Fresno, California…The Fresno City and County Historical Society is in search of up to 15 participants between the ages of 15 and 21 from the Sikh community to take part in a project funded by a grant awarded by the California Humanities, Humanities for All Oral History project.

The project, which is a partnership between the FCCHS and CMAC, will last from February to May and participants will be given the opportunity to learn all elements of video recording interviews, editing and compiling a final Oral History for inclusion in the Historical Society’s extensive archive as well as in the archive of California Humanities.

“We applied for this grant as a way to ensure our Valley Voices from the Sikh community are heard and preserved. There have not been any projects that specifically focus on the local Punjabi residents and the story of the their migration to the San Joaquin Valley has mainly been silent,” said Elizabeth Laval, President of the Fresno City & County Historical Society. “What better way to gather history than from people who understand the culture and customs of those they are interviewing. Additionally, we are so excited to be able to teach these valuable skills to students who will be able to use them in so many ways in the future,” she continued.

Bryan Harley, Executive Director of the Community Media Access Collaborative stated, “CMAC is thrilled to be a part of this important project. Our work is rooted in lifting up the voices of those in our community who are not always heard in local media. The Sikh community has a rich history in the Central Valley, but that history isn’t well-known and there are countless stories that have not fully been told. We are excited to be part of helping younger generations capture, preserve, and share these unique stories before they are lost to time.”

Gary Chahil, the project’s Humanities Advisory said, “One important part of historical recording is to get people of another community or generation to understand the feelings, the passion that went into social transformation. That’s why oral history is so valuable & this Sikh Oral History project where we’re teaching our Sikh and South Asian youth how to become collectors and curators of their personal history.”

Students will be taught media skills at CMAC and learn the fine points of storytelling and collection of Oral Histories at the Kearney Mansion Museum. The final videos and photos will be on display at an event in May.

Interested students can register at by February 28th and be prepared to start in March.

For Media Inquiries or to schedule an interview please contact Elizabeth Laval, President of the Fresno County Historical Society at


About FCCHS:

For over 104 years, the Fresno County Historical Society has worked to bring life to the heritage of our region by collecting, preserving, interpreting and holding in public trust the records and artifacts that document the people of Fresno County and the Central Valley of California. The Society is member-supported and relies on philanthropic donations, sponsorships and grant funds to fulfill our important mission. We provide the community with educational opportunities through excellent events, important exhibitions and by making collections available for study and research. The Fresno County Historical Society encourages and promotes the preservation and conservation of our community’s historic and cultural resources. An enhanced effort is being made to ensure current events are being captured and recorded for the benefit of future generations.

About CMAC:

Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) is a membership-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to help citizens, schools, non-profits, public agencies and others better connect with our community through the use of media.

Its mission is to empower community voices by promoting media literacy, civic engagement, cultural understanding, and creative expression.