Immigrant Voices Stories Initiative Greatly Expands

Thanks to a generous grant from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation will be greatly expanding Immigrant Voices, our living archive of West Coast immigration stories.  

The $50,000 grant will allow us to increase our role as a critical resource for anyone interested in West Coast immigration, both past and present. We’ll be working with the public historian Leslie Madsen-Brooks to expand the usability of our web-based collection as a research tool for students and scholars. She will also advise us on how to more effectively solicit stories and highlight the detail, depth and personal significance of each story.

In addition, we’ll develop a new online story-gathering template that will make it easier and quicker to tell your immigration story. And we’ll be designing back-end features that will make those stories more readily accessible and searchable, increasing the visibility and use of these personal narratives. The grant will also allow us to edit and post 45 new stories from Immigration Station detainees.

We’ll also be building on our present archive webpage to make it more user-friendly and to accommodate video and audio stories. We’ll be able to better link our site to other organizations that serve diverse audiences with an interest in Pacific Coast immigration. And finally, the grant enables us to have a launch event in Summer 2015 to celebrate and explore the expanded collection.

One of the goals of AIISF is to have the Immigration Station story be as well known as the Ellis Island story. We want the West Coast immigration experience to be recognized in our national history and in today’s dialogues on immigration. With the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation grant we’re taking enormous strides toward making this goal a reality.