Hi! I’m Marie Barrera and I’ve been interning at VC for a month. I’m an alumna of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and the University of Edinburgh, where I majored in European Studies and Art History respectively. I miss school so much (and have a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life) that I’m thinking of returning to get my MLIS (Library and Information Science).
My interest in archives developed from working in archives and special collections throughout my undergraduate years. This is my first time dealing with audio materials — the majority of objects that I have handled are paper so yay, something different! Currently, I am working on the cassette tape holdings: I listen to them and take notes, or metadata, on their content. Since many of the tapes aren’t labeled and there isn’t any other data about them, I never know what gem of information I’ll hear next.
As a Filipino-American, it is especially exciting to find tapes about Filipinos and Filipino-Americans. One of my favorite finds so far is a seven-part radio drama about Filipino farmworkers in central California. The voice acting might be cheesy, but the subject matter is enlightening. The series captures the struggles of Filipino immigrants during the Great Depression in California, including discrimination and poor working conditions. It also demonstrates their determination and spirit through the establishment of a printing press and organization of a strike. I remember learning about this time period in my middle and high school U.S. history classes but I don’t remember Asian Pacific immigrants being mentioned. I wonder what else is left out of textbooks. Processing this collection of cassette tapes has made me realize how clueless I am about the community I come from, as well as why archives such as VC’s are crucial to understanding the contributions and history of Asian Pacific Americans.