For me it was a busy year of finishing up a phase of investment in knowledge attainment to explore new life directions and enhanced career opportunities. To those of you who do not know, yes, in December 2015 I totally finished the process, including my dissertation (titled “Leisure’s Race, Power and Place: The Recreation and Remembrance of African Americans in the California Dream”) to earn my doctorate in History from University of California, Santa Barbara.
I now look forward to using all my recently acquired knowledge of American History, the African American experience in the Far West, visual literacy and my enhanced skills in my new work endeavors. In collaboration with artists, scholars, other interested individuals and institutions, I intend to produce programming such as exhibits, events and publications to engage varied audiences. I am now looking for these work opportunities to monetize my recent educational accomplishment in projects and employment positions in 2016 to engage people with overlooked stories about African Americans and other groups in California. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have leads on research, exhibits and/or public programming projects and funding opportunities you think I might be a fit for.
While winding down the formal education process this past year, I was happily able to continue supporting efforts to inspire, engage and empower new and broader audiences to learn about the history of SoCal’s African American experiences. At Santa Monica’s Jim Crow era beach area at Bay Street sometimes known as the Inkwell, audiences learned about local history, ocean stewardship and the enjoyment of aquatic sports and hanging out at the ocean front at various events sponsored and/or supported by the Santa Monica Conservancy, Black Surfers Collective, Heal the Bay, Surf Bus, the Blacking Surfing Association, the Malibu Surfing Association, the County of Los Angeles, Santa Monica College, the California Historical Society and other groups. In 2016 I look forward to supporting these groups and their efforts, and I hope you will too.
The first Nick Gabaldón Paddlethon on 28 February 2015 raised money for youth in the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard Program. Pictured at the Bay Street beach in Santa Monica, Alison Rose Jefferson (left) with Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Remy Smith (front right with the microphone) discussing his experience growing up in Santa Monica and his family’s early twentieth century migration to the area from Texas.
I was humbled and honored to be the guest speaker at the 2015 Santa Monica Conservancy (SMC) annual meeting and awards program at the Casa del Mar Hotel this past February. In my presentation entitled “Diversity, Real Estate, and Remembrance in Santa Monica,” I discussed the importance of inclusiveness in cultural heritage conservation and interpretation to inspire and engage new audiences in civic engagement. September 2015 marked the fourth year SMC has participate with other local organizations in the worldwide annual beach cleanup at the Bay Street/Inkwell monument which honors the Jim Crow era, the historical African American beach site.
Youth participants and their mentors from the Concerned Black Men Cares, LA learned about history (from Alison Rose Jefferson), before moving on to learn about sea life and ocean stewardship, and trying out surfing at Nick Gabaldón Day 2015 this past May. (Photograph courtesy of Zeal Harris)
The Forgotten Surfer project was envisioned to create awareness of how surfing inspired community building amongst ostracized surfers of color during Apartheid South Africa (1948 to 1994). While in Los Angeles, Masoet and Hajee, two inspirational guys mounted a very nicely done pop-up exhibit of a few photographs from “The Forgotten Surfer” project collection at Modern Multiples gallery space in east Downtown Los Angeles. I am looking forward to sharing more with you from my new South African colleagues about The Forgotten Surfer Project in the not too distant future.
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