Emerging Latinx Oral Historians | Rhode Island

Fellowship 2024

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Even though for generations Latinos have continued to prove they are essential to the United States, there is a shortage of individuals who are passionate about collecting Latinx history. As a result, Latinos are disproportionately excluded in state, city and public archival collections and in essence: “We do not exist.”
Marta V. Martínez, Founder of Nuestras Raíces and Community Oral Historian
Marta V. Martínez, Executive Director of Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA) and Community Oral Historian will be leading Rhode Island’s first Emerging Latinx Oral Historians Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program seeks to train and empower the next generation of oral historians, cultural preservationists, community activists, and social justice leaders.

The seven-month Fellowship will create a team of oral historians and provide them with training to further develop an existing historical timeline for Rhode Island Latino history. At the completion of the Fellowship, participants will receive $3,000 stipend.

Meet the first Cohort

Gwendolyn Vargas (BA Social Work)

As a social work major, who is passionate about macro work and advocacy with a deep understanding of our community’s needs (through lived experience), I hope to cultivate the value of storytelling through poetry, utilizing the arts to amplify social and political inequities. This Fellowship will be a great opportunity to connect with community leaders who use art as a medium for self expression and amplify the voices of marginalized communities.
Jennifer González (BA World Languages and Latin American Studies)

This Fellowship will help me to be a bridge between my community and Rhode Island College, and to bring awareness to our ever-growing community. My dream is to become a teacher, where I hope to be an example to future generations that Latinos can make a difference in academia.
Jacqueline Estrada (BA Art History)

Through this Fellowship, I feel that I can strengthen my communication, organizational and leadership skills as I maneuver through different environments. I look forward to developing strong relationships with each of my cohorts, and with members of the Latino Community off campus. As a Latina, it is very important for me to have the ability to be part of a group that represents all Latinos in various ways.
Luis Lopez (BA Nursing / Spanish minor)
We all have a story to tell. This Fellowship can guide me in ways I can gain the trust of people I do not personally know and encourage them to share their life story. I'd like to truly create an atmosphere where the people involved feel not only heard, but also that they are essential to this community. I am an open minded individual with a focus on serving the communities needs, and my hope is that the Fellowship will provide guidance on bringing people to share their stories. Like our thumbprints, no two stories are alike, no matter how similar they may appear.
Community Voices | Listen here and participate in the next session.
Jasmine Lara (BA Art history)
I am a Latina woman, born and raised in Rhode Island. I am an art history major and am interested in helping create a Latino history exhibit I enjoy learning about people’s stories and backgrounds to better relate to them. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking family, I was taught to celebrate my heritage and take pride in my culture, and I’d love to bring that excitement to this project.


The Fellows must commit to a 2-day weekend retreat on June 18 & 19 and to meet weekly on Saturdays between June 25 and July 23. Fellows will then meet monthly on four Saturdays from September to December.

Sessions will be led in the English language, but everyone will be made to feel that they are in a safe and welcome environment where they can speak English, Spanish or Spanglish. This is a safe space that is built upon trust and mutual respect. We will strive to encourage support within the group and offer opportunities for Fellows to educate and share about their own Latino arts experience in an effort to build a strong cohort.
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$1,000 will be awarded in August upon full completion of the Summer Fellowship. An additional $1,000 in December will be awarded at the end of the 7-month Fellowship. All fellows must work on a project to be presented at the end of the seven months, but at least within 60 days of the completion of the fellowship. You will be asked to sign an MOU upon being accepted into the program.

If a Fellow wishes to commit to continue work on this project after the Fellowship is complete, they will be eligible for an additional stipend. Details will be discussed at our first session.


  • Open to all individuals age 18+ who identify as Latino/Latina/Latinx and who currently call Rhode Island their permanent home.
  • Ideal candidate is interested in learning best practices in oral history and in learning about and appreciating Rhode Island Latino history.
  • Fellows must be ready to promote the Latino History Archives and to learn how to manage an archive.
  • Fellows will help lead in discussions that spark deep thinking that would enrich their approach to collecting oral histories.

The deadline to apply is December 1, 2023

Be prepared to answer these questions:
  • Tell us about yourself. Why are you interested in this Fellowship? (250 words)
  • Tell us what are your plans after you complete this Fellowship. What are your long-term goals? (500 words max)
  • Write an essay explaining your personal story or your family story. Why is collecting the history of Latinos important to you? Describe how participating in the Latinx Oral Historians Fellowship will be transformational for you. (maximum 1,000 words)
  • Submit a copy of a resumé or CV.
  • Submit one letter of recommendation.
© All Rights Reserved | Nuestras Raíces: Latino History of RI © | When using materials from this website, please acknowledge by stating the name of the URL of the webpage on which it is displayed. Citations should include full bibliographic information as follows: Courtesy of the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island, Central Falls, RI.