboard about one way Asian Americans tell stories about themselves, their culture, and their aesthetics: on their skins. Though tattooing is a practice dating back thousands of years in multiple cultures and for multiple reasons. This process of storytelling begins in the studios of ink shops between the artist and their clients. "Established in Ink" showcases tattoos as a popular expression of art and storytelling within Asian America through the lens of artist Richard Vasak. This digital exhibit also tells a little about his story: from the streets to the studio.  

Richard Vasak, a world-renown tattoo artist is not your conventional storyteller. Richard was born in Los Angeles from Cambodian immigrants fleeing the violence of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and the imperial wars in Vietnam and southeast Asia. As a young man growing up in Los Angeles, poverty and violence on the streets were struggles his family faced as one of a few Asian American families in the area. In his preteens, the Vasak family faced another daunting challenge. They had to rebuild after the Los Angeles Uprising in 1992. As the Los Angeles community protested over their frustrations with policing and racial violence with the culmination of the Rodney King trial, his father’s donut shop was one of the many buildings destroyed in the weeks of upheaval following the acquittal of police officers. Like many small Asian American business owners, his father did not have insurance for his shop. His family had to move into a small apartment in Alhambra to start all over again.

Like many in the larger community of Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees, poverty was a central feature of the family. This was especially so because families, with few resources, were struggling to establish themselves in a country that was both the cause of their migration and a source of their marginalized status. Their story, the Vasak family, is both illustrative and unique to the shifting Asian American demographics of the San Gabriel Valley. Families escaping the colonial wars in Southeast Asia were refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. Resettled in the United States, families arrived and built a network of mutual aid and community through their own ingenuity and resources. Here, they built a new life. 

Art From the Frontlines: Visual Expressions from Medical Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Art from the Frontlines: Visual Expressions from Medical Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic is an exhibit that features artwork created by healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as in-depth interviews with the artists. The discussions and artwork take a deeper look into the struggles and everyday battles that the healthcare industry faced at the height of the pandemic and continues to face as we work towards mass vaccinations. This exhibit places a human face on the “essential workers” who worked diligently to keep us all safe, honoring their contributions and celebrating the ways in which they coped during this trying time.  

This exhibit showcases artwork by: 

  • MK Czerwiec, RN, MA aka Comic Nurse of
  • Dr. Grace Farris MD, Chief of Hospital Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City 
  • Dr. Michael Natter, Endocrinology Fellow at NYU/Bellevue in New York City
  • Marina Peix Asensio, Pediatric Nurse from University Hospital of Cruces in Bilbao, Spain 
  • Prescription Cartoons, a Nurse Practitioner from New York
  • Dr. Ali Tayyeb PhD, RN, from the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Dr. Alex Thomas MD, Pediatric Allergist at the Center for Asthma and Allegries in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tolo Villalonga Mut, Pediatric Nurse Specialist from Mallorca, Spain 

The 20/20 Experience: Impact of COVID-19 on the Cal State LA Campus Community


The Cal State LA University Library Special Collections and Archives is excited to present The 20/20 Experience: Impact of COVID-19 on the Cal State LA Campus Community, a student-curated online exhibition featuring the Pandemic Diaries Project. The project aims to create an archive of digital diaries that capture the narratives and life experiences of our campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

This exhibit focuses on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Cal State LA student body. It showcases a timeline of past health crises on campus from the University Times, artifacts of current events in the greater Los Angeles community, and direct quotes from students enrolled in Spring and Fall 2020. Core topics include the shifting expectations of virtual education, racial and social inequality, economic impact and job loss, mental and physical health, and changes in family dynamics. The 20/20 Experience concludes with examples of student resilience, projects documenting COVID-19 at Cal State LA from various angles, and resources regarding the virus itself.

We hope that by sharing our collective stories in this exhibit, Cal State LA can experience an important moment of healing, empowerment, and unity at a time when we feel distant from one another.

Mervyn M. Dymally: The Bridge-Builder of Los Angeles


This exhibition features public educator, California State University, Los Angeles alumni, and politician Mervyn M. Dymally (1926 -2012), a Trinidadian immigrant who became the first Black Lt. Governor of California. Dymally emigrated from Trinidad as a result of the British vestiges of colonialism and imperialism in the Caribbean and abroad, which resulted in his anti-imperialist activism regarding US foreign policy and international relations. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, state violence, and the build-up of prisons in California, this exhibit highlights Dymally's deep commitment to human rights and advocacy for those who have been “Othered”, in history.  

We seek to challenge archival silences of the past by contributing to a landscape that finds value in people who have been erased or devalued by an exclusionary practice that has power over which narratives are told and which stories remain hidden. We seek to make space for lived experiences that enhance the existing rich dialogue about state violence, mass incarceration, educational equity, and human rights in our communities.  

Dymally’s role in Los Angeles politics and the larger national landscape is highlighted in this curated collection of letters, documents, and photographs. This project results from an organic collaborative effort between faculty and undergraduate students at Cal State LA, the Education Department at the Autry Museum, and the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership. This exhibition and public-program was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.